October 29, 2022

Perin Family [RG2376.AM]


RG2376.AM: Perin Family

Papers: 1813-1930s (mostly 1870s-1920), 1966-1992
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:
Size: 3.25 cu.ft.; 7 boxes; 1 reel of microfilm


S. W. (Senator Willis) Perin was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on May 8, 1859. When a year old, he traveled with his mother, Amelia Sophie Roubleau Perin, and four brothers in a covered wagon across the plains of Nebraska to Pike’s Peak where his father was prospecting for gold. The family returned the next year to Davenport, Iowa.

In 1880 three of the Perin brothers, including Willis, homesteaded in Custer County, Nebraska. Two years later, Willis married Laura Courtney. The Perins were employed September 16, 1889 as superintendent and housekeeper of what was then called the Industrial College Farm at Lincoln. Willis Perin served as superintendent of the Agricultural College farm for forty years, seeing the operation grow from a hog lot and apple orchard to a highly developed and diverse agricultural program. He died at his home in Lincoln in 1930.

The Perins had four children, Charles, Dale, Edna and Hazel. Edna graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska in 1911. Seven years later, she sailed to London as a “hostess” for the troops during World War I. After the war, Edna married Louis Labarrere. The marriage was cut short by Louis’ death in 1927. Edna Perin Labarrere died in 1931. Hazel married George Reeder of Columbus, and in 1971 she published her family reminiscence and history of the Agricultural campus.


The Perin Family collection consists of seven boxes, three oversize volumes, and one reel of microfilm arranged in six series:

Series 1: Diaries, S.W. Perin, 1893-1916, 1929
Series 2: Journals of the College of Agriculture; 1874-1901
Series 3: Correspondence, S. W. Perin; 1890-1914
Series 4: Papers of Edna Perin Labarrere
Subseries 1: Diary (on microfilm), 1918-1919
Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1918-1919, 1927
Subseries 3: Material Relating to YMCA Canteen work, 1918-1919
Series 5: Materials relating to Growing Up With the Nebraska School of Agriculture: A Memorial Tribute to the Life of S.W. “Dad” Perin, by Hazel Perin Reeder
Series 6: Miscellany, Perin Family, 1813-1930s; 1976

The materials in this collection relate primarily to agriculture in Nebraska and, particularly, to the University of Nebraska Experiment Farm which was supervised by S.W. Perin from 1889 to 1929. Also included are the papers of Edna Perin Labarrere, daughter of S. W. Perin, who served as a YMCA canteen worker in Europe during World War I, and materials relating to the publication of Hazel Perin Reeder’s book about her father and the Agricultural college. Some miscellaneous materials relate to family history and include letters, genealogical information, papers of S. W. Perin, and a biography of Amelia Sophie Roubleau Perin.

The diaries of Series 1 contain S. W. Perin’s record of tasks performed by workers at the experimental farm during the years 1893-1916. Weather conditions, work on various crops, notes on animals, and University related business are discussed. One volume covers 1929. Series 2 consists of three oversize journals of the College of Agriculture, 1874-1901. They provide financial information on crops, livestock, and equipment, as well as rainfall figures, soil temperatures, employee lists, orchard and field layouts, and farm business practices. S. W. Perin’s correspondence in Series 3 covers the years 1890-1914. Most of the letters date from 1914 and all express appreciation for Perin’s service to the University. Correspondents include James H. Canfield, 1893; George E. McLean, 1897; Elisha B. Andrews; Charles E. Bessey; Samuel R. McKelvie; G. W. Pugsley, William W. Burr; and George Coupland, 1914.

Series 4 consists of the papers of Edna Perin Labarrere, which mostly relate to her experiences as a YMCA canteen worker in Europe during World War I. Subseries 1 is Edna’s diary from the years 1918-1919 [on microfilm only]. Subseries 2 consists of correspondence from Edna to her family during her stay in Europe; and one letter dated 1927. Typescripts of the letters are included. [Gaps in the typescripts of the correspondence have been filled with appropriate excerpts from Edna’s diary. Explanation of the typescript and information on people mentioned in the correspondence (see folder 4) is provided by Edna Reeder Emerson, Edna Perin Labarrere’s niece]. Subseries 3 includes miscellaneous materials relating to Edna’s YMCA canteen work. The materials in Series 5 relate to Hazel Perin Reeder’s book, Growing Up With the Nebraska School of Agriculture: A Memomorial Tribute to the Life of S.W. “Dad” Perin, and include both pre- and post-publication correspondence, a partial draft of the manuscript, and financial records kept by Marian Prentice (Hazel’s daughter and the book’s editor) regarding publication and sales. (A copy of Hazel’s book is kept in the Society library.)

Series 6, Miscellany, includes a journal from the Nebraska State Dairyman’s Association, 1885; inventories of material in the Agricultural College library, 1884; notes and newspaper clippings; a volume containing signatures and testimonials from friends to Senator Willis Perin, 1914; and a 1920s radio address by Perin concerning his career at the agriculture campus. This series also includes letters of the Gapen family, 1813-1867. Letters written by Eli and Michael Gapen during their service with Company G, 28th Illinois Volunteers relate to camp life and troop movements of their unit. Other miscellaneous materials include family marriage announcements, genealogical information and other family history; miscellaneous Perin Family correspondence; and a biography of Amelia Sophie Roubleau Perin, written by her granddaughter, Hazel Perin Reeder in 1976. The biography relates to Amelia’s childhood in the South, marriage, and life on the frontier in Nebraska.

