Records of the University Schools
Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
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Acquisition and Processing Information: These papers were transferred to the University Archives from the College of Education between 1977 and 1981. John E. McAdam donated his papers in 1984. Processed and guide created by Denise Anderson in October 2006.
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of records for the University Elementary School and University High School. These include reports, correspondence, bulletins and catalogs, minutes, handbooks, and documentation from workshops. This collection is primarily organized chronologically by material type within three series. Series I consists of Administrative records. Series II (University Elementary School) consists of six sub-series: Annual Reports, Handbooks, Note to Teachers, Testing Programs, Minuet Annual Plays, and Photographs. Series III (University High School) consists of 10 sub-series: High School, Athletic Program, Annual Reports, Teacher's Handbook, Testing Program, Yearbooks, U-High Life, Parnassus, Memorabilia, and Fiftieth Anniversary.
This collection is a rich source of images. There are three carousel slide trays of images taken during the 50th anniversary celebration in 1966, and nearly four feet of index cards bear the names and addresses of alumni. Photographs may be found in each volume of the U-Hi Hawkeye yearbooks, 1921 -- 1972. In addition, three document boxes hold fifteen linear inches of University Elementary School photographs which document the classroom activities, field trips, and annual portraits. Not all of these boxed photographs are described in the list below, because few of them are dated or identified, with the exception of the class portraits, 1957 through 1972. An unknown number of the photographs are by University Photographer, Frederick W. Kent. Mr. Kent’s son, Jim, graduated from University High School in 1937, and displayed his own photographs of students at the 1966 anniversary celebration. It is not known if his photographs are included in this collection.
In addition to the yearbooks, other publications represented include U-High (or U-Hi) Life, a monthly newsletter, and Parnassus, an annual collection of poetry by the high school students. The Scribe, a monthly publication of poetry, is represented for the years 1965 – 1968. Town Crier, a weekly newsletter, consists of four 1969 volumes. “Note to Teachers” is a collection of memoranda and guidelines for elementary school teachers, bound by academic year. “Program of Studies” student handbooks were printed within the high school between 1967 and 1972.
The Memorabilia sub-series includes a 1935 University High School diploma, report card examples, and material regarding the 1981 homecoming for the Blue Hawks’ 65th anniversary. A large scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the University High School covers roughly 1966 through 1977. The Administrative series includes ten linear inches of records documenting the closing of the two schools in 1972.
[D. Anderson; 10/2006]
The creation of the University Schools, known as the experimental schools or the University Laboratory Schools, began during the President Walter A. Jessup administration, allowing for Director Dr. Ernest Horn to open the experimental elementary school on September 20, 1915. The University High School was established, also within the College of Education, in 1916 for grades 9-12, and grades 7 and 8 were added the following year.
The University Elementary School and the University High School operated on campus for nearly 60 years. Parents welcomed the benefits afforded their children of a school directed through the University of Iowa College of Education rather than a school board, which allowed greater autonomy in curriculum design. Advanced training in science, art and music, among other subjects, was provided on campus, and resources such as the University Libraries were readily available. Through observation and testing, teaching programs were devised around methods that produced optimal results, hence the experimental designation.
The 1919 Bulletin of the State University of Iowa states the purpose of the University Elementary school was for supervisory training of principals and superintendents, and not for teacher training. The High School, however, was intended for teacher training from the outset, as well as for exploring new methods of teaching, according to the 1917 Bulletin of the State University of Iowa. The purpose of the elementary school expanded over time to include teacher training. President Willard (Sandy) Boyd reluctantly closed the University schools in 1972 due to reduced state appropriations.
[D. Anderson; 10/2006]
Cravens, Hamilton. Before Head Start: The Iowa Station & America's Children. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. 327 pp., illus., notes.
The academic records of individual University High School students are held at the University of Iowa Office of the Registrar.
The University Archives Subject Vertical Files, in the Department of Special Collections, contain five linear inches of folders under the heading “Experimental School”, with such topics as history, class schedules, anniversary, and clippings, among others.
Related collections include Early Childhood Education Center records (RG09.02.03), 17 linear feet, and Teacher Education Program records (RG09.02.14), 0.25 linear feet, within the College of Education records in the University Archives.
University Schools (North Hall) Construction Collection of Photographs RG30.01.15
Papers of Forest C. Ensign (RG 99.0220)
Papers of Ernest Horn (RG99.0223)
Papers of Anne E. Pierce (RG99.0232)
Theses and Dissertations:
Jackson, Harry Dunham. "University High School--The University of Iowa: A Task-Oriented Study of the First Fifty Years." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1968. 185 pp. Dissertation Abstracts 29: 131-A. Main.
