Geraldine A. Rasmussen

Born March 26, 1895 – Died August 11, 1987

Geraldine was born in Adair, Iowa, March 26, 1895, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Archer. She graduated from Adair High School in 1912, as valedictorian of her class and was awarded a scholarship at Drake University.  In 1912, she moved to Austin with her parents and completed her work in business education at the University of Southern Minnesota in Austin. On December 26, 1917, she married Harry R. Rasmussen and they immediately moved to Washington, D.C.

While in Washington, Mrs. Rasmussen worked in the Publications Division of the American Red Cross. After the war, she was employed by the National City Bank of New York.

While on vacation in Austin, in 1919, Geraldine and her husband purchased the Mower County Transcript-Republican, a weekly newspaper. They soon turned that publication into a semi-weekly and were preparing to turn it into a tri-weekly when they were approached to join forces with the Daily Herald. In 1920, they sold the Mower County Transcript-Republican and became partners with Fred C. Ulmer and John Skinner at the Daily Herald, with Geraldine soon becoming the business manager for the newspaper.

In 1928, Mrs. Rasmussen purchased the Blooming Prairie Times and published the newspaper herself for one year before leasing it for a year and eventually selling it to Walter Mickelson. While in Blooming Prairie, she was instrumental in getting a municipal utility plant for that area.

In 1931, the Rasmussens became the sole owners of the Herald and operated the newspaper until 1962 when they sold the paper to Thomson Newspapers Inc.

Mrs. Rasmussen was always interested and active in civic affairs. She was a founding member of the Mower County Historical Society, and in 1953, she purchased the old Christ Episcopal Church building and had it moved to the fairgrounds as an art exhibit venue. She was the first and only woman to serve on the board of directors for the Austin Chamber of Commerce. She was also the only woman member of the executive committee of the Austin Hotel-Motel Corporation, which raised over $700,000 to build the hotel, which is now part of The Cedars. She actively contributed to the city of Austin on many special projects including work on the former municipal swimming pool, the new courthouse, the expansion of the I-90 corridor, the municipal building, and city parking lots.

Awards and Honors for Mrs. Rasmussen include the following:

  • First woman president of the Northwest Daily Press Association and honorary life member
  • One of the organizers of the Minnesota Press Women, also serving as its president and named Woman of Achievement
  • Member of the American Newspapers Publishers Association, serving as treasurer for two years
  • Member and officer in Minnesota Pen Women
  • The seventh person in the newspaper world to receive the University of Minnesota medal for distinguished service in journalism,
  • Austin’s Outstanding Citizen by the Jaycees
  • Woman of the Year by Zonta International of Austin

Geraldine A. Rasmussen was a member of the Austin YMCA, Business and Professional Women’s Club, Art and Travel Club, Ladies Floral Club, St. Olaf Hospital Auxiliary, and the League of Women Voters.

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