Welcome to the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) Website





 1931 Publicity Photo of Ruth SuckowAn informal photo of Ruth, enjoying the outdoors.Ruth and Ferner on their wedding trip to California, 1929. Photo of Ruth with a cat.

This is the Ruth Suckow Website: a website dedicated to the work of noted Iowa author Ruth Suckow and her husband Ferner Nuhn. 


Ruth Suckow was a famous writer with Iowa roots; this website was created by the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) to celebrate her literary legacy, and to help readers find information about her life and work--as well as provide access to some of her short stories. 

She was born in Hawarden, Iowa: her father was a Congregational minister and the family lived in eight cities around the state. She married Ferner Nuhn in 1929: he was a young writer, critic, and artist from Cedar Falls and eleven years younger. After their marriage they traveled around the country, spending time at several writers' colonies, including Yaddo in New York. They lived in New Mexico and Washington, D. C. and spent a summer with Robert Frost in his Vermont home. However, they always returned to Iowa, where they twice lived in Cedar Falls, until health problems led them to move to Arizona and then California, where she died in 1960. Several years after her death, Ferner remarried, and he and Georgia helped to establish the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association in 1966 to make sure that new generations of readers would be able to read her short stories and books.

Looking Ahead to the 2019 Annual RSMA Gathering (June 15, 2019 -- Hearst Center for the Arts)

News from our President, Barbara Lounsberry 

"Liane Nichols has kindly agreed to reprise her performance at 1:00, after our annual meeting which be held on Saturday, June 15 at the Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls. So please: place that date and place on your calendars.

So come to the Hearst Center, 304 W. Seerley Blvd., for our annual meeting--instead of to the Cedar Falls Public Library.  We will lunch on the lovely outdoor patio at the Hearst and you'll be able to walk out from the patio into the Hearst Sculpture Garden where you will see the sculpture honoring Ruth and Ferner as authors and patrons of the arts."

Liane Nichols last fall

The Cedar Falls Authors Festival Wraps up

Did you get a chance to attend any of the 60 programs for the Cedar Falls Authors Festival? Ruth Suckow is one of the five local authors honored during 2017-2018. (The other four include Bess Streeter Aldrich, James Hearst, Nancy Price and Robert James Waller). Please visit our website!  This Festival gave many more people the opportunity to learn about Ruth Suckow's life and work. Our webmaster, Cherie Dargan, did half a dozen presentations with Rosemary Beach and one with RSMA President Barbara Lounsberry about the five authors and the Festival.

cherie and rosemary present

Annual Meeting 2018

The Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) will return to the Cedar Falls Public Library for our Annual Meeting. Go upstairs to the big meeting room; we will coffee, sun tea, and pastries. Members will get an email from President Barbara Lounsberry with details about lunch; you will need to make a reservation with her to eat with us.

Then, at 1 pm we will welcome the public to a brief address by Kenneth Lyftogt., one of our local authors and one of our presenters for the Cedar Falls Authors Festival. Ken did the first program of 2018 back in January, and it is fitting that he will do the final program in our Cedar Falls Authors Festival series.

Saturday, June 9, 1 p.m., Cedar Falls Public Library (Second Floor Meeting Room), 

“Going to the Woods: Ruth Suckow and the Early 20th Century Midwest,” Kenneth Lyftogt. 

Ken will be referring to an essay written by Ruth Suckow, "Prairie Woods and Wild Flowers." I found it on the American Heritage website, published in Volume 16, Issue 3, April 1965.


Just Suppose Sunday, September 24th at 2 pm

 Liane Nichols In character as Ruth Suckow Later in the play

Liane Nichols, Artistic Coordinator of the Cedar Falls Community Theater did a Reader's Theatre performance of Just Suppose on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 2 pm at the Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Liane used costumes and props as she became Ruth Suckow for this performance. We had a great turnout and enjoyed seeing the play come to life!

Just Suppose: The Life of Iowa Novelist Ruth Suckow was written by Rebecca Christian in 1992, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ruth Suckow's birth. Dubuque actress Lenore Howard took on the role of Suckow and performed the one woman play in seven cities around Iowa (and our Secretary, Sara, attended ALL of them and had the t-shirt to prove it!) We also had a program with the woman who wrote the play and the actress who performed it in June, as part of our Ruth Suckow Celebration

The Annual Meeting -- 2017 Update!

The Ruth Suckow Memorial Association celebrated our 50th Anniversary, 1966-2016. What a milestone! We had a wonderful day on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the Cedar Falls Public Library. However, our recent Annual meeting, Saturday, June 10, 2017, was one for the record books.

 Business meetingDiscussing "A Part of the Institution" Installing the new sculpture at the Hearst
The UNI student, Hannah, who created the sculpture dedicated to Ruth Suckow & Ferner Nuhn.Our evening program on the 1992 play "Just Suppose."Sara with our special guests: Lenore and Rebecca

Our Annual Meeting began at 10:00 am in the large Meeting Room on the 2nd floor of the CFPL. We had a brief program as well as our business meeting for members and guests. We had several special guests--the speakers for the evening program, Playwright Rebecca Christian and Actress Lenore Brown. We enjoyed our box lunches and visited.

