The Woman Behind the Signature

Mary Diploma in print and Braille
Mary Diploma in print and Braille

Recently I was the speaker (“In the Kitchen With Laura”) at the Johnson County (Iowa) Historical Society’s annual fundraiser tea. Among the guests was a family who came up and shared this story with me I asked if they’d write it up and send it to me and I’m happy to share it below.

Information on Araminta Keith, the last signatory on Mary Ingalls’s diploma:

Born in Huntington Furnace, Pennsylvania, to Colonel Adam Keith and Mary Jane Wilson Keith, she came to Vinton on a covered wagon with her brothers and sisters, to receive lands granted to Adam for military service. She taught at the School for the Blind for many years and later taught Kindergarten in the Vinton Schools. She is buried in the west cemetery as Minta Keith.  She never used the full name of Araminta, but it is what is entered in the family bible as her birth name. She was unusual as a sighted person to be able to read Braille.

-Sandy Dyar

Mary Diploma Braille
Mary Diploma Braille

 

The school does not keep copies of diplomas, but after discovering the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri held Mary’s, they requested and were given a copy which is now framed and hanging in the front hall of the school. They have also had it translated into Braille.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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trundlebedtales

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

One thought on “The Woman Behind the Signature”

  1. These little discoveries and connections to Laura and her family never cease to surprise and delight me. Isn’t it terrific that after all these years, we continue to find them? Thanks for sharing.

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