James S. Schramm Papers
Scope and Contents
The papers of James S. Schramm are organized into seven series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Personal Papers; 3) Speeches; 4) Politics; 5) Organizations; 6) Trade; and 7) Art. Correspondence files are arranged alphabetically; however, additional letters are scattered throughout the collection. Some correspondents include Robert K. Goodwin, Edith Gregor Halpert, Dwight Kirsch, David Kruidemer, Jr., George Nagle, and Sinclair Weeks. The personal papers series primarily relates to Schramm's military service. The Speeches series is not distinct, and like the correspondence series, additional speeches are found elsewhere in the papers.
The Politics Series includes political correspondence and speeches. There are also more than six boxes of materials relating to Republican politics. More specifically, there are folders on topics ranging from Lincoln Day Dinners to Central Committee finances and on people such as Gerald Bogan, Thomas C. Murphy, King R. Palmer, and Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Organizations series documents Schramm's association with such divergent groups as the Iowa Economic Studies Council and Amherst College to the Governor's Commission on Human Rights and the Museum of Contemporary Art. There are also four boxes of material relating to U.S. trade missions and the Committee for a National Trade Policy. Included here are speeches, correspondence, policy manuals, and other materials.
- Schramm, James S. (Person)
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 / Historical
James Siegmund Schramm was born in Burlington, Iowa, on February 4, 1904. He attended public schools in Burlington before traveling east to study at Amherst College. In 1924, he returned home and joined the J. S. Schramm Company, which his grandfather had established in 1845. With his brother Frank, James S. Schramm managed the family's retail business, Schramm's Department Store, from 1934 until retiring in 1962. It is believed that this store had the longest continuous operating record under one family of any store west of New England. It was still family owned when it closed in 1996.
Schramm's two major activities, outside of the business, were Republican politics and art collecting. Beginning on the local level as a precinct chairman, Schramm quickly became a force within Iowa's Republican Party. In 1950, he was appointed Iowa's GOP Finance Chairman. This position led to the chairmanship of the State Central Committee. He also served as a delegate to National Conventions.
James Schramm and his wife, Dorothy, were active in the arts. As collectors, they were interested in American, European, and Japanese painting and sculpture and African sculpture. They helped establish the Iowa Arts and the Burlington Area Art Councils. James Schramm was president of the American Federation of Arts in the 1950s and of the Des Moines Art Center in 1963. He was also a trustee of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.
Other activities in which James Schramm participated included such civic groups as the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, the school board, and the Community Chest. He also served nationally on trade missions to France and Japan. James S. Schramm died in 1980 at the age of seventy-six.
19.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Business executive, Republican Party official, and art collector. Correspondence, speeches, subject files, etc. combine to document Schramm's business and political affairs, as well as his activities in the arts.
Method of Acquisition
James S. Schramm donated his papers to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1972.
- American Federation of Arts
- Amherst College
- Burlington (Iowa)
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Collectors and collecting
- Committee for a National Trade Policy (U.S.)
- Des Moines Art Center
- Iowa State Arts Council
- Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.)
- National Planning Association
- National Retail Merchants Association
- Republican Party (Iowa)
- Republican Party (Iowa). Central Committee
- Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
- Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note