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RG1662.AM:  May (Bennett) Avery, 1870-1960

Papers: 1921-1952, mostly undated

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Born in Bradford, Iowa on March 24, 1870, May Bennett was the daughter of Reverend William and Harriet (Blodget) Bennett.  The Bennett family moved to Lyndonville, Vermont in 1874 when Reverend Bennett became pastor of the local Congregational church.  The family returned to Iowa in 1880 and Reverend Bennett took over as pastor of the Congregational church at Ames.  In 1884 the family moved to Crete, Nebraska, where Rev. Bennett served the local church.

May Bennett graduated from Doane College at Crete, Nebraska, in 1891.  After several years of teaching in the public schools at Sutton and Seward, Nebraska, May Bennett married Samuel Avery on August 4, 1897.  The coupled settled in Moscow, Idaho where Dr. Avery served as an instructor in chemistry at the University of Idaho.  After one year, an opening in the Chemistry department at the University of Nebraska brought the couple back to Lincoln, Nebraska.  Dr. Avery became chair of the Chemistry department in 1905.  In 1909 Dr. Avery became Chancellor of the University and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1926.  May (Bennett) Avery served the local community and was involved in numerous clubs and organizations.  She served as president of the First Plymouth Congregational Church and as a trustee of Doane College.  She was also involved in the YWCA, League of Women Voters, Faculty Women’s Club, Colonial Dames, Tuesday Review and the Mayflower Society.

Samuel Avery died on January 25, 1936.  May (Bennett) Avery died on July 1, 1960.  Both are buried in Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska.


This collection consists of one box of papers of May (Bennett) Avery.  Included in the collection are various manuscripts by Avery, a diary entitled, “My Trip Abroad,” and some miscellaneous items including biographical information.  Manuscripts from the bulk of the Avery papers.  They are largely undated book reviews, speeches and essays and were probably written by May Avery for her various club activities.  Included is an 18 page typescript, “Memories of Pioneer Days,” by Mrs. Eva (Hendrickson) Klepper of Wilsonville, Nebraska.  Mrs. Klepper recalls her journey from Illinois to Nebraska in the early 1880’s and her life in a Furnas County sod house until 1903.  The diary, “My Trip Abroad,” is a 1930 record of Mrs. Avery’s trip to Europe.


Box 1


  1. Manuscripts, n.d.

  2. Manuscripts, n.d.

  3. Manuscripts, n.d.

  4. “Memories of Pioneer Days” by Mrs. Eva Klepper

  5. Diary, “My Trip Abroad,” 1930 (original and transcript)

  6. Miscellaneous memorabilia, biographical information, etc.


Subject headings:

Avery, May (Bennett), 1870-1960

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Furnas County (Nebraska) — History

Klepper, Eva (Hendrickson), 1863-1942

Sod houses — Nebraska


LW/js                    12-19-1964

Revised TMM      09-13-2018