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Mott, Frank Luther



  • Existence: 1876-1958


Frank Luther Mott was a writer who seemed to enjoy writing intimately about his own life and experiences. Not only does Time Enough, a collection of autobiographical essays, recall most of the significant points in his life, but the manuscripts in the University of Iowa Library's Iowa Authors Collection reveal an abundance of personal notes and anecdotes. One typescript begins I come of Quaker parentage, and was more or less brought up in a country print shop...I had thought when I went to Chicago that I would study law, but my way back and forth from my home to the campus carried me by the University of Chicago Press Building, and the odor of fresh printer's ink from their pressroom made me so homesick for the print shop that I gave up my thoughts of a career in the law to take over with my father the management of a community weekly at Marengo, Iowa. Little else need be added to this significantly romantic beginning of a journalist and writer except a few dates and facts: Mott's Quaker parents were Mary E. (Tipton) and David Charles Mott, who published the weekly What Cheer, Iowa Patriot and owned a print shop near that little town in Keokuk County, where the writer was born April 4, 1886. When the elder Mott became editor of the Tipton Advertiser, young Frank, at age 10, began his career as a practical printer by setting type for his father. In 1902 Mr. Mott edited the Audubon Republican and the son worked for his father until he was graduated from high school. He attended for the next three years Simpson College, a denominational institution at Indianola, and received his Ph. B. in 1907 from the University of Chicago (not in law). He worked his way through college as a reporter for his father on the El Reno, Oklahoma, Daily American and as co-editor of the Marengo, Iowa Republican. By 1914 he had become editor and publisher by himself of the Grand Junction Globe. In 1917 he returned to school at Columbia University, receiving an M.A. in 1919 and teaching at the Marquand School for Boys in Brooklyn while there. He was a professor of English at the University of Iowa 1921 -- 1925, associate professor until 1927. In 1925 he became joint editor with John T. Frederick of The Midland. In that year he was named professor of journalism and director of the school of journalism as well as president of the board of directors of student publications, an office which he held until 1942. He continued to work on his doctorate degree and was awarded the Ph. D. in 1928. In 1939 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in American history for volumes II and III of his magnum opus, History of American Magazines. After more than twenty years at the University of Iowa, Dr. Mott in 1942 was appointed Dean of the journalism school at the University of Missouri, a post he held for the next nine years. During that period, he was granted a leave to serve on government journalism mission in France, 1945 -- 1946, was adviser to General McArthur's staff and newspaper leaders in Japan, 1947, and was a guest professor at Stanford during the summer of 1951. After his retirement, he continued at Missouri as professor of journalism until 1956, then became dean emeritus and professor emeritus on limited service. At the time of his death at age 78 (in Columbia, Missouri, October 23, 1954), he was on leave of absence with a fellowship by the American Council of Learned societies to enable his to complete the fifth volume of his history magazines.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Frank Luther Mott Papers

Identifier: MsC0664

Journalism professor and dean. Mott is best remembered for his writing on the history of American newspapers. He also wrote numerous stories, plays and novels, and drafts of which are preserved in this collection.

Dates: 1918 - 1963