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Ruth Van Horn Zuckerman

Identifier: RH-A-4040

Scope and Contents

Ruth Genevieve Van Horn Zuckerman was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 7, 1900 to Samuel H. Van Horn (1875-1938) and Laura J. (Mills) Van Horn (1880-1967). As a young adult, Ruth attended Western Michigan College (1918-1921) and the University of Michigan (1921-1922) to receive a B.A. in English. Continuing her studies, she returned to the University of Michigan (1925-1926) and also attended Columbia University (Summer 1935, Fall 1936-1967) to receive a M.A. in English with a minor in Philosophy. During WWII, Ruth taught at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Washington D.C., where she worked decoding Japanese messages, and her experiences are recorded in her 1943 diary.

Following her education, Ruth taught at Western Michigan University in the English department (c. 1940-1960), as well as published several poems, articles, book reviews, short stories, and novels. The collection includes draft copies of Red Weather, Susan Granberry, and Changing Waters, as well as published copies of Crooked Eclipses (1942) and From the Ravine (1984). The diaries and photos included in the collection show that Ruth was well travelled, and visited various countries in Europe including England, France, and Belgium (c. 1950), as well as islands in the Caribbean including Haiti, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico (c. 1970).

On October 20, 1962, Ruth married Jerome Zuckerman (1945-2017), an English PhD and faculty member at Western Michigan University, and the two moved to Mankato, MN in 1964 after Jerome accepted a position teaching at Minnesota State University. There they resided, continue to travel, and remained married until Ruth’s death on November 3, 1991.


  • Creation: 1936-1985



6 boxes : 3.0 cubic feet contained in six full-sized Hollinger boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 3.0 cubic feet contained in six full-sized Hollinger boxes with folders comprised of poems, short stories, novels, drafts, diaries, letters exchanged between editors and friends, as well as other personal records and photographs between the years 1936-1985.

A majority of the drafted works are printed on 8 ½” x 11” paper. The diaries range in size, with a majority being roughly 5 ½” x 8”. Most of the poems and drafts are typed on typewriter paper. A majority of the diaries are written in pen without smudges or water damage, however, the handwriting is difficult to read and some of the books are missing pages. Most of the collection is in good condition, though some of the travel post cards and photos, as well as family photos, have tears and paper residue from glue. Newspaper clippings are photocopied.


The collection contains diaries and other writings from Ruth Van Horn Zuckerman between the years 1936-1985 while she traveled, wrote poetry, and taught at Western Michigan University.


The collection was donated to the archives in Spring 2017 by Dr. Suzanne Bunkers, an English professor at Minnesota State University and friend of the Zuckermans. Following the wishes of Dr. Jerome Zuckerman, the diaries and writings were donated to the archives after his death to be used for scholarly purposes.

Ruth Van Horn Zuckerman Finding Aid
Katherine Bauer
July 24, 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490