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Manuscript file collection on early University of Iowa history

Identifier: RG01.0001.001

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Scope and Contents

The manuscript file collection on early University of Iowa history is a rich source on 19th-century and early 20th-century developments at the University of Iowa. It consists of the University's earliest known records documenting its business transactions, academic activity, and external communications. For the most part the material was prepared or received by William J. Haddock (1832-1906), secretary to the Board of Trustees, later Regents, from 1864 to 1901. It is also considered the foundation collection of the University Archives, as it resulted from the first institutional attempts to document University of Iowa history. Many types of records comprise the collection: correspondence, receipts from Iowa City businesses and those located in Des Moines, Chicago, New York and elsewhere, official memos, expense records, contractor's bids, applications for employment, letters of reference, resignations, status reports of buildings and departments, supply requests, signed protests and petitions, statistics about students, salary negotiations, comparisons of UI course requirements to other U.S. universities, information regarding societies and organizations, lab teaching assistants (called demonstrators), hospital rules, numerous investigations, Army regulations, ROTC memos, alcohol issues, student workers, student aid, University publications, scholarships, honorary degrees, University expeditions, University branches, local and state governing boards, lawsuits, fees and tuition, and land deeds.

Items of interest include the original document of an act in 1898 to create a state board of control to govern public institutions of higher learning in Iowa, and a letter conferring an honorary law degree upon Booker T. Washington in 1902 (SEE: Registrar's Office: Honorary Degrees).

The third series is an index to the collection, which may be used in conjunction with the box contents list. It identifies categories and individuals referenced in this collection, and in many cases indicates where pertinent folders are located. Note that some location information in the index is now obsolete.


  • Creation: 1849 - 1963
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1870 - 1910

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


12.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Access Requirements

The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, usecoll Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials

Method of Acquisition

The Manuscript File Collection was initiated by University Archivist Ruth Gallaher, Ph.D., in 1931. Records and individual documents were collected from numerous administrative offices and academic departments during her tenure, from 1931 to about 1946, and by her successors until about 1963. As the collection was the first institutional attempt to document University of Iowa history, it is considered the "foundation" historical collection of the University Archives.

Related Materials

General Catalogs of the University (RG01.0008.001)

Records of the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents, 1847-1909 (RG04.0001.001)

Finding aid prepared by Matthew Schaefer and Denise Anderson, December 2006
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024 May: Added full collection title and scope and content note from original finding aid

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242