Alvin Casey Beal was a professor of Agriculture at Cornell University and a noted expert on horticulture. Born in Mt. Vernon, Ill., in 1897, Beal earned his master's and doctoral degrees at Cornell. In 1899, he married Ervilla B. Lefever, a school teacher from Milmine, Ill. The Beals had one child, Elizabeth Beal, a librarian, who also graduated from Cornell and received advanced degrees at Columbia University and Iowa State College.
The Beal-Casey papers contain diaries of Elizabeth and Ervilla Beal, correspondence and notes on the genealogies of the Beal and Casey families, and other family documents. The collection also includes a Civil War certification of citizenship, various legal documents, and several diplomas. One notable item is a letter of reprimand from the Piatt County School Board to Ervilla Lefever for neglecting attendance at summer institutes.
Elizabeth Beal owned the items in the collection until her death in 1973. The papers passed through the Lefever family to Ann L. Skagenberg of Monticello, Ill., Ervilla Beals' great-grandniece. Mrs. Skagenberg donated the papers to the Library in 1989 and 1990.