Two autograph collections already in Special Collections, those of Charles Alrich and Peggy LeBold, were combined into one collection in 2016. Each one was sparsely described so their catalog entries did not tell the full story of the riches inside. Hundreds of letters from well-known individuals, prized for the signatures at the bottom, have been collected and preserved.
Charles Aldrich was active in archives in Iowa, helping to establish the Iowa Historical Department. A newspaperman, he founded the Hamilton Freeman paper in Webster City, Iowa. He also had an interest in ornithology and was a founding member of the American Ornithological Union. He broke his collection down into the following seven categories: Authors, Artists and Editors; Iowa Autographs; Reformers, Philanthropists, Educators, Clergymen, Scholars; Rossetti Collection; Scientists; Soldiers, Sailors, and Explorers; and Statesmen and Lawyers. The Rossetti collection is the collection of William Rossetti, editor and critic and brother of Christina and Gabriel Dante, and includes signatures from many of the people in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
About Peggy LeBold less in known. She and her husband Foreman M. (Mike) lived in Chicago and were great collectors. Mike LeBold was president of the Morris Paper Mills. Their primary areas for collecting were presidents of the United States and Lincolniana. Before his death Mike distributed his collections among many institutions. This collection represents many disciplines and contains photographs of some of the signatories.
To the names of these collectors we should perhaps add another: Ada North. She was the librarian who acquired the Aldrich autograph collection. Each of these letters has a typewritten short paragraph about the letter writer. It is believed that North provided these descriptions.