IOWA WOMEN’S ARCHIVES

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LIBRARIES

IOWA CITY, IOWA

CLARA STEEN SKOTT (1888-1994)

PAPERS, 1899-1994

2.7 linear feet and artifacts





ACQUISITION: The papers (donor no. 300) were donated by Signe Skott Cooper in 1995 and succeeding years.

ACCESS: The papers are open for research.

ARTIFACTS: In boxes 9 and 10.

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

PHOTOGRAPHS: In box 7.

PROCESSED BY: Natalie S. Brody, 1995 and succeeding years.

 

Biography

        Clara Steen (Skott) was born on October 11, 1888, in Menlo, Iowa, the daughter of Frederick and Mary Steen. When she was eleven the family moved to West Liberty, Iowa, where her father farmed. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and attended Iowa State College (now Iowa State University), majoring in home economics with studies in journalism as well. In 1917 she married a college classmate, Hans Skott, and moved for a short time to South Dakota, where he was a county agent. They had three daughters, Hilda, Signe, and Kathryn, and one son, Frank.

        From 1920 to 1933 the Skotts farmed in northeast Iowa, and in 1937 moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where Hans Skott worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. During the war, he was employed by the United States Army as a civilian and the family lived in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1946 and 1947 the Skotts lived in Shanghai, China, where Hans was employed by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRAA). During that time Clara Skott taught high school home economics. They returned to Wisconsin in 1947, settling in Middleton, where Clara Skott remained after her husband died in 1952. She moved to a Madison retirement home in 1976 and died in 1994 at the age of 105.

        Clara Skott was an active freelance journalist and a devoted civic leader. She wrote articles on home economics for Successful Farming and The Farmer's Wife during the 1910s and was a regular contributor to the Middleton Times-Tribune for many years. Among her numerous civic activities, Skott was president of the Middleton Women's Club, The Middleton Garden Club, and the Women's Guild of the Middleton Community Church. In 1956 she helped organize the Middleton Senior Citizens and served as their volunteer director for sixteen years. She was the first recipient of the Service to Mankind award of the Sertoma Club of Middleton.

 

Scope and Content Note

          The Clara S. Skott papers date from 1899 to 1994 and measure 2.7 linear feet. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical information, Writings, Account books, Diaries, Travel, Photographs, and Artifacts.

        The Biographical information series (1899-1994) consists primarily of newspaper clippings about Skott, as well as awards, report cards, and some family correspondence, and a biographical sketch written in 1993 by her daughter, Hilda Skott.

        Many of the articles Skott had published during her lifetime appear in the Writings series (1913-1978). They include a number of her early writings (1910s) which appeared in farm magazines such as Successful Farming, The Country Gentleman, and The Farmer's Wife. From 1976 to 1978 Skott wrote a column, "Clara's Comments," for the Middleton Times-Tribune. Many of these articles are included in the Writings series.

        Detailed records of the Skott family finances are found in the Account books series (1923-1963).

        The daily events in Skott's life are recorded in the Diaries series (1908-1990), beginning when she was nineteen years old and continuing until her hundredth year. No diaries exist for seventeen of the years.

        Skott's stay in China after World War II, various trips in the United States from 1957 to 1964, and to Europe in 1965 are recorded in diaries in the Travel series (1946-1965). A scrapbook of her life in China completes the series.

        The Photographs series (1900-1990) consists of an album of family pictures. Primarily from the early part of the century, the photographs also include scenes of rural life, farming and Iowa State College.

        The Artifacts series (undated) consists of articles from China, including a lacquered tea set, chopsticks, doll, and an embroidered shoe for a bound foot.

Box no. Description

Box 1
                       Biographical information
                               Awards, 1980, 1985 and undated
                               Biographical sketch [written by Hilda Skott], 1993
                               Education, 1899-1905, 1912
                               Family and friends correspondence and documents, 1917, 1940s, 1977
                               Newspaper clippings, 1921-1994 (scattered)
                               Yearbook, McTyeirean School, 1947

                       Writings
                               Correspondence with publishers, 1913-1917, 1927, 1938 and undated
                               Published articles
                                   1912-1917, 1927 and undated
                                   1912-1916 [pasted in Transactions: Iowa Horticultural Society,
                                               1904, vol. 42]
                                   1976-1978 "Clara's Comments" in Middleton Times-Tribune
                                         Loose clippings
                                         Scrapbook [oversize: in box 7]
                                   Manuscripts, undated

Box 2
                       Account books (25 volumes in 7 folders)
                               1923
                               1924
                               1925
                               1926-1927
                               1928-1929
                               1930-1931
                               1932-1934
                               1935
                               1936
                               1937
                               1938
                               1939
                               1940
                               1942
                               1943
                               1944
                               1945
                               1946
                               1948
                               1949
                               1950
                               1952
Box 3
                               1953
                               1954
                               1955-1963

                     Diaries (27 volumes in 10 folders)
                               1908
                               1913-1914
                               1917-1921
                               1923
                               1924
                               1925
                               1928
                               1929
                               1930
                               1931-1932
                               1933-1934
Box 4
                               1935
                               1936-1939
                               1940
                               1941
                               1942-1946
                               1947
                               1948-1952
                               1954
                               1960-1964
Box 5
                               1965-1968
                               1969-1973
                               1974
                               1975-1979
                               1981
                               1983-1985
                               1985-1990
                               Flower record, 1958-1977, 1970

Box 6
                       Travel
                               Diaries
                                   China, 1946
                                         Hangchow
                                         S.S.General Gordon journey and residence in China
                                   United States, 1957-1964
                                   Europe, 1965
                               Photograph album
                                   China, 1946-1947

                       Photographs
                               Album, 1900-1990 [Oversize: shelved in Box 8]

Box 7
                       Oversize:
                       Writings
                               Published articles
                                   1976-1978 "Clara's Comments" in Middleton Times-Tribune
                                         Scrapbook, 1976-1978

Box 8
                       Photographs
                               Album, 1900-1990

Box 9
                       Artifacts
                                Cream pitcher
                                Saucers
                                Sugar bowl
                                Tea pot
Box 10
                                Doll with china head
                                Chopsticks
                                Shoe for a bound foot
                                Spoons
                                Tea cups
                                Tongs