Wherry, Elizabeth, 1893-1956
- Existence: 1893 - 1956
Elizabeth Wherry was widely recognized as an Iowa author and columnist and a member of the first Iowa Dairy Industry Commission. In her writing, her chief subjects were rural life and farming. She is perhaps best known for her column "Country Air," which she wrote for nearly thirty years for Wallace's Farmer, where she also worked as associate editor. Among Wherry's many published writings are feature articles for Successful Farming magazine, and a column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette's farm page called "Soul Conservation." Wherry was also a prolific author of children's literature, and wrote children's books for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Other writings include a radio program for WSUI in Iowa City called "Country Neighbors" and book reviews for the Des Moines Register.
Wherry was born January 29, 1893, in Tipton, Iowa, as Elizabeth Cripliver, daughter of Jacob and Ella Cripliver. After graduating from Tipton High School in 1909, she studied education at Iowa State Teachers College(now the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls from 1909-1910 and 1913-1914.
She married Don L. Wherry on March31, 1914. She and her husband were farmers from 1920 to 1943 near Wyoming, Iowa. It was during this time that Elizabeth Wherry made a name for herself as a writer concerned with the role and duties of the farm woman. In an era before water systems and sewage disposal, electricity, hot water and freezers, Wherry gave other farm women advice on how to cope with the isolation and hard work in order to live more graciously. Hers was a message of kindness and hospitality.
The Wherrys had two sons: John, born in 1919, and Richard, born in1925. John Wherry contributed a column for a time in the Clinton Iowa Herald. Don Wherry spent the last several years of his life teaching in the Iowa public school system.
After her husband's death in 1948, Elizabeth Wherry moved to Iowa City, where she was the house mother for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) from 1948 to1950, where she studied writing and journalism and made the honor roll. After several years, she moved to Mount Vernon, Iowa where she was house mother for Peiffer Hall at Cornell College. In 1953 she moved to Anamosa, Iowa, where she died in 1956 of a heart attack.