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Wilferd Kracht and Vincent C. Brann Papers

Identifier: MsC0643

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Wilferd Kracht and Vincent C. Brann date from 1947 to 1994. The collection is 4 linear feet and is divided into two series. The first consists of material from the musical Olympic '49, a collaboration between Kracht and Brann while at the University of Iowa and produced in 1949. Included are the book, music, and lyrics as well as various drafts and newspaper clippings, playbills, correspondence, and memorabilia. These items are arranged in chronological and alphabetical order, and various incomplete drafts of the play itself are arranged in order by scene. The second series includes the correspondence between these two friends that spanned 47 years, from 1947 when they were college students to Kracht's death in 1994. It contains primarily letters but also includes cards, photographs, newspaper clippings, college material, and various literary endeavors such as poems, songs, and skits. The letters, clippings, cards, and photographs are interfiled in chronological order, while the literary work and college material are filed together alphabetically. A smaller correspondence betwee Kracht and Stanley R. Tripp forms Series III. For readers of this collection, it may be helpful to identify several individuals who are repeatedly discussed and mentioned over the years, some of whom also have letters included among this collection. Hope Kracht and Janice Lynn are respectively the mother and sister of Bill Kracht. Rhea Brann and Barbara Marshall are the mother and sister of Vincent Brann. College friends and/or instructors include: George Freuhling, Charles and Dorothy Becker, Ron Valline, Kenny Alsager, Ronnie Vander Wiel, Les Henderson, Stan Tripp, Jim Dixon, and Bill Knittle. Norma Cross and Virginia Linn were piano teachers on the Music faculty (as well as friends): Bill studied with Cross (and played cello well enough to play in the University Symphony Orchestra under Phillip Greeley) while Vincent studied with Linn. Norman and Anne Sly were friends of Bill Kracht. Beekman "Beek" Cottrell was a colleague of Vincent Brann's at Carnegie Tech and a lifelong friend, and Robert Miller, Doris Abramson, and Dorothy Johnson were friends of Brann in Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1947-1994


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed at an offsite location. Please allow two-three business days for retrieval and arrival to main library.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Wilferd "Bill" Kracht was born in Sigourney, Iowa, in 1923. He grew up there and enrolled at the State University of Iowa (today known as the University of Iowa) in 1941. Following the start of World War II, he worked for the War Department and later served at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. He returned to the University in February 1947 where he finished his B.A. in English and went on to get an M.A. in English in 1950. After a brief time in New York City, he moved to Long Beach, California, and worked as an office manager and assistant to the chief engineer of a company that made aircraft parts. He died in 1994 in Florida during a stay with his sister.

Vincent Brann was born in Knoxville, Iowa, in 1927 and grew up in Davenport, Iowa. His family eventually settled in Cleveland, and Brann served in the army from 1945 to 1946. He attended the University of Iowa from 1947 to 1950 and received a B.A. in philosophy; he was called back into the army on active duty in 1950 for approximately one year. He went on to receive an M.A. in English drama/dramatic art at Columbia University in 1953 and began his teaching career at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh where he taught composition and speech. He later moved to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and eventually settled in the speech department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he retired in 1988. He died in Northampton October 26, 2007.

Kracht and Brann met at Fort Meade in 1945. They re­encountered one another in 1947 during registration at the University, and that chance meeting began their life-long friendship. While students they produced the play Olympic '49 which was chosen to be the Panacea Show for 1949. (The Panacea Show featured the winner of an annual competition for the best script of a student-produced musical comedy.) Its production left fond memories and was still referred to years later in their letters. Although they settled on opposite coasts, each occasionally visited the other, and in the summer of 1956 they took a three-month tour of Europe. They kept in touch through the years by telephone and long letters, and they were still writing each other until Kracht's death.


3.15 Linear Feet (8 containers)

Language of Materials



Correspondence between two former University of Iowa students who co-wrote and produced a campus musical in 1949 and thereafter carried on a life-long correspondence.

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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)