The Public Program began at 1:00: we discussed Ruth Suckow's novella "A Part of The Institution," and thanked Roy Kenagy, who scanned in the novella as well as more stories for the Iowa Digital Heritage site! Then we were off to the Installation of the Sculpture honoring Ferner Nuhn and Ruth Suckow Nuhn in the Sculpture Garden at the Hearst Center, 3:00. The young sculptress, Hannah, was there and it was exciting to see her stand beside her creation, titled "Amongst," representing new coming out of old. The ceremony was followed by a Reception on the Hearst Center patio. Visitors browsed the exhibit of Marjorie Nuhn's paintings: she was Ferner's sister.

Finally, after a break, we enjoyed the evening Program on the play Just Suppose: The Story of Iowa Novelist Ruth Suckow. "Writing and Touring Just Suppose: The Story of Iowa Novelist Ruth Suckow" at the Hearst, Rebecca Christian and Lenore Howard, who portrayed Ruth Suckow in the one woman play, shared their memories and insights in an informal, conversational manner while a brief PowerPoint presentation with images of Ruth and Ferner was displayed behind them. Afterward we enjoyed more conversation and the revelation that Sara had been to all seven performances, and had the t-shirt to prove it!

Webmaster Cherie poses with Rebecca & LenoreSecretary Sara proudly displays her t-shirt from the 1992 tourA closeup of the "Just Supposey" t-shirt.

Thank you to our 19 Donors for the Sculpture
In the space of just a few months, Cedar Falls Authors Committee members, members of the Cedar Falls Supper Club, and Ruth Suckow Memorial Association members were able to raise the money ($1250) for their share of the sculpture, named "Amongst," honoring Ruth Suckow and Ferner Nuhn, which was installed on Saturday, June 10th at the Hearst Sculpture Garden. 

Nineteen donations were made: thank you to all of those who made this sculpture possible!

Jim and Santha Kerns, Mary Huber, Cherie and Mike Dargan

Barbara and John Lounsberry, Nancy Price, Sara McAlpin

Mary and Dick Brammer, Judy Harrington, Scott Cawelti and Angelita Floyd

Karin Leonard, Taylor and Kathleen Flynn, Dr. Julie Husband and Dr. Jim O’Loughlin

Rebecca Christian, Michael Gibson, Molly Brammer, Jeremy Schraffenberger and

Adrianne Finlay, Clint and Ann Wrede, Sue Hummel

A Special Thank-You to:

Tom Stancliffe and Dan Perry, UNI Sculpture Department

Read Suckow's Stories On Iowa Digital Heritage
RSMA President Barbara Lounsberry worked hard to get Ruth Suckow's stories on the Iowa Digital Heritage website. The first set of stories is about Iowa women's lives. There are now nineteen short stories plus her novelette, "A Part of the Institution" in all, thanks to the hard work of one of our newest members, Roy Kenagy. Thanks, Roy!   
Read Barbara's essay introducing the stories, putting them into context, with a brief summary.

Follow the link below to go to the website.

Then click on "People and Biographies."  

The Ruth Suckow Short Story Collection is on page 7--if you want to take a look or to direct others to these stories.  Once you see the story, scroll down and you can read the description and other information.  If you then click on the red box, by the page at the top, the story will come up and there is a "pop up" button in the right-hand corner.  If you click on that, it makes the story even bigger and easier to read or to print out.

Updates from the University of Iowa's Special Collections, 2016

Go to our RSMA News link to see some new Suckow materials posted by the Special Collections, including an excerpt from Ruth's unfinished novel (and an introduction by Ferner).

RSMA Founder Ferner Nuhn is on Wikipedia.  

We have posted pictures of some of his artwork: Figures of the 30s.
Please check out the page on Ferner (Resources on Ferner Nuhn) as well as Mentions to discover what other websites are saying about Suckow & RSMA (Links to Posts on Blogs), Writing about Suckow (for another chance to read Marsha's poem on Suckow), and RSMA News (for updates about projects and events).  

We have replicated the Wikipedia entry on our site--on the page about Ferner. Written by webmaster Cherie Dargan, it draws from the hard work of several writers and historians in our group from the past, including Dorothy Grant.

In addition, the Ruth Suckow website may look the same, but we were approved for Google Apps for Non-Profits in 2013, which gives us a larger web space.

Ferner's Art is now here! Check out his sketches of fellow participants at some of the Writer's Workshops he and Ruth attended at Yaddo and MacDowell Colony, retreats established to give writers and artists a place to spend time creating their work. He called this collection of paintings "Figures of the 30s."

Find a reference to Suckow, a new photo, or have information about one of Ruth or Ferner's relatives?
Please contact Cherie, webmaster, at cheriedargan@gmail.com. 

Some people find us through the Wikipedia article on Ruth Suckow; however, if you haven't seen it yet, here it is. The article was written by Michael Dargan, the original webmaster for the first Suckow website.

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Last updated September 21, 2018
Cherie Dargan, Webmaster
Original website created and maintained by Michael Dargan