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James W. Markham Papers

Identifier: RG99.0114

Scope and Contents

The James W. Markham papers document his professional development and contributions to the changing field of journalism and international communication, as well as faculty and department matters in the University of Iowa School of Journalism during the 1960s and early 1970s. Professor Markham held a strong research and teaching interest in international mass communications studies, with a major monograph focusing on China and the Soviet Union. He advanced research and coursework in international communication and in international conflict resolution. He forged research into the changing opinions of foreign students as they studied in the United States and interacted with Americans. The University of Iowa Journalism department was the first to examine how foreign students’ opinions change over time during their studies in the United States.


  • 1898-1972


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This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

James Walter Markham was born August 12, 1910, in Holland, Texas. He received the Bachelor in Journalism and the M. A. in English and Political Science at the University of Texas, in 1932 and 1940, respectively. Markham took his Ph.D. in English, Political Science and Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1952, with a dissertation entitled, “A Biographical Study of O. K. Bovard and Pulitzer Journalism in St. Louis.”

During the Great Depression and the years of World War II (Markham was unable to serve in WW II due to asthma), Markham worked as instructor of Journalism at Austin High School in Austin, Texas, and as publicity director in the Texas public school system. He also worked variously as reporter, photographer, feature writer, and editorial director of three newspapers in Texas. From 1943-1946 he served as Executive Secretary and Public Information Director of the Texas Board of Control in Austin, Texas.

Markham began his career in academia when he became assistant professor of Journalism, 1946-1948, at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. While holding the position of assistant professor in Journalism at the University of Missouri from 1948 to 1952, in Columbia, Missouri, Markham earned his Ph.D. in Journalism, Political Science and English, thereafter being promoted to associate professor (1952-1953). From 1953 to 1962 Markham served on the journalism faculty at Penn State University, in State College, Pennsylvania, as associate professor (1953-1954) and professor (1954-1962). First teaching reporting, and law of the press, Markham inaugurated in 1955 the department’s M.A. program with a graduate course on research methods. Other grad courses he developed treated comparative journalism, and international communications. He headed the department’s graduate studies program from 1955 to 1960. Additionally, Markham served as member of the governing board of Penn State’s Social Science Research Council. In 1960 he was the recipient of the John Cotton Dana Award through the National Library Association, for directing library campaigns. Details about his prior professorships at Baylor University, the University of Missouri, and Pennsylvania State University may be found in the James W. Markham faculty vertical file and in Box 27.

Markham joined the faculty at the State University of Iowa School of Journalism in 1962 as professor and head of International Communication in the School of Journalism. One of his first tasks upon arriving at Iowa was to continue the research with foreign students begun in 1959 by his predecessor, Professor William Porter, establishing the first study of shifting foreign students’ opinions of the United States and Americans during their years on campus. He taught courses in comparative communications systems and in cross-cultural phases of international communications, while supervising graduate students in this emergent area of study. From 1965-1968 Dr. Markham served as a member of the advisory board of the UI Center for International Studies. He became associate head (1965-1967) and head (1967-1969) of the International Communications Division of the Association for Education in Journalism (AEJ). In 1966 he founded the International Communications Bulletin, which he edited until his death in 1972. In 1967 Markham became a founding committee member and then lecturer in the University of Iowa’s first Interdisciplinary Seminar in International Human Rights, continuing to be a lecturer in this seminar until 1972.

Markham authored Bovard of the Post-Dispatch (1954) and Voices of the Red Giants: Communications in the Russia and China (1967), each of which captured, in 1954 and 1968, the National Frank Luther Mott Research Award for distinguished scholarly research, while in 1966 he received the Iowa Author’s Award for “most significant book manuscript submitted” from the Iowa State University Press for his “Voices of the Red Giants” manuscript. The groundbreaking volume, International Communication as a Field of Study, edited by Markham, appeared in 1970. Numerous articles and papers are housed in series I, III, and IV, of this collection, and in Box 27 and Box 28. A complete bibliography may be found in his Faculty Vertical File.

Contributing as well to the growing scholarly field of international relations and conflict resolution, Markham participated in several international and national conferences. In 1967 he took part in a workshop in Sweden at the International Institute for Peace and Conflict Research, presenting his paper, “Communication Research in International Conflict and Cooperation: Toward a Pre-theory.” In 1968 he delivered a paper, “Investigating the Mass Communication Factor in International Behavior,” in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, at the International Symposium on the Mass Media and International Understanding held by the Social Science Section of the International Association of Mass Communication Research. In 1970 Markham served as a UNESCO consultant in Paris, where international representatives gathered to work toward the establishment of world documentation centers devoted to mass communication research. Markham proposed that one such center, as the only one for North America, be located at the University of Iowa. Attending a seminar at Wisconsin State University in Superior, Wisconsin (May 1970), Markham presented a paper on “The Causes of War and the Conditions for Peace.”

Markham is listed in Contemporary Authors, as well as International Who’s Who, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the Midwest and American Men of Science.

James W. Markham and Myrtle Sturges were married on March 14, 1941. They had two children, James David and Sara Hope.

James W. Markham died February 7, 1972, in Iowa City, Iowa, of cancer.


14.00 linear feet


Professor and Head, International Communication in the UI School of Journalism. Correspondence, research files, publications.

Physical Access Requirements

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Related Materials

James W. Markham Faculty Vertical File (RG 01.15.03)

School of Journalism Records (RG 06.0019)

International Communications Bulletin Records, within RG 06.0019

Malcolm S. MacLean Papers (RG 99.0113)

Papers of Leslie G. Moeller (RG 99.0115)

Processing Information

Denise Anderson, April-May 2016
Denise Anderson, April-May 2016
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