Skip to main content

Ted Rehder Papers

Identifier: RG99.0014

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

These papers consist of the professional correspondence, reports, and articles of Ted M. Rehder, director of Dormitories and Dining Services. They reflect the vast changes that took place within that department between 1929 and 1976, including experiences during times of war and the Great Depression.

The papers also include the Rehder family genealogy and business records. The correspondence is informative about life in Lincoln, Iowa, (formerly Berlin) during the early twentieth century, and includes postcards from relatives living in Germany around the time of World War I. The box list of this guide refers to Ted as TMR in order to distinguish him from his father, Theodore P. Rehder (TPR).

Correspondence of Ted's wife, Marguerite ("Marge") Rehder, to her parents is informative of her SUI student experiences from 1926 to 1929. Marge's mother was Alyce J. (Haley) McConkie and her father was Ernest Lyndon McConkie, of Mechanicsville, Iowa. In addition, Marge's correspondence while she taught freshman English and Dramatics in Manchester, Iowa, from 1929 to 1930, reveals her experiences in that position.

This collection is enriched further by Ted and Marge's correspondence to one another during the time they were SUI students, primarily the late 1920s. Ted's correspondence also describes his job searches during the late-1920s, which included ranch work in Colorado, selling Procter and Gamble soap in St. Louis, Missouri, and working at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa.

Photographs include family members, friends, and travel in Colorado, as well as Ted's retirement party in 1976. Two education series include SUI ephemera collected by Ted and Marge from the mid-1920s through the mid-1930. Minutes, reports, and correspondence records are included for organizations in which Ted or Marge were members, such as Rotary Club and the YMCA and PEO. The Web site for the Philanthropic and Educational Organization for women (PEO International) states the organization "was founded January 21, 1869, by seven students at Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. It began as a small campus friendship society and grew to include women off campus. The organization promotes educational opportunities for women. Marge's mother, Alyce J. (Haley) McConkie, was a charter member of the JI Chapter of the PEO.

Pauline Louise ("Polly") Rehder, sister of Theodore M. Rehder, was an SUI student and member of the Home Economics Club from 1932 to 1933. She received the B.S. degree in Home Economics in February 1936. Polly may be the source of the 1942 Home Economics cooking pamphlet housed in this collection. She later taught ninth grade students in Kansas City, Kansas, and also taught students in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The correspondence of the Rehder's eldest son, Robert M. Rehder, includes his years of living in Switzerland and in Tehran, Iran.


  • Creation: 1855-1991


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

Theodore Marten Rehder was born January 27, 1908, in Lincoln, Iowa. His parents were Theodore Peter Rehder (1873-1956) and Martha May (Martens) Rehder (1876-1946). In 1870, the Rehder family became established in Tama County, Iowa, in the small town of Berlin, which boasted a large German-immigrant population. Theodore P. Rehder was a cashier at the German Savings Bank (later named Lincoln Savings Bank) when it opened on September 4, 1902 and his father served on the first board of directors. T. P. Rehder also worked in real estate, farm loans, and insurance, as well as service to the town's administration. Berlin was renamed Lincoln after the outbreak of World War I. Theodore M. Rehder graduated from West Waterloo High School in 1926, where he served as president of Dramatic Club. As a senior, he helped his school place first in the Northeastern Iowa Declamatory (rhetoric) contest, with his contribution of "A Simple Case of the Grip," in the humor category.

For several years during the mid-1920s, Rehder sought summer work in Colorado. Like his father, Rehder enjoyed camping and fishing in the American Southwest. His interest was sufficient while attending West Waterloo High School that he collected information on forestry course requirements at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, in Ames, Iowa.

Rehder moved to Iowa City to attend the State University of Iowa, and initially took a job at Smith's Cafe, located at 11 South Dubuque Street. In October 1926, Rehder worked part time in the Iowa Memorial Union Dining Services. In December 1927, Rehder worked as desk clerk in the Iowa Union for director Rufus H. Fitzgerald, who also asked him to create a tour of the University. Rehder wrote to his parents that this work for Fitzgerald was "the first time that I have gotten paid for just thinking and planning." During the summer in 1928, Rehder sold Procter & Gamble soap door-to-door in St. Louis, Missouri, while living at the YMCA.

On May 25, 1929, Rehder was named assistant manager of the Union Dining Services, working full time in that capacity. On August 29, 1929, Rehder was named manager of the new Student Employment Bureau in the Iowa Union, and on November first he was named manager of the Iowa Memorial Union Dining Services. Rehder lived in the Quadrangle Residence Hall during his junior year in 1929 and was named in The Quadrangler as one of three outstanding men for serving as president of Student Council and president on the YMCA advisory board, as well as proctor of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and as officer of the Union Board. His position as Union Board advisor continued for a number of years. In July 1933, in addition to managing the IMU Dining Services, he was named assistant director of the Iowa Memorial Union. During 1935, Rehder was advisor of the Homecoming Party, advisor to the Union Board, president of YMCA, president of Student Council, served on the Quadrangle Party Committee and council, and was a member of Chi Phi Pi honorary commerce society. Rehder was involved in so many activities and worked so many hours as a student, he was cautioned in 1929 by Robert E. Rienow, dean of men, to reduce his work and activities in favor of maintaining his grades. Rehder received a B.S. degree in Commerce, with major in business administration, in 1935.

