Iowa Writers' Workshop Records
Scope and Contents
The Records of the Iowa Writers' Workshop consist of thirteen series.
Series I: Student Coursework, Student Coursework, consists of photocopies of students' works arranged by semester and class section within each semester. It is the largest series in the collection, dating from Fall 1965 to the present. Note that a few of the semesters are filed out of chronological sequence.
Series II, Award Competitions, consists of writing entries from individuals vying for scholarships and other awards.
Series III, Students and Alumni, consists of files containing correspondence, applications, and other material, arranged alphabetically by name of individual within each accrual. Note that accrual dates cover academic years e.g., 1986-91 covers the 1986-87 to 1991-92 academic years. Restricted access.
Series IV, Faculty, is arranged alphabetically by name of individual. Restricted access
Series V, Director's Files, consists of correspondence and other material created and received by the Office of the Director. Restricted access.
Series VI, Administrative Files. Restricted access.
Series VII, Accepted Not Coming. Restricted access
Series VIII, Rejected Applicants' Evaluation Sheets. Restricted access
Series IX, Applicants' Letters of Recommendation. Restricted access.
Series X, Ephemera, includes posters and other printed matter, dating from 1982 to present.
Series XI, Stephen Wilbers Project, consists of correspondence and interview notes prepared by an alumnus of the Workshop who prepared a history of the program in 1980.
Series XII, Jean Wylder Project, consists of survey responses obtained from numerous alumni during the early 1970's as part of a history project. The responses are arranged by era of attendance/graduation.
Series XIII, Newsletters, consists of newsletters released once or twice yearly since 1970 chronicling the publishing activity of Workshop alumni and students, as well as Workshop programs and events.
- Iowa Writers' Workshop (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
The Iowa Writers' Workshop, long distinguished as America's premier program in creative writing, was founded in 1936. It was the nation's first creative writing degree program, a result of the University of Iowa's pioneering decision in 1922 to accept creative work as a means to fulfill graduate degree requirements. The following is excerpted from the Workshop's Web site (http://www.uiowa.edu/~iww/about.htm):
Verse-Making, the first creative writing class at Iowa, was offered in the spring semester of 1897. In 1922, Carl Seashore, dean of the Graduate College, introduced a new model for the academic study of the arts when he announced that the University of Iowa would accept creative work as theses for advanced degrees. The School of Letters began to offer regular courses in writing in which selected students were tutored by resident and visiting writers. The Workshop as an entity began in 1936, with the gathering together of poets and fiction writers under the direction of Wilbur Schramm. From the outset the program enjoyed a series of distinguished visitors, among them Robert Frost and Robert Penn Warren, who would lecture and stay for several weeks to discuss students' work. John Berryman, Robert Lowell, and others came to teach for a full year.
One of the first students to receive an M.A. in creative writing was Paul Engle. He offered as his dissertation a collection of poems, Worn Earth, which won him the Yale Younger Poets prize. Paul Engle assumed the directorship of the Workshop in 1941 and held it for 25 years, a period which saw it flourish and become a significant force in American letters. During World War II enrollment was no more than a dozen students, but after the war it grew, attaining in a few years a strength of over a hundred students, and dividing into the fiction and poetry sections which exist today.
736.00 linear feet
Language of Materials
Method of Acquisition
- Conroy, Frank, 1936-2005
- Leggett, John, 1917-
- Starbuck, George, 1931-
- Application forms
- Archives (groupings)
- Creative writing (Higher education)
- Engle, Paul, 1908-1991
- Iowa City (Iowa)
- Letters of recommendation
- Manuscripts for publication
- University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Writers' workshops
- David McCartney
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note