Schoenfelder, Carroll M. "A History of the University High School Athletic Program: 1916 to 1972." M.A. paper (non-thesis), University of Iowa, 1973. 147 pp. Archives.
Wine, Margaret Anne McGehee. "A Narrative History of the University High School, University of Iowa, 1916-1972." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1979. 371 pp. Dissertation Abstracts International 40: 2584-A. Main; Archives.
Yearnd, Moretta Arda. "History of the State University of Iowa: The Experimental High School since 1930." M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 1943. 172 pp. Main T1943 .Y39; Archives.
Box Contents List
Sub-series A: ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS
---. University Pre-school, 1922-1939
---. University Elementary school, 1931-1965
---. University Junior High School, 1930
---. University High school
---. University Elementary School
---. University High School
---. University Elementary School, 1926-1970, incomplete
---. University High School, 1924-1970, incomplete
---. University High School, 1924-1970, incomplete
---. University High School, 1926-1962, incomplete
Meeting minutes, 1962-1967
Correspondence, minutes, budget, courses, graduation rates, salaries, 1959-1966
Reports and Correspondence, 1961-1971
Schools closing, 1970-1973
Documentation of uniqueness, 1950s-1960s
Schools closing, includes elementary students transferred to other schools, 1972-1973
Staff members’ vitae
Sub-series A: ANNUAL REPORTS
Sub-series B: HANDBOOKS
“Special University Elementary School Programs”, thesis by Jane Westphal Gray, 1961
“Kindergarten Guide, University Elementary School”, by Sandra Ballagh, 1962
“History of University Elementary School”, Bulletin of the State University of Iowa, September 15, 1919
Elementary School philosophy
Sub-series C: NOTE TO TEACHERS
Sub-series D: TESTING PROGRAMS
Sub-series E: MINUET ANNUAL PLAYS
---. “A Christmas Program for the Elementary School”, by Anne E. Pierce, 1947
---. Minuet play, 41st, 1966
---. Last Minuet play, 47th, February 25, 1972
Newspaper clippings about plays
Sub-series F: PHOTOGRAPHS
Fourth grade class making bulletin boards, Kathryn Freyder, John Mott, Nancy Fisk, 1940
First grade class visiting Dane farm, 1937
Conservation field trips, 1936-1937, 1939
Study of Native American Indians, 1926, 1934, 1935
Trip to Mesqwaki settlement, Tama, Iowa
Mesqwaki Indian children from Tama visit campus, 1937-1938
John Mott showing snakes, third grade, 1939
Junior primary class
Tea party, 1938
Fund-raiser for Red Cross, 1936-1937
Class portraits, 1957-1972
Sub-series A: UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL
Commencement program, June 7, 1967
Student Handbooks, n.d., 1967-1971
“Program of Studies”, 1967-1972
Earth Day; Read-In; Saving U-High
---. 1948, 1960 (50-year)
Records and reports, 1970-1973
Records and reports, 1969-1972
U-High seal (box of two metal plates)
Number of graduates by year, 1921-1964
Names of graduates by year, 1918-1966
Anniversary and commencement, 1966
Anniversary, July 1966
Class list, 1917-1973
50th anniversary, 1966
The Scribe, 1965-1968
Town Crier, 1969
Graduate assistantships, 1957-1966
Sub-series B: ATHLETIC PROGRAM HISTORY
Sub-series C: ANNUAL REPORTS
Sub-series D: TEACHERS’ HANDBOOK
Sub-series E: UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL TESTING PROGRAM
Sub-series F: U-HIGH HAWKEYE YEARBOOKS
U-High Hawkeye duplicates
Sub-series G: U-HIGH LIFE
U-High Life duplicates
Sub-series H: PARNASSUS
---. May 1971
---. Spring 1972
---. April 1969
---. May 1969
Sub-series I: MEMORABILIA
National Honor Society of Secondary Schools charter granted to University High School, June 9, 1930
High school diploma, 1935
Blue Hawks homecoming, 65th anniversary, 1981
Sub-series J: FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
Carousel slide trays of fiftieth anniversary
Scrapbook of newspaper clippings about University High School, 1966-1977
Alumni names on index cards, 25 linear inches
Alumni names on index cards, 21 linear inches