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Susan Boyd papers

Identifier: IWA0312

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Scope and Contents

The Susan Boyd papers date from 1929 to 2012 and measure 4.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in seven series: Biographical material, Activities, Short Stories, Non-Fiction Articles, Newspaper clippings, Scrapbook preservation, and Photographs. The bulk of this collection consists of Boyd's writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Biographical material (1929-2006) includes the script and score from the musical tribute to Susan Boyd, 'It's a great day', which have been removed from their original binder for preservation. The series also contains newspaper clippings and magazine articles about Boyd, correspondence with friends and editors, and programs from Minneapolis Star and Tribune and University of Iowa functions. A magazine article featuring Boyd's father completes the series.

The Activities series (1930-2012) contains materials from various activities that Boyd participated in throughout her life. The series includes awards, a music book, an autograph book, and invitations and programs to events in Chicago including dinners for foreign dignitaries.Correspondence and photographs of Boyd's involvement in various organizations during her time in Chicago include the Field Natural History Museum, Urban Gateways and Know Your Chicago, and her role as First Lady at the University of Iowa are also included in this series.

Short Stories and Non-Fiction articles (1942-1990) consist of stories and articles written by Boyd that were published in magazines such as Mademoiselle, The Writer, and Redbook, as well as her work for school books in the early 1960s. Her correspondence with agents and publishers and programs of writers' conferences are also included.

The Newspaper clippings (1947-1961 and undated) are articles Boyd wrote while employed at the Minneapolis Star and Tribune.

The Scrapbook series (1951-1981) contains Boyd's scrapbooks documenting her Wellesley college years, including photographs, programs, and notes. In addition, it includes scrapbooks of clippings from her work as a journalist for Mademoiselle and the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. The final scrapbook documents her life in Iowa City as the wife of the University of Iowa president. In the course of the preservation work, some loose items were removed and placed in separate folders in the series. In addition, some scrapbooks of articles were photocopied onto acid-free paper for preservation.

Photographs series (1948-2003) contains photographs from Boyd's work as a writer, her life at the University of Iowa, and her activities in Chicago.


  • Creation: 1929-2012


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Susan Elizabeth Kuehn was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1927 to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kuehn. Kuehn attended Lochinvar-West High School in Minneapolis. She continued her education at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, majoring in English Composition. In 1945 Kuehn was Mademoiselle's guest fiction editor. The following year her short story "The Rosebush" won Mademoiselle's College Fiction Contest. That same story was also selected for publication in the 1947 edition of the O. Henry Prize Story Collection and Herschell Brickell's Prize Stories.

Kuehn graduated from Wellesley in 1947 and began her six-year stint at the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, first as a reporter, and later as an editor of the Women's Pages. At age twenty-two, she won a $2,000 creative writing fellowship at Stanford in Palo Alto, California. There, she published "The Hunt," which was featured in Herschell Brickell's Prize Stories of 1950, and "The Searchers," which she wrote under the guidance of Wallace Stegner and published in Stanford Short Stories and Best American Short Stories.

After a year, Kuehn returned home to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. She continued to write fiction, as well as non-fiction, and her work was published in magazines such as Redbook, The Writer, and Harpers. In addition, Kuehn performed graduate work at the University of Minnesota.

On August 28, 1954, Kuehn married Willard 'Sandy' Boyd, Jr. The Boyds settled in Iowa City, where Willard Boyd taught at the law school of the University of Iowa. He became president of the University of Iowa in 1969 and remained in that position until 1981. The Boyds lived in Iowa City for nearly twenty-six years, where they raised their three children-Willard 'Bill' Boyd III, Elizabeth 'Betsy', and Tom. In 1981, the Boyds moved to Chicago, where Willard Boyd acted as the director of the Field Museum. The Boyds returned to Iowa City in 1997.


4.50 Linear Feet

Photographs in boxes 4-11 and 14. boxes

Language of Materials



Journalist and writer who published several articles in Mademoiselle. She also served as University of Iowa First Lady from 1969-1981.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 427) were donated by Susan Boyd in 1997 and 2011.


Courtney P. Davids, 1998; Heather Stecklein, 2002 and Rosemary Riess, 2012.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)