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Thomas Sample Turner Papers

Identifier: RG99.0133

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Thomas Sample Turner relate to his career as a composer of music at the University of Iowa. His eight compositions span his career from the mid-1930s until his retirement in 1982. The collection fills nineteen boxes with musical scores, conductor's copies, audio reels, cassette tapes, microfilm, a songbook, handbooks, class lecture notes, playbills, B.A. and M.A. diplomas, and art work by Alice Turner.


  • Creation: 1935-1982


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

Thomas Sample Turner was born April 21, 1914 in Corning, Iowa. His parents were Alice (Sample) Turner, and Daniel W. Turner, Iowa's governor from 1930 until 1932. Turner attended high school in Corning, followed by the University of Chicago, where he was president of Chi Psi fraternity. Turner married Isabel Lambly in 1936, and they raised two children, Norman and Alice.

With his master's degree in hand, Turner became Professor of Music at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa, in June 1938. On September 18, 1939, professor Turner began working as a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa, earning his Ph.D. in 1942. "Symphonic Suite in F Major" was submitted as his dissertation, and was first performed by the University Symphony Orchestra at the Iowa Union on May 26, 1943. The piece was dedicated to the composer's mother and father.

Other compositions by Dr. Turner include: "Ground Bass and Fugue in G Minor," "Suite for Four Clarinets," "Fantasy for Violin and Piano," "Symphony in E Minor," "Quartet in E Minor for Strings," "Concerto for Wind Bands," and "$4000," an opera in one act, set by Turner.

Dr. Turner became a music instructor at the University of Iowa in 1942. He was enlisted in the army from May 1944 until January 1946, when he returned to Iowa as an assistant professor of Music. Turner was a Professor of Music from 1960-1982, and Professor emeritus 1982-1994. He was a member of the American Musicology Society. Dr. Turner was the founder and first chairman of the Theory-Composition Section of the Iowa Music Teachers Association. Thomas Sample Turner died on April 17, 1994.


14.50 Linear Feet


University of Iowa composer and professor from 1942-1982. Founder of the Theory-Composition Section of the Iowa Music Teachers Association.

Related Materials

Folder, "Turner, Thomas Sample," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG01.0015.003)

Processed by a student employee under the supervision of Dick Kolbet.
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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