Dorothy Sprout was born on July 8, 1921, to LeRoy and Edith Sprout near Emmetsburg in northwestern Iowa. She grew up on farms and graduated from Emmetsburg High School in 1938. While in high school, she took a teacher certification course and taught rural school. When World War II began and her classmate and future husband, Harlan Place, left for officer training,she visited him at the Air Force bases where he was stationed. They were married July 19, 1944 in Emmetsburg. After their marriage, Dorothy Sprout Place moved near the bases where Harlan was stationed, returning to Emmetsburg, where the first of her five children was born. After the war, the parents of Harlan Place retired to Emmetsburg and Harlan and Dorothy Place moved on to the Place family farm which they farmed for thirty-five years. Dorothy and Harlan Place were busy in the family farming enterprise. Dorothy Place was active in the Freedom Township Women's Club, which her mother-in-law helped to organize. She and Harlan Place retired to Emmetsburg.