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When Bertha M. Horack Shambaugh (1871-1953) died at age 82, the Amana church elders and Amana Society directors in a rare joint statement said: "Mrs. Shambaugh's writings about Amana, its history and its people and its Faith, prove and substantiate her love and her deep concern and interest...The sincerity of her thoughts and words...often approach a poetical charm and quality which has never been equaled or duplicated in any other article or manuscript about Amana.
Bertha Horack was in her teens when her family vacationed for a week at an Amana hotel. This and other family outings to the Amanas began her lifelong friendship with the Amana people.
In 1897 she married Benjamin F. Shambaugh, professor of political science and director of the State Historical Society of Iowa. Mrs. Shambaugh, talented in drawing and painting, soon was making maps and charts, editing, reading proofs and preparing indexes for publications of the Historical Society. Entertaining was the favorite Shambaugh pastime. Hamlin Garland, Thornton Wilder and Jane Addams were among their dinner guests.
Mrs. Shambaugh's father, an attorney, was born in Czechoslovakia. Of her mother, Katherine Horack, Mrs. Shambaugh said: "Anything that I have done in the past and all I hope to do in the future is due to her inspiring guidance."
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