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Collection Description

The Runge Collection was donated by Janice Metz, granddaughter of Clara (Gellert) Runge and daughter of Wilma (Runge) Forrest.

Clara Gellert, the daughter of August and Pauline (Penno) Gellert, was born August 16, 1899 and died June 24, 1978. Clara married William Runge on January 5, 1921. William, the son of Julius and Bertha (Goetsch) Runge, was born November 11, 1895 and died June 5, 1951. Julius Runge was born in Pommeran, Germany on July 26, 1844, came to the United States in 1883, and eventually settled on a farm in Shirley, Illinois. William and Clara Runge also ran a farm by Shirley.

Clara and William Runge had four children. The children from oldest to youngest were: Delmar, Wilma, Wayne, and Joan. Delmar served in the Army in World War II and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in the Third Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment of the First Army which received a Presidential Citation. After the war, Delmar worked at Funk Brothers Seed Company. Wayne Runge worked overseas much of his life first in Italy and then in South America promoting hybrid seed corn for Funk Brothers Seed Company. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wilma married Francis Forrest, who was a farmer in Bellflower, on October 6, 1947. She had worked as a secretary at Baby Fold in Normal.

Materials in the collection provide information on the operation and management of a farm in rural McLean County in the 1930s and 40s. They also provide insights on the role of farmers in the defense of the nation during World War II. There are also a number of recipe collections in the materials.


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