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Charles A. Schaeffer Papers

Identifier: RG05.0001.004

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Seventh president of the University of Iowa, 1887-1898.


  • Creation: 1887-1898


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 or Historical Information

Charles Ashmead Schaeffer served as the seventh president of the State University of Iowa, from 1887 to 1898.

The Hon. William R. Boyd, a former chairman of the Iowa State Board of Education, once said Schaeffer "was the [University of Iowa's] first president who sensed what a modern university would be." Indeed, in his June 22, 1887, inaugural address, "The Development of the University," Schaeffer called for a larger library, more classrooms, and, above all, a commitment of financial support from Iowans. The result was a continuing tax to support the university so that the school would no longer depend solely on biennial appropriations.

Schaeffer was only 17 years old when he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1861. Following service in the Union Army, he attended the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University and in 1869 earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Goettingen. From then until 1887, he was a member of the faculty at Cornell University.

The Pentacrest building that bears his name opened in 1902, five years after Schaeffer turned the first sod on the site. It was initially known as the Hall of Liberal Arts; it was renamed in Schaeffer's honor in 1934.

Schaeffer was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on August 14, 1843. In 1871, he married Evelyn Schuyler of Ithaca, New York, and they had four children. Schaeffer died on September 23, 1898, at age 55.


3.00 Linear Feet

Method of Acquisition

These papers were transferred to the University Archives from the Office of the President; date unknown.

Related Materials

Catalogs of the University, 1887-1898 (RG01.0008.001)

Records of the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents, 1847-1909 (RG04.0001.001)

Manuscript File Collection (RG01.0001.001)

David McCartney, December 2006
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242