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Charles Reuben Keyes Papers

Identifier: RG99.0027

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Scope and Contents

The Charles Reuben Keyes papers include correspondence.


  • Creation: 1871-1951


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

Charles Reuben Keyes was born May 5, 1871, in Mount Vernon, Iowa. In 1889 he attended Cornell Academy, followed by Cornell College in Mount Vernon, earning a B.Ph. degree in 1894.

After graduating from Cornell, Mr. Keyes served as school principal in Blairstown, Iowa, for three years. He took his M.A. from Harvard University in 1898 and Ph.D. in 1923. During the summer of 1900 Keyes studied in Germany. He returned to the United States to teach the German language for three years at the University of California, Berkeley. He again studied in Germany from 1912 to 1913. Keyes left Berkeley for Cornell College in 1903 where he taught German language and German literature until 1941. At Cornell, he helped establish the Cornell College Athletic Committee and the Midwest Athletic Conference.

According to William Green in "Charles Reuben Keyes and the History of Iowa Archaeology," in The Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science : JIAS, Dr. Keyes was a well-known Iowa archaeologist who helped to develop archaeology into a professional discipline. While serving as director of the Iowa Archaeological Survey and as research associate of the State Historical Society of Iowa, 1921-1950, he established the first Plains Conference for Archaeology in 1931.

Dr. Keyes worked to create a delegation to have Effigy Mounds in northeast Iowa designated as a national monument managed by the National Park Service, thus protecting the American Indian burial grounds. With state support, this monument was established on October 25, 1949, by proclamation of President Harry S. Truman.

In August 1944 Dr. Keyes was appointed visiting research professor of archaeology at the State University of Iowa with no teaching responsibilities. He did, however, lecture to University of Iowa students during a summer session in 1945, sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Other lectures included one sponsored by the Baconian Club student organization, presented at Cornell College in December 1932. Keyes also delivered a series of Graduate College lectures in Old Capitol on the subject of early Native American cultures in February and March 1944.

Keyes married Sarah Nauman, alumna of Cornell College, on August 5, 1902, and they had two daughters, Catherine and Margaret. Charles Reuben Keyes died July 23, 1951.


0.50 Linear Feet


University of Iowa research professor in archaeology. Director of the Iowa Archaeological Survey, 1921-1950. Correspondence.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were donated to the University Archives by Margaret Keyes in August 1994.

Related Materials

Folder, "Keyes, Charles Reuben," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Papers of Marshall B. McKusick (RG99.0028)

Papers of Margaret Keyes,

Iowa Women's Archives Papers of Keyes Family, Iowa Women's Archives

Green, William. "Charles Reuben Keyes and the History of Iowa Archaeology." The Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science : JIAS 99 (1992): 80-85.

Denise Anderson, October 2007.
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242