PAPERS, 1984-1986

1 linear inch

ACQUISITION:  The papers (donor no. 553) were donated by Grace Blom Klein in 1998.

ACCESS: The papers are open for research.

COPYRIGHT: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.


PROCESSED BY: Doris Malkmus, 1999.



         Nancy DeVries Blom was born in the Netherlands in 1907. Her older brothers had immigrated to the United States and, in 1915, as World War One made life in Europe increasingly difficult, the brothers sent passage money for their parents and six siblings to come to Iowa. The Bloms came through Ellis Island in New York and traveled by train to Doon, Iowa where they supported themselves by farming. They rented a succession of farms in Sioux County Iowa and nearby South Dakota. Nancy's mother died of tuberculosis when Nancy was thirteen and Nancy assumed responsibilities for the household chores. Within five years, her father went bankrupt and he moved to town while Nancy supported herself as a hired girl with a family in town. On the day that she turned eighteen, she married Walter Blom. Nancy and Walter Blom subsequently farmed in near Sioux Center and raised five children. In 1982, Nancy Blom enrolled in a writing workshop where she composed "My Story," a vivid account of her life until marriage.

Scope and Content Note

         The Nancy DeVries Blom papers were written in 1984 and measure one linear inch. The collection consists primarily of Blom's memoir, "My Story," which describes the harshness of a Dutch immigrant family's struggle to survive on prairie farms in western Iowa and South Dakota in the decade surrounding World War One. In "My Story" Blom recalls with amazing detail the customs of a working-class Dutch family, the move to Iowa, the family's efforts to succeed at the unfamiliar enterprise of prairie farming, and chores Nancy performed, especially after her mother's death. It also recounts Nancy's courtship and marriage. Although far from sentimental, the memoir offers poignant insight into this immigrant family life. Separate stories, one of Nancy's marriages and another of her egg business are included at the end of "My Story." Photocopies of a newspaper article about the writing workshop and a photograph of Nancy DeVries Blom complete this collection.

Box no.  Description

                       "My Story" [shelved in printed works collection.]