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Edward Spannaus Papers

Identifier: RG02.0009.036

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Scope and Contents

Participant in the 1965 Mississippi Summer Project and local Iowa City civil rights protests as a student at the State University of Iowa. Includes SNCC and COFO records; interview transcript; clippings about SARE efforts; photographs; correspondence to his parents; project description; legal guide; questionnaire; newsletters; memoranda; and voter registration pamphlets.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1961 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

In 1961 Edward Spannaus was an SUI college student from Elmhurst, Illinois, who became interested in the Freedom Rides. In 1963 he joined a local civil rights group following the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four girls. Spannaus was also involved in a civil rights protest in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 12, 1965. Spannaus was a participant in the Mississippi Summer Project in 1965. This project was organized in August 1962 by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to help recruit volunteers to register Black voters in segregated Mississippi. During spring 1964, Mr. Spannaus accompanied a group of students and books to Greenwood, Mississippi, to establish a library for the Black community, and transformed the Student Association for Racial Equality (SARE) group into a Friends of SNCC organization. This collection describes the pervasive fear he witnessed among the Black residents of Mississippi, as well as the violence visited upon civil rights volunteers. Spannaus has preserved materials that were supplied to project workers, such as a Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) legal guide, voting information pamphlets, project description and memoranda. Other documentation of his experience includes photographs and his letters to his parents. Spannaus was later interviewed about these events, and a transcript of the interview is provided. Also included is an account by Richard A. Jewett, a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) worker, of his beating on March 30, 1964.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Edward Spannaus donated the collection in 2014.

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