Dorothy Severin Kehlenbeck Bean

Honored by:Eric and Barbara Abbott and the Foreign Languages and Literature Department
Brick location:C:14 and PAVER:21  map

Honored by Eric and Barbara Abbott

As Iowa State College approached its one hundredth birthday, President James H. Hilton recommended to the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Achievement Foundation in 1953 that $2,500 be allocated to organize and file photographs and other documents relating to the College’s history. The materials would be in demand on the College's birthday itself -- March 22, 1958 -- but the need to collect and synthesize the history of the institution for the future was also seen as important.

Dorothy Kehlenbeck, wife of Dr. Alfred P. Kehlenbeck, head of the college's Modern Language Department, was hired for the part-time job which she held for the next 19 years. She became known as the library curator and the founder of the Iowa State History Collection from 1953-1970. She was University Archivist of Special Collections from 1970-1972. In the beginning, she was given space at the College Library (now Parks Library): 10 metal filing cabinets and a dry-mounting press.

One of her first tasks was to devise a classification scheme for photographic prints of the college's current or former 129 buildings, its academic departments, student organizations, and alumni. Other important materials included the correspondence and papers of such famous Iowa Stater's as former President W.M. Beardshear, George Washington Carver, and Dr. Louis H. Pammel, once head of the Botany Department and a world-renowned conservationist. She also had to find space for several unusual items -- the death mask of Mrs. Margaret Stanton; the Bible used by Dr. Orange Howard Cessna, chaplain of Iowa State and a member of the class of 1872; the compass used in the original survey of the College in 1858; a hammer used to build Old Main; and a baggage check from the old Dinky railroad that ran from downtown Ames to the campus.

She edited the first I00-year chronology of important events at Iowa State, a second chronology from 1958 to 1967, and an annual chronology from 1968 through 1972. She also recorded about 40 interviews with famous alumni and faculty members. In 1973 she received the Superior Service Award during Alumni Days. Because of health, she retired in 1972.

Dorothy Severin was born May 25, 1912 in Elberon, Iowa, daughter of John and Dora Ottsen Severin. She graduated from Coe College with a B.A. in French in 1938. She married Alfred Kehlenbeck, a German professor at Coe. They came to Ames in 1935.

In Ames she has been active in Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, P.E. O., and Faculty Women's Club. She is a member of Collegiate Presbyterian Church. Following Alfred Kehlenbeck's death in 1969, she married Ralph R. Bean, administrative assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture in 1974. He died in 1994.

Information supplied by Eric Abbott, Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication


Honored by the Foreign Languages and Literature Department

Dorothy Kehlenbeck Bean grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is a graduate of Coe College. After a period in Madison, Wisconsin, she came to Ames with her husband, Alfred Kehlenbeck. In December 1953, Robert Orr, Head Librarian of the Iowa State College Library, asked Dorothy to take on the task of sorting through boxes of records and papers in order to prepare for the 1958 centennial year of the charter of the College.

She completed the task that was intended to be a one-year job and then took a full-time appointment. Warren Kuhn, who had become Librarian in 1967, appointed Dorothy to a new position as Archivist. She had earlier published a Chronology of Important Events of the First 100 Years of Iowa State College. She continued to write this publication annually until 1972, when she retired. The Chronology was discontinued in 1973.

Dorothy Kehlenbeck Bean continues to support the Kehlenbeck Scholarship for Foreign Language majors who wish to study abroad as part of their preparation to plan to teach foreign languages.


Paver Inscription:

"Foreign Language
Dorothy K. Bean
C. Bruner
T. Michelsons
B. Von Wittich"