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Richard W. Beckman Family papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/13/51

Scope and Content

This collection (1870-1969) contains materials of Fred W. Beckman, Richard W. Beckman, and Lorraine S. Beckman, including personal and business correspondence, photographs of the family members and their travels, newspaper clippings and articles, and information regarding the family's involvement in the two world wars.

Fred W. Beckman's series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles, class notes, journalism files, letters of appreciation and condolence, his French transportation papers, and information from the National War Work Council during World War I.

Richard W. Beckman's collection includes biographical data, graduate work, notes, speeches, articles, materials from the U.S. Office of War Information, personal and business correspondence while in Mexico and China, Chinese newspapers, and photographs from trips to Mexico and China.

Lorraine S. Beckman's series contains articles, notes, and lectures on child development, as well as radio talks, stories, and poetry written for children.

Materials related to the entire Beckman family include photographs of family members; photographs of their travels and group gatherings; personal correspondence and newspaper articles from Knoxville, Iowa, and Marion County; maps; a scrapbook of China; letters of congratulations; and photographic negatives depicting student activities on the Iowa State campus.


  • 1870-1969

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Richard W. Beckman (1903-1969) received his B.S. (1925) in civil engineering from Iowa State College (University). While attending Iowa State, Beckman served for one year as general manager of the Iowa Engineer and the Student Engineering Monthly. After graduation, he focused on a career in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Des Moines Register and Tribune. He then joined the editorial staff of Railway Age in Chicago, Illinois, for five years. In 1931, Beckman was named Assistant Professor (1931-1940) in the Department of Technical Journalism at Iowa State where he taught engineering journalism. He was promoted to Associate Professor (1940-1948) and was appointed Director of Publicity (1942-1946) for Iowa State's Information Service. He took a leave of absence (1944-1945) to join the Office of War Information, serving primarily in Tientsin, China. In 1948, he resigned from the Journalism Department at Iowa State University to help his father, Fred W. Beckman, manage the Knoxville Journal.

Fred W. Beckman graduated from Iowa State College (University) in 1897. He served as Professor (1911-1926) of Agricultural Journalism and Head (1926) of the Technical Journalism Department at Iowa State. He resigned from Iowa State and was named managing editor and editor (1927-1939) of the Farmer's Wife magazine at St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1939 he came back to Iowa and took over active direction of the Knoxville Journal.

Lorraine Alice Sandstrom Beckman was Richard's wife. Lorraine graduated from Iowa State with a B.S. (1929) in home economics. She was affiliated with the Chi Omega National Social Sorority and Phi Upsilon Omicron, as well as the National Professional Honorary Organization. She was an instructor (1929-1933) in the Department of Child Development at Iowa State.


8.68 Linear Feet (14 document boxes and 2 oversized boxes)

Language of Materials



Richard W. Beckman spent several years as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor before working at Iowa State College (University) as Assistant Professor (1931-1942) of engineering journalism. During the mid-1940s, Beckman served for nearly two years in Tientsin, China, as a member of the Office of War Information staff. In 1948, he resigned from Iowa State to help his father manage the Knoxville Journal. Fred Beckman, Richard's father, served as professor and Head (1911-1927) of the Department of Technical Journalism at Iowa State. He became managing editor and editor (1927-1938) of the Farmer's Wife magazine in St. Paul, Minnesota, before returning to Iowa to manage the Knoxville Journal in 1939. Lorraine Beckman, Richard's wife taught at Iowa State as an Instructor (1929-1933) in the Department of Child Development. This collection consists of biographical information, course work, correspondence, lecture notes, and writings from all three members of the Beckman family identified above. The collection also contains a scrapbook from Richard's time in China along with travel photographs and maps of various locations around the world.


This collection is organized into four series:

Series 1: Fred W. Bechman papers, 1870-1957, undated

Series 2: Richard W. Beckman papers, 1913-1969, undated

Series 3: Lorraine S. Beckman papers, 1930-1953, undated

Series 4: Beckman Family papers, 1979-1966, undated

Items in related collections

RS 13/13. Iowa State University. Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication records

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 13/13/51. Richard W. Beckman Family papers, 1870-1969
January 23, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672