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Franklin D. Keim, Agronomy Papers

Title: Franklin D. Keim, Agronomy Papers

Creator: Keim, Franklin D., 1886-1957

Dates: 1909-1999

Quantity: 4 boxes (3 linear feet)

Collection Number: RG 08-08-16

Language: English

Restrictions: None

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Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Franklin D. Keim, Agronomy Papers (RG 08-08-16). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Alternative Format: None


Franklin David Keim was born in Hardy, Nebraska, on September 10, 1886, to Dennis and Jennie Cramer Keim. He received a teacher's certificate from Peru State Teachers College (1909), Bachelors of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Nebraska (1914, 1918), and a PhD from Cornell University (1927). He married Alice Mary Voigt on June 12, 1914, and they had two children, Virginia Voigt Honstead and agronomist Wayne Franklin Keim.

Before coming to the University of Nebraska (UN), Keim worked as a principal and superintendent of schools in Chester and Blue Springs, Nebraska (1909-1911). After completing his bachelor's degree, he joined the UN College of Agriculture as an assistant agronomist (1914-1916), extension agronomist (1917-1918), professor (1918-1929), acting chairman (1930-1932) and chairman (1932-1952) of the Agronomy Department. His work focused on native grasses, patrure utilization, plant genetics, and weed control. During his time as chairman, Keim doubled the department's staff, making it the largest department in the College of Agriculture at that time. He helped start a cooperative program between the UN Department of Agronomy and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that increased agronomy staff, funded several research projects, and served as a model for other land grant institutions. He mentored many agronomists during his time at the university, including Nobel Prize winner and geneticist George Beadle.

In 1945-1946, Keim taught plant genetics and agriculture to American Army personnel at the Biarritz American University in France. The classes were meant to encourage soldiers to gain college credit and skills while they were waiting to return home after service in World War II. While in Europe, Keim documented the state of post-war farms and agriculture as he traveled throughout France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Keim participated in a variety of professional organizations. He served as director of the Union National State Insurance Company, Farmers State Bank of Davey, Nebraska, and Lincoln and Fremont Joint Stock Land Bank. The USDA American Research Science inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1999, and he served as a fellow and president of the American Society of Agronomy. He held positions in the Nebraska State Weed Advisory, National Genetics Society of America, FarmHouse Fraternity, National Geographic Society, National Academy of Science, American Association of the Advancement of Science, and numerous other professional organizations.

Keim died March 7, 1956, while attending a secretary meeting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. In 1957, the University named the agronomy building, Keim Hall, in his honor.

Scope and Content:

The Keim papers consist of correspondence, biographical materials, publications, photographs, and audiovisual materials from Keim's travels to Europe and the International Grasslands Congress in 1937. In 1948, Keim studied agriculture in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Between 1945-1946 Keim observed post-war farmland in France, Germany, and the Netherlands and documented his travels in a scrapbook. Additional material relate to Keim's retirement, the dedication of Keim Hall, and materials on geneticist George Beadle collected by Keim's son, Wayne.


Beadle, George Wells, 1903-1989

Keim, Franklin D., 1886-1957


World War, 1939-1945

Biarritz American University

FarmHouse Fraternity

University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Department of Agronomy

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence and Biographical Materials, 1920-2000

This series contains articles, awards, biographies, resumes, and a speech and program from the dedication of Keim Hall. Correspondence includes appreciation letters written to Keim assocaited with a recognition dinner in 1950.

Series 2: Publications and Research, 1926-1955

This series contains publications authored by Franklin D. Keim on Nebraska prairie hay, native grasses, bindweed eradication, cattle grazing, and mowing frequency. Also included are notebooks detailing photographs he took throughout his travels to Europe and Central America (see also audiovisual materials series). A 1945 publication titled "Seven Months in Europe," outlines Keim's experience teaching agriculture at the Biarritz American University in France, and the conditions of European farms after World War II.

Series 3: George Beadle Materials, 1937-2003, undated

This series contains materials collected by F.D. Keim's son, Wayne Keim, include newpaper articles, Beadle's publications, correspondence, George W. Beadle Center dedication programs and brochures, and materials about Beadle's visit to Colorado State University in 1976.

Series 4: Photographs and Scrapbooks, 1937-1953

Photographs include portraits of F.D. Keim and George Beadle, UN College of Agriculture 1937 faculty, 1937 International Grasslands Conference participants, and Lincoln Sesostris Temple Band.

Of significance is a scrapbook from Keim's trip to France, Germany, and the Netherlands while teaching at Biarritz American University in Biarritz, France, from 1945-1946.

Series 5: Audio-visual materials, 1937-1948

Audio-visual materials contains video from Keim's travels to Europe and International Grasslands Congress in 1937, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in 1948, and other unlabeled trips. Also included are various films of the College of Agriculture including 1941-1942 Farmer's Fair, farmland, and grassland.

