Taking a look at Austin’s poetry

Published 8:39 am Sunday, April 12, 2015

The next History Happy Hour is entitled Austin’s Early Influence on Poetry and Literacy with focus on poet Richard Eberhart and the Ladies Floral Club.

We will hear about the accomplished life of Eberhart, an Austin native. We will also learn about the emphasis that was placed on developing a strong library system in our community in the early 1900s. Another relatively famous literary figure who lived in Austin during her childhood was the niece of George Hormel.

Olive Deane Hormel, the daughter of George’s brother, William Henry Hormel, was born on July 12, 1892, in Chicago. Her family spent five years in Austin while her father served the Presbyterian congregation from 1894 to 1899.

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HHHW.H. Hormel was a prolific writer, and many of the manuscripts we have about the Hormel family are credited to him. It seems he gave his gift of writing to his daughter. Two books listing her as the author have recently been discovered, and the HHH library will soon have them on display. Thanks to Steve Rowe (Hormel family descendant and researcher), we now know more about this accomplished family author.

Olive spent much of her childhood in Ottumwa, Iowa. She completed her undergrad in education at Lindonwood College in St. Charles, Missouri in 1913. She then attended the University of Illinois, where she furthered her education in Language Arts.

Her first book titled “Co-Ed” was published in 1926. Though a novel, it seems to be based on her experiences at the University of Illinois. Olive was a successful student and achieved the Phi Beta Kappa honor.

The second book Olive authored was “With Sherman to the Sea, A Drummer’s Story of the Civil War” written in 1960.

Olive met the subject of the book, Corydon Edward Foote, while living in Owosso, Michigan, near her parents in the mid-1930s.

Census records show Olive was employed as an author. She was also the book editor of the Christian Science Monitor for seven years during her career. Olive died May 18, 1961, in California and was interred at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.

All three of Olive’s writings are available on the Internet, and they will be available for viewing at the HHH in the near future. Although she was only in Austin for a short time, I think we can claim her as a contributor to the literary legacy of our community.

History Happy Hour

5:30 p.m. April 13

Austin’s early influence on poetry and literacy with a focus on Richard Eberhart and the Ladies Floral Club presented by Pat Nicolai and Pat Stevens.

Social time starts at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and a cash bar available. Event is free to members of the HHH, the Mower County Historical Society and the Friends of the Library. RSVP appreciated, walk-ins welcome. 507-433-4243.

 Social Concerns

10 a.m. April 22

Spring Gardening Tips presented by Randy Berg of Berg’s Nursery. He will give an overview of how to get ready for your spring gardening projects. Bring your questions and Randy will answer them. Coffee and snack provided. Please call to let us know you are joining us. 507-433-4243.