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Palmer/Calkins/Corbin Papers

Identifier: MsC0528

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Scope and Contents

Photocopies. Letters of the Palmer family from 1859 -- 1897; a genealogy of the Palmer family and one for John Palmer; material on the 28th Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry; materials on the 13th Iowa Infantry; A History of the Palmer Family; information on Asa Starkweather Calkin, with selections from the diary of Angelina Calkin Farley; information on Captain John Calkin and Charles McNeil Calkin; a videocassette of E. Palmer Corbin, dealing with the Army Specialized Training Program, and showing scenes of the University of Iowa campus in the years between 1944 and 1947.


  • Creation: 1859-2000
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1864-1865


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

The Palmer/Calkins/Corbin papers cover approximately one hundred years and provide insight into aspects of three important movements in American history -- the Civil War, the Mormon trek west, and World War II.

The children of John E. Palmer IV were born in Ohio. Some of them moved to Iowa, some stayed in Ohio, and one brother, William, moved to Charleston, South Carolina, and married a southern woman. This family kept up a lively correspondence, but the letters of William to his brother, Thomas Sharp Palmer, in Vinton, Iowa, are of particular interest, for they show the deterioration in the relationship between the brothers as the Civil War approached. William keeps slaves and defends the south against the apparent verbal attacks of Thomas in his letters. Their brothers, John Egerton Palmer and Joseph Ward Palmer, enlisted in the Union Army. William was killed in Charleston on September 11, 1862. John was killed in the Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864. Joseph served in the war as one of General Kilpatrick's Raiders, and saw very hard service all during the war, which he apparently came through without a scratch.

Captain John Calkins (sometimes this appears as Calkin) was born in Dutchess County, New York in 1785. In 1837, he moved his family to Lower Sandusky (later Fremont) Ohio. Around 1848, he moved to Johnson County, Iowa, near Iowa City. It was here that the Palmer and Calkins families were united, when Captain John's daughter Harriet Calkins Catlett became the second wife of John Egerton Palmer V. Harriet's brother, Asa, and her sister, Angelina (sometimes written Angeline) converted to the Mormon faith during their time in Iowa City, and joined the trek west to Salt Lake City. Angelina kept a diary, portions of which reside in this collection.

E. Palmer Corbin is John Egerton Palmer's great grandson. He served in World War II, and has presented the collection with a videotape, apparently made for a reunion in 2000. Included in the video are portraits of his company, and moving pictures of his group taking advantage of the Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Iowa campus from 1944 -- 1947.


0.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letters, diaries, genealogies, papers, and videocassette dealing with the Civil War, the Mormon move west, and World War II.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 2000 by E. P. Corbin.

Jacque Roethler, August 2001
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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)