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James S. Flansburg Papers

Identifier: MsC0496

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Scope and Contents

The James S. Flansburg Papers, fourteen linear feet, span the years from 1962 to 1998 and cover almost his entire career at The Des Moines Register, except for his early years in the late 1950s. The papers include mostly correspondence, but also appointment books, subject files, and unsigned editorials written while editor of the editorial pages, and clippings. The correspondence consists almost entirely of letters to Flansburg or to the Register, but there are sometimes carbon copies of outgoing letters. The papers reflect Flansburg's professional career as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Register. Among the correspondents are many political figures and writers including Gerald Bogan, Willard L. Boyd, David W. Belin, Randall H. Balmer, Dan Bied, Gladys Black, Robert Buckmaster, John C. Culver, Lucas J. DeKoster, Jeannette H. Eyerly, David M. Elderkin, Paul Engle, Michael G. Gartner, David R. Gergen, Carl Hamilton, John M. Henry, Tom Harkin, Robert S. Jaggard, Gary H. Koerselman, Hanford MacNider, Betty McCollister, Donald E. Mitchell, Arthur Neu, Frank Nye, Herb Plambeck, Robert D. Ray, David Riesman, Robert S. Rigler, David Schoenbaum, and Robert Waller.


  • Creation: 1962-1998


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 Sherman Flansburg was born in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, on January 21, 1932, but grew up in Tiffin, the son of A.C. and Esther Flansburg. After two years at the University of Iowa, he joined the U.S. Army, and served in Korea. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University in 1957. While a student, he was City Editor of The Daily Iowan and in 1956 he married Carol Ann McCauley and they had four children.

After graduation, he went to work as a reporter for The Des Moines Tribune, an afternoon newspaper, where he worked until 1965. In 1965, Flansburg became a reporter for The Des Moines Register and in 1966 wrote a famous series of articles on Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. Then, in 1971, he moved into the position of Chief political writer and columnist for the Register. As a political reporter for Iowa’s largest newspaper, Flansburg gained prominence during the Iowa caucuses held in presidential election years. This was particularly true in 1976. From 1983 to 1989 he was editor of the editorial pages. In this position, he sought out new talent to write for the opinion page, including Robert Waller. In 1989, Flansburg returned to writing his “Old Reporter” column which he continued until he retired on January 21, 1997. James Flansburg died January 30, 2019.


18.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Journalist and editor for the Des Moines Register. Correspondence, editorials, and subject files reflecting his professional career as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Register.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the University Libraries by James S. Flansburg in 1996 and 1998.

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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)