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William Francis Riley Papers

Identifier: MsC0192

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Scope and Contents

The papers of William F. Riley date from 1932 to 1957 and measure six linear feet. The collection is arranged by item numbers in twelve boxes with an alphabetical index of names, organizations, and institutions. Composed primarily of correspondence, letters are found throughout the collection. Some of the correspondents include Jay N. Darling, Charles A. Dewey, Harold J. Gallagher, Guy M. Gillette, Henry N. Graven, Virgil M. Hancher, Clyde L. Herring, Bourke B. Hickenlooper, Mason Ladd, Karl M. LeCompte, Louis Murphy, Ray Murphy, Seth Thomas, Henry A. Wallace, and W.O. Weaver.

Judge Riley's legal career is reflected in the folders relating to the American Bar Association with special emphasis given to public relations and the legal profession. There are two boxes of programs, minutes, bulletins, correspondence, etc., relating specifically to the Iowa State Bar Association. Many of Riley's addresses -- Riley was a popular speaker -- are preserved, and they mirror his passions: the law, politics, and religion.

One entire box is devoted to Riley's long involvement with the University of Iowa. It includes items ranging from alumni articles of incorporation to School of Religion policies and the Catholic Student Center. Another area of interest for Judge Riley included the Roadside Settlement House Association of which he was a director. There are audits, minutes, reports, and correspondence for this organization which date from 1936 to 1949. His interest and enjoyment of hunting and fishing is seen in a folder on the Iowa State Fish and Game Commission.

The single most important value of this collection of papers is its large volume of autograph- and typed-letters-signed by United States Presidents, Vice Presidents, cabinet members, high government officials, military leaders, church leaders, civic leaders, university professors, United States Judges, Iowa Governors, Iowa U.S. Senators, and Iowa U.S. Representatives. See Index of Important Names in Series 2.


  • Creation: 1932-1957


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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


6.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Lawyer and U.S. District Judge from Iowa. Correspondence, speeches, legal materials, and subject files relating to the law, politics, and religion.

Method of Acquisition

The papers of U.S. District Judge William Francis Riley were obtained for the library as a result of the efforts, interests, and correspondence initiated by George M. Sheets in April 1958. The bulk of the papers was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Riley's widow, Catherine Mary Greene Riley, on April 17, 1959. A small addition was donated in 1978 by their son, Robert Riley.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)