Note: The photograph portion of the collection [RG2376.PH] contains approximately 75 photographs, including pictures of the family, family houses, images of the University of Nebraska Experiment Farm, etc. Three volumes about the Perin Family by Hazel Perin Reeder are housed in the NSHS Library collections: Amelia, 1834-1909: Her Story; Around the Year 1896 with the Perin Family…; and Growing up with the Nebraska School of Agriculture: A Memorial Tribute to the Life of S. W. “Dad” Perin. Additional records relating to the Perin Family and their activities at the Nebraska School of Agriculture may be found at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s University Archives in Love Library.


Series 1 – Diaries, 1893-1916

Box 1

  1. 1893
  2. 1894
  3. 1895
  4. 1896

Box 2

  1. 1897
  2. 1898
  3. 1899
  4. 1900

Box 3

  1. 1901
  2. 1902
  3. 1903
  4. 1906

Box 4

  1. 1907
  2. 1908
  3. 1909
  4. 1910
  5. 1911
  6. 1912
  7. 1913

Box 5

  1. 1914
  2. 1915
  3. 1916
  4. 1929

Series 2 – Journals of the College of Agriculture, 1874-1901


  1. Financial Records, 1874-1901 (oversize)
  2. Financial Records, 1874-1889 (oversize)
  3. Financial Records, 1874-1888; Records and Notes, 1888-1892; Reports to the Board of Regents (oversize)

Series 3 – S.W. Perin Correspondence, 1890-1914

Box 5 (cont.)

  1. 1890-1914

Series 4 – Papers of Edna Perin Labarrere, 1917-1919
Subseries 1: Diary

Reel 1 – Diary, 1918-1919 [on microfilm]

Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1918-1919, 1927

Box 5 (cont.)

  1. Correspondence originals
  2. Correspondence originals
  3. Correspondence originals
  4. Correspondence typescripts [see explanation in Scope and Content Note]
  5. Correspondence typescripts [see explanation in Scope and Content Note]
  6. Correspondence typescripts [see explanation in Scope and Content Note]

Subseries 3: Miscellany, 1918-1919

Box 5 (cont.)

  1. Material relating to YMCA canteen work of Edna Perin

Box 6

  1. Photocopy of Edna Perin’s “Rhymes of the Red Triangle,” verses of the YMCA canteen

Series 5 – Materials relating to Growing up with the Nebraska Schoopl of Agriculture: A Memorial Tribute to the Life of S.S. “Dad” Perin by Hazel Perin Reeder

Box 6 (cont.)

  1. Correspondence, family, 1970-1976, undated
  2. Correspondence, 1965-1971, undated
  3. Correspondence, 1971-1992
  4. Marian Prentice’s records/finances regarding publication and sales
  5. Partial draft of manuscript

Series 6 – Miscellany, 1813-1930s

Box 6

  1. Signatures and testimonials from friends of S. W. Perin, 1914
  2. Journal, State Dairyman’s Association, 1885
  3. Inventory of books, pamphlets, and periodicals contained in the Agricultural College library, 1884; notes; newspaper clippings; Perin’s radio address, “Thirty-Seven Years at the Farm”
  4. Gapen family letters, 1813-1850
  5. Letters of Eli and Michael Gapen, 1862-1867

Box 7

  1. Genealogical and other family history, wedding announcements, record of S.W. Perin farm sale, 1889
  2. Miscellaneous Perin Family correspondence, 1884-1968, undated
  3. Manuscript, “Amelia,” by Hazel Perin Reeder [biography of Amelia Sophie Roubleau Perin], 1976

Subject headings:

Agricultural chemistry
Agricultural experiment stations
Agricultural history
Agricultural research
Agriculture — Nebraska
Andrews, Elisha Benjamin, 1844-1917
Bessey, Charles Edwin, 1845-1915
Burr, William Wesley, 1880-1963
Canfield, James Hulme, 1847-1909
Coupland, George, 1857-1926
Custer County (Neb.) — History
Dairy farming
Frontier and pioneer life
Gapen family
IllinoLabarrere, Edna Perin, 1888-1931
McKelvie, Samuel Roy, 1881-1956
McLean, George Edwin, 1850-1938
Nebraska State Dairyman’s Association
Nebraska. University. Department of Agriculture
Perin, Amelia Sophie Roubleau, 1834-1909
Perin, S. W. (Senator Willis), 1859-1930
Perin family
Prentice, Marian Reeder
Pugsley, George William
Rebmann, Jerry
Reeder, Hazel Perin
Spanish-American War, 1898 — Personal narratives
United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 28th. Co. G
World War, 1914-1918 — Personal narratives

DAB/HEK/jlc 02-24-1966
AIP/pmc 08-19-1986
EL/ksa 09-1992; 01-1993
Rev. KFK 12-1998
Encoded TMM 03-07-2011

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