Mary Ingalls Society Meeting Notes

The first annual meeting for the members of the Mary Ingalls Society was held December 8, 2014 in the Founder’s Room at the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School. The Founder’s Room was a room just to the right of the main entrance that traditionally held artifacts and memorabilia to the school. Past students describe getting a sense of being part of a proud tradition from this room. In recent years it had been taken over as an office, but in late 2014 it was returned to a historical display room and the main floor presence of the Society. Below are the notes reporting from that meeting.



December 8, 2014

Our first membership meeting started at 7 pm with members Pat Barr, Carolyn Hibbs, Nancy Beckman, Nancy Baldwin, Mike Kelly, Barb Beau, and guest Don Eells.

Carolyn read an excerpt from a school journal dated December 1957. Student Judy Shank, who was a very active and talented gal who was involved in several activities on campus, wrote it. It made us realize how busy and engaged these students were. Mary Ingalls Sign Final

Carolyn then went on to review what has taken place with the society since our founding in 2012:

  • “A Conversation with Mary Ingalls”
  • Fundraising items: bookmarks, postcards, corn cob dolls
  • Our first pageant
  • Tours in 2013 & 2014
  • Grants received through LOST funds
  • An original line drawing of Mary to use as part of Mary Ingalls Society signs and advertising
  • New signage outside the school

It is our hope to have more volunteers. Don suggested asking people is more effective than waiting for them to come forward.

Carolyn and Nancy Beckman are working on the next script for Pageant 2015, adding a couple of scenes and doing some tweaking of the existing script. The next pageant will be held July 31, August 1 and 2 in 2015.

A calendar using historical photos of the Braille school was discussed as a fundraiser. Two copies were shared; one in black and white and another in color. We hope to do this in 2015. Size was discussed as well as color or black and white? Don suggested having them numbered and possibly adding quotes.

We would like some publicity to encourage the public who may have had some connection or tie to the school to loan or donate items to be on display. We recently received cookie cutters and a recipe for oatmeal cookies from the family of one of the bakers.

A lot of brainstorming and dreaming took place. Don asked if we had considered having a tea? The setting in the Founders Room would be very appropriate. We are so delighted to have that room that really reflects the history of the Braille school. Don also suggested the possibility of collaborating with the Art Guild and could picture art on the lawn as well as musicians and even hot air balloons!

The meeting concluded with a tour of the 3rd floor museum. It is definitely a gem in the rough. We have our work cut out for us!

Barb Beau

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Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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