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Tylee, Magdalena, 1894-1988



  • Existence: 1894 - 1988


Magdalena "Helen" Gerhard Tylee was born in 1894 in Kindel, Germany, to Johann and Suzanna Gerhard, and came to Iowa as a war bride in 1922. She was the fourth of ten children. As a teenager, Helen Gerhard lived with and worked for a wealthy German family in Alf, Germany, where she learned English from the family's two daughters. During World War I she cooked for Russian POWs. In 1921, she met her husband, Ben Tylee, an American soldier who was stationed in Andernach, Germany, with the American occupation army following World War I. They married in 1922 and moved to Iowa where they took up farming in Linn County. Tylee lived the rest of her life in Iowa but made numerous trips back to Germany throughout the years. The Tylees raised one daughter, Peggy Drymon Stokes. In 1942, the Cedar Rapids Gazette published a feature story about Helen Tylee titled "She's a Soldier, Too." The article, complete with photos, emphasized that German-born Helen Tylee opposed the Nazis and was doing her part on the home front--while her husband served in the armed forces--to defeat them. The Tylees had been married sixty-six years at the time of Helen Tylee's death in 1988.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Magdalena "Helen" Tylee papers

Identifier: IWA0471

A German war bride who came to Iowa in 1922. During World War II she ran the family farm while her husband was serving in the armed forces.

Dates: 1917-1988