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Carolyn Martin Keith Letters

Identifier: LU-MS-232
This collection contains letters and postcards from Carolyn Martin Keith.They are written to her Mother, Father, siblings, and grandparents during her time in Boennigheim, Germany, as a part of the first study abroad program operated by Lawrence University. The collection also contains newspaper clippings and a brochure referencing the Lawrence study abroad program and its purpose. The material spans from July to December 1967. The letters describe, with character and sometimes humor, Carolyn and her friends’ experiences in Boennigheim and the surrounding area. Often times this includes descriptions of the locations, such as shops or landscapes. The most common topics are finances, classes, camera and film usage, pop culture, and day to day travels. Usually Carolyn is traveling or spending time with her friend Candy. For classes, Carolyn took German, History, Religion, and Freshman Studies while in Germany. For a brief time Carolyn’s father is away from home, so Carolyn writes to her father separately from her mother and siblings. Notably, the letters also mention the views of Lawrentians and Germans concerning the Vietnam War, the effects of WWII in Germany, and the “race riots” in America. There is also a section where Carolyn describes her experience crossing the border between East and West Berlin, and the Soviet Union control evident in East Berlin.


  • 1967


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Letters 16 and 18-23 are restricted through 01/01/2052 per request of the donor.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


8 folders


Letters and postcards written by Carolyn Martin Keith while studying in Boennigheim, Germany to USA. The collection also includes newspaper clippings about the Boennigheim program.

Biographical and Historical Information

Carolyn Martin Keith, Lawrence University class of 1970, participated in the first off-campus study program run by the university, in Boennigheim, Germany during the 1967. The following is a statement from Carolyn Martin Keith regarding her letters and their contents:

"I enrolled at the German Study Center as a sophomore. Although the brochure indicates that the program was theoretically designed for sophomores, the majority of our group were juniors, with some sophomores and even a few seniors. My class (’70) had six chemistry majors, and four of us were in the inaugural Boennigheim group! Three of us, Candy Ellis, Carolyn Burgener (also known as Carolyn Sue or C Sue), and I roomed together in the schloss. Larry Panek of course did not room with us.

Candy and I would be returning to Appleton for winter term 1968, to adjacent rooms 211 and 212 on second floor Ormsby. My roommate Liz Mahon, who is referred to in the letters, and Candy’s roommate Sally Stulken had each managed to secure fall term roommates who would be off campus the rest of the school year. Liz was also a sorority sister of mine, Alpha Delta Pi.
I did not know Gerry Keith before heading off to Boennigheim, although we later learned that we had been in the same Lawrence phys ed ski class the previous winter term. The first time I recall having a conversation with him was on the day after returning from the three-week September break. I was on a walk to Tripsdrill; I came upon Gerry adjusting something on his bicycle at the side of the road. On the night of the Halloween party, I told my roommates that I would marry him. By the end of the Berlin trip (first week of November), we were a couple. I sat with Candy on the bus to Berlin; I sat with Gerry on the return trip. It was sometime later that I learned his name is Gerry, not Gary, though that is how it’s pronounced. Gerry is class of ’69. We married on my graduation day in 1970.
I am astounded now at the volume of letters and postcards I mailed during the six months. My parents and my mother’s parents saved everything. I wish I could tell them how much it means to me now that they did. They were not even the only people with whom I corresponded. We decided to number the letters because they did not always arrive in the order mailed. Most of them are in their original envelopes, but I can see from postmarks that a few are not in their correct envelopes. However, my parents numbered the envelopes, and the letter in each envelope corresponds to the number on said envelope. These letters and postcards represent my side of the only communication I had with my family for six months. International phone calls were challenging to arrange and very expensive, and thus reserved for only the direst of emergencies. Most Boennigheimers made no phone calls home at all. Heck, I didn’t even call home from Appleton very often!
I am the eldest of my parents’ three offspring. My brother Keith, aka “Sam,” was starting his senior year of high school. My sister Joanne, aka “Punky,” was a high school sophomore.
In 1967 our father George Martin was the manager of the American Can pulp and paper mill in Rothschild. He and my mother Virginia West Martin met at the Institute of Paper Chemistry, formerly in Appleton and formerly affiliated with Lawrence. Mom had taken a job there as a lab tech upon graduating in 1943 from Ohio Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dad’s PhD studies were interrupted in 1943 by WWII service in the Navy; he returned after the war, married Mom, finished his degree, and was off on a nomadic career in the paper industry. I was born six months after they left the Institute. By the time I arrived in Appleton as a Lawrence freshman, we had lived in California, Ohio, and Mosinee, Neenah, Ashland, and Rothschild Wisconsin. There are separate letters and postcards to my father because he was attending Columbia University Business School’s Executive Education program at Arden House, NY, during part of the time I was in Boennigheim. What a stroke of luck! Thus twice the number of postcards from our three-week break between terms survived.
I don’t know who contributed the Appleton Post-Crescent clippings. I found them folded up inside the program brochure. American Can’s headquarters were in Neenah, and Dad had connections there who might have saved them for him.
There are mentions of folks with whom I attended the National Science Foundations’s Secondary Science Training Program in chemistry at Northern Illinois University the summer of 1965. That’s what SSTP-65 stands for. I still have one dear friend from that program. My brother attended SSTP at St Olaf the summer of 1967."


Letters are divided by recipient and arranged chronologically with corresponding envelopes. Letters and envelopes were numbered by the donor's parents upon receipt, though letters are arranged chronologically by their date of authorship.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Carolyn Martin Keith, 2021-07-14.

Processing Information

Processed by Lina Rosenberg Foley, 2022.
Carolyn Martin Keith Letters Finding Aid
Lina Rosenberg Foley, with scope note written by Miranda Lile
2022 February 03
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753