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Eugene A. Gilmore Papers

Identifier: RG05.0001.010

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Twelfth president of the University of Iowa, 1934-1940.


  • Creation: 1934-1940


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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

Eugene Allen Gilmore served as the twelfth president of the University of Iowa, from 1934 to 1940.

He was born on the family farm near Brownsville, Nebraska, on July 4, 1871, and he attended high school at Aburn, Nebraska. In 1893, Gilmore earned his undergraduate degree at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and then attended Harvard Graduate School, followed by Harvard Law School, earning his LL. B. degree in 1899.

He met Blanche Bayse of Rockport, Indiana, while attending DePauw University. Blanche graduated in 1896 - three years behind Eugene - and they married December 27, 1899 following his graduation at Harvard. The couple first lived in Boston, where he practiced law immediately after graduation. According to Mrs. Gilmore, her husband did not enjoy working in the civil courts, and decided he would like to teach. He pursued a position at the University of Wisconsin, and the couple moved to Madison in the summer of 1902. The Gilmore family grew to include Eugene A. Gilmore, Jr., born in 1902, Elizabeth in 1905, and John Andrew in 1910. In 1909, the family moved into their new home, designed and built for them by "a young architect named Frank Lloyd Wright", according to Mrs. Gilmore's 1970 memoir titled Recollections. Their home was called the Airplane house, and was the first home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Madison.

Gilmore was Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School 1902-1922, and acting dean of the law school 1912-1913. Gilmore was an advisor to the Wisconsin state legislature regarding the drafting of laws for workmen's compensation, public utility, and railroad rate. The University of Wisconsin granted him a leave of absence in January 1922 to serve as Vice Governor-General in the Philippine Islands, as appointed by U.S. President Warren G. Harding.

Gilmore remained in the Philippines until March 1930, serving as acting Governor-General during 15 months of those eight years. The Filipino people were surprised to learn in early March 1930, that Governor Gilmore would not return to the Philippines after a U.S. visit, because he had accepted a position at the University of Iowa College of Law. He was admired and respected in the Philippines for the changes he brought about in public health and education.

At the University of Iowa he first served as Professor of Law, and on July 1, 1930 was named Dean of the College of Law. Professor Gilmore taught constitutional law at the University of Iowa, and was considered an authority in that field. He served as President of the University of Iowa from October 4, 1934 until July 1, 1940. He was succeeded in his Presidency by acting President Chester A. Phillips during the summer of 1940, with Virgil M. Hancher assuming the presidency in the fall of that year. During President Gilmore's nearly six years in office, four buildings were constructed on campus: the Law Center in 1935; the Art Building and University Theatre Building in 1936; and Hillcrest dormitory in 1938.

Following his retirement as UI President, Gilmore served as Law Dean at the University of Pittsburgh from 1940-1942, and then again taught at the UI College of Law until 1952. Eugene A. Gilmore died of a heart attack at his home in Iowa City on November 4, 1953 at the age of 82.

[D. Anderson; 03/2005].


55.50 Linear Feet

Method of Acquisition

These materials were transferred to the University Archives from the Office of the President; date undetermined.

Related Materials

Folder, "Gilmore, Eugene A.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Links to a portrait gallery, and a table of University of Iowa presidents, may be found at the University presidents page.

Gilmore, Blanche Basye. Recollections. Iowa City, 1970. 53 pp., illus. Archives.

Carrington, Paul D., and Erika King. "Law and the Wisconsin Idea." Journal of Legal Education 47 (September 1997): 297-340, notes. Law Library .

Menocal, Narciso G. "Taliesin, the Gilmore House, and the Flower in the Crannied Wall." Wright Studies 1 (1992): 66-97, illus., plans, notes. Art Library.

Collection processed by Xuefan Sun, July 1996.
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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