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RG2236.AM:  Louise W. (Wilhelmina) Mears, 1874-1965

Papers:  1910-1957

Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska:  Author, educator

Size:  0.25 cu. ft., 1 box


Born in Beatrice, Nebraska on March 12, 1874, Louise Wilhelmina Mears was the daughter of H. M. Mears and Caroline Gaede Mears. Louise received her bachelor’s degree in education from Peru State Teachers College (Peru, Nebraska) in 1909. She went on to receive her master’s degree in geography from the University of Nebraska in 1912. She did additional coursework at Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Minnesota, and University of Wisconsin.

Mears worked as the head of the geography department at the State Teachers College in Moorhead, Minnesota from 1901-1907. She worked as an instructor at the Nebraska State Teachers College from 1907-1912 and as Professor of Geography at the State Teachers College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1912-1940. Upon retirement, Mears returned to Nebraska and worked for the Nebraska State Historical Society for several years.

Mears was a member of numerous organizations including the National League of American Pen Women, American Association of University Women, British Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, Nebraska Writers Guild, Nebraska State Historical Society, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She was a delegate to the Pan-Pacific Scientific Conference in 1920 and the World Education Conference in 1927.

Louise Mears established the “Louise Mears Medal for Geographic Research” at the State Teachers College in Peru, Nebraska. The student whose thesis on the geography of Nebraska was judged the most commendable received the annual award. The first medal was awarded in 1934 to Langford Waggoner for the thesis, “Transportation Routes of Nemaha County.” A similar award was established in her name at State Teachers College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Mears was the author of numerous books and articles including, The Hills of Peru, The Story of Nebraska, and Life and Times of a Midwest Educator: Carroll Gardner Pearse. Funeral services were held for Louise W. Mears in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 20, 1965.


The collection consists of the papers of Louise W. Mears and is arranged in two series, 1) Writings and 2) Miscellaneous. The majority of the collection consists of typescripts of Mears’ writings dating between 1911 and 1956. Of particular interest are the typescripts for her book on Carroll Gardner Pearse and a five-page biography of her uncle, William Gaede. Various articles, reprints, and book reviews are also included in this series. Series 2 contains one folder of biographical material about Louise Mears and one folder of clippings compiled by Mears.

Photographs relating to Louise Mears are located in the photo component of this collection. Many of her published works are located in the Library collections. Her thesis, “Some Geographic Influences in the Development of Southeastern Nebraska, Nemaha County in particular,” is on deposit at the University of Nebraska Lincoln Libraries.


Series 1 – Writings

Box 1


  1. “My Alma Mater – Peru” (1911)

  2. “Old Buildings in Peru, Nebraska” (1920)

  3. “Biography of William Gaede, 1862-1906” (1927)

  4. “Auburn, Nebraska” (1941)

  5. Book review, “Fifty Years on the Nebraska Frontier,” by Charles Arthur Hawley (1941)

  6. Book review, “A Lantern in Her Hand,” by Bess Streeter Aldrich (1942)

  7. “The Evolution of a Biography” (1943)

  8. “Life and Times of a Midwest Educator: Carroll Gardner Pearse” (1945), pt. 1

  9. “Life and Times of a Midwest Educator: Carroll Gardner Pearse” (1945), pt. 2

  10. “A Tribute to Martha Turner” (1946)

  11. “In Memoriam: Miss E. Ruth Pyrtle” (1948)

  12. “Nebraska City” (1948)

  13. “Living Windbreaks” (1956)

  14. Articles and reprints (1910, 1916)

  15. Announcements and book reviews

  16. Research material, Peru, Nebraska

Series 2 – Miscellaneous

  1. Biographical information (see also OB019)

  2. Clippings, 1942-1946, 1955-1957



Mears, Louise Wilhelmina, 1874-1965

Pearse, Carroll Gardner — Biography

Peru (Neb.) — History

Teachers — Wisconsin — Biography


07-08-1965   WFS/HEK/js

01-03-2005   TMM/tmm