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Max Rafferty Papers

Identifier: MsC0214

  • Staff Only
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Scope and Contents

The collection is composed primarily of Rafferty's speeches, copies of the Dr. Max Rafferty Column, and other articles that he authored. Nearly all of the speeches, columns, and articles relate to education or patriotism. Most folders of columns also contain correspondence. There is also some material relating to his campaign for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California, including letters, clippings, expenditures, brochures, and campaign speeches. Finally, there are copies of filmstrips, videotapes, and audio tape recordings of Rafferty.


  • Creation: 1933-1982
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960-1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Maxwell Lewis Rafferty was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 7, 1917. He spent most of his childhood in Sioux City, Iowa, before his family moved to California in 1931. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1933. Rafferty earned his B.A. (1938), M.A. (1949), and Ph.D. (1955) from the University of California Los Angeles. Rafferty was a career educator. His first job was as a teacher in the Trona Unified School District in California; he then went on to jobs as vice-principal, principal, and school superintendent in various California schools. In 1963 he was elected to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California. He held this office for two terms, from 1963 to 1971, at which time he became the Dean of Education at Troy State University. His educational philosophy was one of back to basics, and he bragged that he "killed progressive education in California."

Rafferty was the author of a number of books on educational philosophy, including What They Are Doing to Your Children and Classroom Countdown. His newspaper column, Dr. Max Rafferty Column, was syndicated nationally. Max Rafferty was the Republican candidate for Senate in 1968, but was defeated by incumbent state controller Alan Cranston. Rafferty died in a drowning accident in 1982 at the age of sixty-five.


12.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Educator, author, and columnist. Speeches, newspaper columns, and articles about education. Also includes sound recordings, video tapes, and filmstrips.

Physical Location

AV materials moved to IRA Cool Storage

Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Max Rafferty from 1971 to 1982.

Processing Information

Addenda: 1973, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982

Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)