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John N. Calhoun Papers

Identifier: MsC0274

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Scope and Contents

The papers of John N. Calhoun are comprised of fifteen boxes of manuscripts measuring eight linear feet and dating from 1923 to 1954. The collection is divided into five series: 1) General subject files; 2) Campaign for U.S. Congress, 1936; 3) Legal materials; 4) World War II service; and 5) Post World War II political career. The first series deals with his education, early professional life, and legislative career. The subject files primarily relate to legislative issues such as road legislation, oleo margarine tax, or tuberculin testing. Extensive correspondence files include letters from William S. Beardsley, Don L. Berry, Robert D. Blue, Lester J. Dickinson, Edward C. Etcher, Fred C. Gilchrist, Clyde L. Herring, Bourke B. Hickenlooper, Nelson G. Kraschel, J. C. Lewis, Hugh W. Lundy, Paul H. McCoid, Thomas E. Martin, Richard L. Murphy, Addison M. Parker, Wiley Rutledge, Harrison E. Spangler, Lloyd Thurston, Dan W. Turner, George A. Wilson.

The next grouping relates to his campaign for a US Senate seat in 1936. His nomination papers, campaign expenses, schedules, advertising, and party correspondence are some of the files in this section. Court cases and legal briefs make up the legal materials division. His World War II service is documented with photos, family correspondence, and military records. The final series titled Post World War II political career consists of material from his 1948 campaign for the US Senate and other political campaigns in which he was involved.


  • Creation: 1923-1954
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1933-1936


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

John Nelson Calhoun was born in Birmingham, Iowa, on December 2, 1903. He received his B. A. in English from Parsons College of Fairfield, Iowa, in 1926. Three years later he completed his law degree at the University of Iowa and was admitted to the bar. That same year, he established a law practice in Keosauqua, Iowa.

An active Republican, Calhoun served as a senator in the Iowa state legislature from 1933 to 1937. In 1936, he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Congress. Upon leaving the legislature, Calhoun moved to Burlington where he began a new law firm while continuing his affiliation in Keosauqua.

John Calhoun was a member of the National Guard. During World War II, he was released for active service in the army. Stationed in the Middle East as part of the Judge Advocate General's Office for most of the war, he held the rank of lieutenant colonel when discharged in 1946.

Following his tour of duty, Calhoun returned to Burlington and his legal practice. In 1948, he again mounted a campaign for the Senate; however, he failed to secure his party's nomination. Active in both professional and civic affairs, Calhoun belonged to the Rotary, American Legion, and various other service organizations. John N. Calhoun died in 1972.


8.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Lawyer in Burlington, Iowa and Iowa state senator. Correspondence and subject files relating to his legal and political careers and his military service in World War II.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Mrs. John N. Calhoun in 1972.

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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)