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Franklin D. Keim, Agronomy Papers

Identifier: RG-08-08-16

Scope and Contents

The Keim, Agronomy Papers consists 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. In 1945-1946, Keim observed post-war farmland in France, Germany, and the Netherlands and documented his travels in a scrapbook. Additional materials relate to Keim’s retirement, the dedication of Keim Hall, and materials on geneticist George Beadle collected by Keim’s son, Wayne.


  • 1920-2003


Biographical / Historical

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. 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 grew 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. This classes were meant to encourage soldiers to gain college credit and skills while they were waiting to return home after their 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.

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).


3 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Franklin D. Keim, Agronomy Papers
Katie Jones
(cc) 2019
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States