In November 1936, an alcohol-free nightclub, the Silver Shadow, was established in the cafeteria in the lower level of the IMU, at the suggestion of Jess Gorkin, staff of the Daily Iowan student newspaper. On Friday and Saturday nights, entertainment by students in the form of bands, vocalists, dancers, and plays was arranged by Ted Rehder for wholesome student entertainment, while generating a profit of $3,000 per year from one dozen events. Rehder also operated a profitable catering service through Dining Services.

During World War II, Rehder was additionally responsible for feeding 2,300 cadets and officers in the U. S. Navy Pre-flight Training School. The IMU hosted dances as entertainment for the cadets. Rehder was named the first director of Dormitories and Dining Services on July 1, 1946.

During the Vietnam War, Rehder issued a statement urging dormitory residents not to join the student protests at the dormitories on May 12, 1971.

Among his public speaking engagements, Rehder presented at the Food Service Institute, held in Chicago in 1956. He published articles in school and cafeteria magazines, as well as the Journal of American Dietetics and in College and University Business; he served on the editorial board of the latter. He was active in the Association of Big Ten Dormitory and Dining Services Directors, and the National Restaurant Association of Colleges and Universities. Rehder organized the first committee for the National College and University Housing Association. The Iowa City Rotary Club named him a Paul Harris Fellow in June 1986 in appreciation of his support. He served as president of that organization from 1945 to 1946. Rehder was also a member of the Masonic Order. His hobbies relating to his position included collecting cook books and restaurant menus. Mr. and Mrs. Rehder enjoyed holding dinner parties for guests in their home at 1181 Hotz Avenue, as well as their membership in Bridge Club.

Rehder retired in 1976, after serving 47 years with the IMU Dining Services, under five University presidents. In recognition of his service, the students of the Associated Residence Halls dedicated the Theodore M. Rehder Lounge in Quadrangle Residence Hall on October 24, 1981.

Rehder married Alyce Marguerite ("Marge") McConkie, of Nevada, Iowa, on August 16, 1930. Marge's mother was Alyce J. (Haley) Rehder of Dunlap, Iowa. Marge's father, Ernest Lyndon McConkie, was a 1903 graduate of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. He sold insurance and real estate, as well as made loans to farmers. In later years, Alyce and Ernest operated the McConkie variety store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ted and Marge had two sons, Robert McConkie, or middle name "Martens," as appeared on his birth certificate, (1935-2009) and Richard Stuart (1939-2005). Robert and Richard attended University High School on the SUI campus. Marguerite Rehder resided in Currier Hall while she attended classes, and she graduated with distinction in June 1929 with a B. A. degree in Education. She also completed one academic year in the Graduate College during 1930 to 1931. She was president of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and served on the Gamma Phi Beta board during the 1930s. Marge was known as "Conkie" to her sorority sisters. She also served on the committee for the Junior Prom, Hesperia Literary Society, PEO, Apprentice Players, Debate Squad, and YMCA cabinet. In 1928 she was elected to serve on Mortar Board, as well as being named a student Representative of Men and Women of Iowa based on her demonstration of leadership. During 1960 to 1961, she served as president on the board of the Iowa City Public Library. Marge was born in May 1907 and died in November 1974. Theodore M. Rehder died February 24, 1991. Mr. and Mrs. Rehder were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City, Iowa.


37.00 Linear Feet


First director of Dormitories and Dining Services, with related records, as well as family history in the German town of Lincoln, Iowa. Correspondence, photographs, ephemera.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were donated to University Archives by Ted's son, Robert M. Rehder, in 1991.

Related Materials

Folder, "Rehder, Theodore Martin," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Folder, "Iowa Memorial Union," Buildings and Grounds Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.002)

Records of the Iowa Memorial Union (RG24.0004.001)

Papers of Rufus H. Fitzgerald (RG99.0315)

Records of University Housing (RG26.0004.001)

Baker, Tom. "More than a Place to Eat and Sleep: A History of Residence Halls at the University of Iowa." Undergraduate honors thesis, University of Iowa, 1982. 202 pp. Archives LD2569.8 .B34 1982.

Haselmayer, Louis A. The PEO Sisterhood at Iowa Wesleyan College. Mount Pleasant, Iowa: Iowa Wesleyan College, 1967. 23 pp.

Musselman, Gearhart. "A History of the Iowa Memorial Union." M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 1969. 223 pp.

Denise Anderson, October 2011
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242