State Historical Library book group meets Nov. 19
Discussion to focus on author Ruth Suckow’s “The Kramer Girls”

For immediate release November 12, 2008


Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Library’s book group meets at 11:45 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008, to explore “The Kramer Girls” by Ruth Suckow.

Book Discovery Discussions explores literature that defines, reflects or captures the history of Iowa. Meetings are free and open to the public at the State Historical Building, 3rd Floor, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Pre-registration is recommended, but not required, by visiting More information is available at 515-281-6897 or by email to

“The Kramer Girls” is a story of love, sacrifice, jealousy and ambition among three sisters in a quiet, realistic study of a middle class family. Suckow (1892-1960) was not interested in glamour or movie stars; she wrote about farmers and small town people, the types she encountered in her everyday life.

Participants are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch, and State Historical Society Librarian Susan Jellinger will provide a crock pot of vegetable soup.

In addition, the Iowa Honey Producers Association have donated a case of honey for door prizes in honor of Suckow’s beekeeping tradition, and Barbara Hendrickson of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will share homemade bread in keeping with Suckow’s depictions of everyday Iowans.

Below is the rest of the State Historical Library’s Book Discovery Discussions 2008-2009 schedule:

Dec. 17, 2008 – 11:45 a.m.
“Take the Next Exit: New Views of the Iowa Landscape” by Robert SayreThis book is a collection of delightful photographs and travel pieces on the essential Iowa, not just the tourist attractions. This book visits small town cafes, hardware stores and churches – the places of history and tradition that make Iowa different from other states and an American ideal.

Jan. 21, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“Much Obliged: The Inventive Life of Ray Townsend” by Walt ShotwellIn 1946, former blacksmith Ray Townsend introduced the first Pork Skinner, Townsend Model 27. He followed that original invention with 60 years of innovation and reliability, obtaining 100 U.S. patents and more than 300 patents in countries around the world.

Feb. 18, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“Colored Sugar Water” by Venise Berry
The mystery of voodoo mingles with the search for spirituality and faith in the lives of two young women, each facing the challenge of understanding what a meaningful relationship might be in this entertaining novel by Venise Berry, author of the Blackboard bestsellers “All of Me” and “So Good.”

March 18, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“From Six-on-Six to Full Court Press: A Century of Iowa Girls’ Basketball” by Janice Beran
Janice Beran’s book recounts the century of girls basketball in Iowa prior to the final conversion to five-player basketball. It is a rich, vibrant history of a sport handed down from mother to daughter that helped sustain community life in small Iowa towns for decades.

April 15, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman Behind the Legend” by John E. Miller
Legends have attached themselves to Laura Ingalls Wilder, beloved author of the eight Little House novels. Before this biography, little has been known about her adult years. John E. Miller tracks the evolution of one of America’s most popular children’s writers.

May 20, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“The Rise of Jonas Olsen: A Norwegian Immigrant’s Saga” by Johannes B. Wist
Originally published serially in the Norwegian language newspaper, Decorah Posten, in the 1920s, “The Rise of Jonas Olsen” illustrates an immigrant’s struggle to preserve his identity and heritage while striving to become fully accepted as an American.

June 17, 2009 – 11:45 a.m.
“Chautauqua Summer” by Julie McDonald
This novel takes the reader along with young Lem, a 17-year-old musician plucked from Harlan, Iowa, to travel the Chautauqua circuit with the Royal Serenaders. It is a coming-of-age story heavily sprinkled with historical tidbits of people and places from the early part of the 20th century.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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