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Martha Dunham

Martha Louise Dunham of Aurora, IL, graduated with a B.S. in History in 1941. She was born February 27, 1919 in Aurora, Illinois to Thomas and Rosetta (Murray) Dunham. She attended West Aurora High School and was a member of the National Honor Society. While at Wheaton, she was a member of the Gun Club, French Club, Tower Yearbook, Aelionian Literary Society and the History Club. She dormed at Hiatt Hall, off-campus housing now demolished. She married Richard Dean Timmons on October 19, 1946 in Aurora.  By 1972 her second husband, George Matyas died, leaving Martha to care for her two teenage children (Tom Matyas and Emily Matyas Klett). After George died of a heart attack she made the acquaintance, through her brother John, of a local farm manager, square dance caller and collector, Herb Schingoethe, who had also lost his first spouse. When Herb and Martha were married in 1975, they embarked together on a new phase of their lives, pooling their interests in travel and collecting to form an adventure that continued right up to the time of Martha's final illness in 2003-2004. In his years as a ranch manager in Colorado, Herb already had begun serious collecting of Native American art and artifacts, especially from the Southwest culture area. Martha caught the collecting bug in a very big way, developing a particular passion for silver and turquoise jewelry, fine Southwest pottery, Native American rugs, and contemporary Native American sculpture. All of these collecting interests are represented in the Schingoethe collection. She was a life-long Aurora resident and member of the new England Congregational Church in Aurora, where she was organist for many years. She worked for more than 60 years at Equipto in Aurora, a manufacturer of steel shelving, founded by her father in 1907. She worked as sales manager, corporate secretary, director and chairman of the board.  In 1989 the Schingoethes commissioned the building of Dunham Hall on the campus of Aurora University.  Named in honor of Martha's family, Dunham Hall provides the setting for the Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, which opened to the public in 1990, as well as for the University's Dunham School of Business. The Schingoethes donated their collection of over 6,000 items of Native American arts, artifacts, and related materials and, in addition, provide major support for the Center and its activities. The school awarded the couple honorary degrees in 1998 for their contributions. The Schingoethes were also the most famous collectors of every states obsolete notes. Their collection consisted of over 30,000 obsolete bank notes. Besides obsolete notes, they were avid collectors of college currency, depression scrip from 1933 and panic notes that were issued in the 1890s and early 1900s. In 1993, "College Currency-Money for Business Training" was released. The majority of notes in this wonderful reference are in the Schingoethe Collection, the largest Obsolete Paper Money collection ever to be offered at auction. She died on February 17, 2004 at age 84, and was survived by her husband (d. 3/18/2005), two children and five grandchildren.
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