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Mary Hagen memoir

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0531

Scope and Contents

The Mary Hagen papers consist of a 52-page unpublished memoir written by Hagen in 1996. The memoir is untitled and describes her life growing up on an Iowa farm from early childhood until her marriage to Orville Hagen. Thoroughly covering typical issues facing farm families at the time, Mary Hagen discusses everyday operations on the farm, livestock, chores, hired help, planting, and harvest. Hagen explains rural school life and tells the story of her first day of school. Special animals on the farm are remembered and Hagen tells of her plight with what she calls her nemesis on the farm, the chicken. Hagen describes in full the variety of food raised in the garden and how it was gathered and preserved. Butchering livestock and hauling manure, two of the least pleasant chores on a farm, are tasks Hagen vividly recalls. Hagen includes a family history and tells numerous anecdotes ending with the story of the tornado that destroyed her parents' farm the summer of their marriage in 1921. The Mary Hagen memoir is a comprehensive and fond look back at day to day life on the farm as a young girl.


  • Creation: 1996


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

Mary Doebel was born in 1922 on the family farm three miles northeast of Manly, Iowa. Even as a child Doebel was known for her poems and writings and was also an avid reader. As the oldest of three children, she was relied on for farm and household chores. She attended the one-room Worth County rural schools during the depression years. In 1941, at nineteen years of age, she married Orville Hagen. The couple raised eight children.


0.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



Memoir describing life on a family farm near Manly, Iowa during the 1920s and 1930s.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 930 ) were donated by Jean Hagen in 2004.

Britt Nelson and Margaret Richardson, 2004.
Language of description
Script of description
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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)