Container List: Series 1: Correspondence and Biographical Materials, 1920-2000Box 1. Folder 1. Certificates, Master Mason, UN Certificate of Appreciation, 1920, 1950 Box 1. Folder 2. Articles, on F.D. Keim, 1941-2000 Box 1. Folder 3. Biographies, resume, in memoriam, 1946-1957 Box 1. Folder 4-5. Correspondence, "Expressions of Appreciation to Dr. Keim," 1950 Box 1. Folder 6. Article, program, Keim retirement dinner, 1952, June 26 Box 1. Folder 7. Speech, program, Keim Hall dedication, 1957 Series 2: Publications and Research, 1926-1955Box 1. Folder 8. Publication, "Prairie Hay in Nebraska," 1926, Sept. 13 Box 2. Folder 1. Dissertation, Inheritance Studies of a Cross between T. Compactum and T. Speita, 1927 Box 2. Folder 2. Publications, 1929, 1932-1937 Box 2. Folder 3. Publications, 1942-1955 Box 2. Folder 4. Publication, "Report on Middle America by Prominent Agriculture Experts," United Fruit Company, 1949 (see also Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua films, box 3, folders 7-11) Box 2. Folder 5. Notebook, film shot lists, Europe trip, 1937 (see also film Europe 3, box 4, folder 3) Box 2. Folder 6. Booklet, "Organization and Personnel of the Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska College of Agriculture," 1947 Box 2. Folder 7. Notebook, film shot lists, "Shots taken on trip to Honduras and Guatemala," 1948[?] (see also film box 4, folders 7-8) Series 3: George Beadle MaterialsBox 2. Folder 8. Publications, by George Beadle, 1937, 1974, 1980, undated Box 2. Folder 9. News, journal articles, on George Beadle, 1954-2003 Box 2. Folder 10. Press releases, correspondence, Beadle visit, Colorado State University, 1976, Nov. 18-19 Box 2. Folder 11. Correspondence, Wayne Keim, Beadle Christmas cards, Beadle museum exhibit, 1983, 1997 Box 2. Folder 12. Programs, brochures, promotional materials, George W. Beadle Center dedication, 1995 Box 2. Folder 13. Correspondence, Wayne Keim and Francis Haskins, Carnegie Institution Beadle Project, 1998 Series 4: Photographs and Scrapbooks, 1937-1953Box 2. Folder 14. Photo, International Grassland Group, 1937 Box 2. Folder 14. Photo, Agriculture faculty, 1937 Box 2. Folder 14. Photo, D. Griswold, W. Brokaw, J. Nicholson, J. Swinbank, Keim with Nebraskan grown seed wheat, undated Box 2. Folder 15. Photos, Keim portraits, 1945, 1952, undated Box 2. Folder 16. Photos, Keim, Howard Wahlgren, 1953, undated Box 2. Folder 17. Photo, George Beadle portraits, Ithaca group photo 1929, undated Box 2. Folder 18. Film strip, 16 mm reel, unidentified farmland, 1946 (see also box 4, folder 6) Box 3. Folder 1. Scrapbook, Germany, France, Netherlands trip, 1945, July Series 5: Audio-visual Materials, 1937-1948Box 4. Folder 1. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, Europe reel 1, International Grasslands Congress, Aberystwyth, Wales, 1937, July 15-17 Box 4. Folder 2. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, Europe reel 2, 1937 Box 4. Folder 3. Video, 16 mm Kodascope projection reel, Europe reel 3, 1937, Sept. 21-23 (see also trip journal, box 2, folder 5) Box 4. Folder 4. Video, 16 mm Kodascope projection reel, "Farmers Fair by Frank Keim, University of Nebraska (transferred to VHS video 1992, June 24)," 1941-1942 (see also VHS, box 4, folder 5) Box 4. Folder 5. VHS, Farmers Fair, by Frank Keim, University of Nebraska, 1941-1942 (see also video, 16 mm Kodascope projection reel, box 4, folder 4) Box 4. Folder 6. Video, 16mm Kodachrome reel, Mitchell station, by George S. Round, 1942 Box 4. Folder 6. Video, 16mm Kodachrome reel, Cass County Angus Sale, by George S. Round, 1942 Box 4. Folder 6. Video, 16mm reel, unidentified farmland, 1946 Box 4. Folder 6. Video, 16mm reel, commencement, May Day, undated Box 4. Folder 7-8. Video, 16mm Eastman safety film reel, "Shots Taken on Trip to Honduras and Guatemala," New York State College of Agriculture Film Service, Cornell University, 1948, July [?] (see also publication box 2, folder 4) Box 4. Folder 9-10. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, Honduras, 1948, July Box 4. Folder 11. Video, 16 mm Kodascope projection reel, Nicaragua, 1948 [?] Box 4. Folder 12. Reels, 16 mm Kodascope projection reel, "College of Agriculture, 4 corn [?], grass," undated Box 4. Folder 13. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, "faculty," undated Box 4. Folder 14. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, "grass film," undated Box 4. Folder 15. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, "outstate testing variety trials," undated Box 4. Folder 16. Video, 16mm reel, unidentified, undated Box 4. Folder 17-18. Video, 16mm Kodascope projection reel, unidentified, undated
Related Material and Resources: Information for Franklin D. Keim's biography comes from his resume, biographies, and articles from "Biographies, resume, in memoriam, 1946-1957" (box 1, folder 3), "Articles on F.D. Keim, 1941-2000" (box 1, folder 2), and his publication, "My Seven Months in Europe" (box 2, folder 3).

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