Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs
Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.
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Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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 Use of Manuscripts Statement.
Acquisition and Processing Information: A portion of the Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs was transferred from University Photo Service to University Archives prior to 1970, with many additional transfers during the 1980s and 1990s. Guide posted to the Internet February 2005; updated January 2008.
Photographs: Entire collection
Scope and Contents
The Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs is comprised of about 50,000 prints and negatives. The collection relates to most areas of the University of Iowa, including individuals, departments, and buildings, and it visually documents nearly every decade of University life since classes commenced in 1855. The majority of the images are dated between 1880 and 1980. In addition to University images, the collection includes approximately 2,000 images of commercial and residential structures off-campus in Iowa City, Iowa.
For more recent (post-1970) photographs of faculty, staff, alumni and former students, contact the University's Center for Media Production.
The Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs is arranged into five series based on format – prints, postcards, albums, safety negatives, and nitrate negatives – and then into sub-series based on subject area. Many, but not all, negatives have matching prints (and vice versa).
Series IV: SAFETY NEGATIVES. Organized into the same sub-series noted in Series I.
Series V: NITRATE NEGATIVES. Organized into the same sub-series noted in Series I.
Frederick Wallace Kent (February 3, 1894-July 17, 1984) was a lecturer and instructor in photography at the University from 1923 until 1925. He was the curator of photographic apparatus, and the consulting photographer, from 1936 until 1947. Mr. Kent founded University Photo Service, and was manager from 1947 until 1963. He served as a part-time photographer of special projects with Photo Service for the next twelve years, retiring in 1975.
The importance of Fred Kent’s work goes beyond his many years of producing student’s graduation photos and recording sporting events. His detailed photographs of the 1922 restoration of Old Capitol on the University of Iowa campus aided in subsequent restorations of the building.
Mr. Kent photographed everyday scenes and the extraordinary. The Daily Iowan newspaper reported on November 23, 1934, that Mr. Kent designed a new camera to quickly and inexpensively photograph material for screen projection, improving upon the Recordak machine. He pioneered the use of stereographs in medicine, producing three-dimensional pictures for doctors. In 1947, Eastman Kodak commissioned him to write the first manual for medical photography. Mr. Kent also holds the honor of first recipient of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission Award in 1984 for documenting the growth of the area through his photographs.
Of the tens of thousands of images he created, Mr. Kent considered his most famous to be the now ubiquitous pose of Nile Kinnick ready to pass the football, which Mr. Kent recorded in 1939, the year Kinnick was named All-American.
A portion of Mr. Kent’s collection was transferred to University Archives from the Center for Media Production, where many of Mr. Kent’s sports photos and negatives remain. Additional Kent images of Iowa and Iowa City are located at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
[D. Anderson; 02/2005]
Alumni and Former Students Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.01)
Bennett, Mary. "The Man behind the Camera: Fred W. Kent." Palimpsest 75 (fall 1994): 102-131, illus. Main .
Brown, Janet. "Pairing the Past with the Present." Iowan 32, no. 3 (spring 1984): 35-39, illus. Includes Fred W. Kent photographs of Iowa City . Main .
Bulletin of the State University of Iowa . Iowa City: The University Press, 1863-1938. illus.
Campus Buildings Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.02)
Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.03)
Gerber, John C. A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa. Iowa Cit: University of Iowa Press, 1988. 273 pp., illus.
Grady, Al. 25 Years with the Fighting Hawkeyes: Fourth Quarter, 1964-1988. Iowa City : University of Iowa Athletic Department, 1989. 196 pp., illus. Football.
Kent, Frederick W. "Oral History Interview." University of Iowa Oral History Project, 9. 34 pp. 1976. Archives.
Lamb, Dick, and Bert McGrane. 75 Years with the Fighting Hawkeyes. Iowa City: University of Iowa Athletic Department, 1989. [3d printing] 284 pp., illus., tables.
Liffring-Zug, Joan. "Fred Kent's Iowa ." Iowan 23, no. 2 (winter 1974): 41-47, illus. Main .
Mansheim, Gerald. Iowa City: an illustrated history. Norfolk, Va.: Donning Co., c1989. 224 pp., illus.
Luck, David J. Student Protest at Iowa. Iowa City: Typography Laboratory, University of Iowa School of Journalism, 1969. 10 pp., illus. Photographic essay.
"Photo by Kent : 60 Years of History on Film" University of Iowa Alumni Review 32, no. 6 (October-November 1979): 22-24, illus. Main .
Zieglowsky, Debby J. "Pantatorium Summer." Palimpsest 68 (summer 1987): 72-83, illus. Fred W. Kent, UI student, and photography at Arnolds Park, Iowa, 1913-1914. Main .
In addition to what is presented here, researchers should note that there are additional photographic collections in the RG 30.01 series, as well as small photographic collections throughout the various Archives holdings.
Box Contents List
[Note: The following inventory lists, where available, categories under which prints and negatives in the Frederick W. Kent Collection may be found. The number of prints or negatives in each category will range from as few as one to as many as 100 or more. For two sub-series - Faculty and Staff, and Students - there are no categories; in each case, individual items are arranged alphabetically by name. For the Theatre sub-series, photographs are arranged chronologically by school year, 1936 to 1972. See staff for additional information.]
File Cabinet 3, Drawers 1 - 3:
File Cabinet 4, Drawers 1 - 4:
Buildings: 10 lin. ft.
Alumni House Annex
Armory (on Pentacrest)
Barn (on Pentacrest)
Botanical Laboratory and Greenhouse
Bowen Science Building
Clapp Recital Hall
Cline Implement Building (preceded Lindquist Center)
Dental Building (Old)
Dental Science Building
East Hall Annex
Hawkeye Court Apartments
Hawkeye Drive Apartments
Health Sciences Library
Homeopathic Medical Building
Iowa Memorial Union
Lindquist Center for Measurement
Married Housing (Quonsets and Barracks)
Medical Building (Old)
Medical Research Center
Medical Shed ("The Sheep Shed")
Miscellaneous and Unidentified Buildings
Miscellaneous Student Housing
Museum of Art
Museum of Natural History and Museum Techniques Department
Music Building (Old)
North Hall (on Pentacrest)
Power Plant (Old)
Steindler Building (Children's Hospital)
Van Allen Hall
Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center
Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC)
File Cabinet 5, Drawers 1 - 3:
International Writing Program
Museum of Natural History
Obstetrics and Gynecology
School of Letters
Speech and Dramatic Arts
File Cabinet 5, Drawer 4:
Coaches (men's and women's teams)
Field and Track
File Cabinet 6, Drawers 1 - 2:
Centennial Dinner (February 25, 1947)
Class Group Photographs
Documents and Letters
Herky the Hawk
John F. Kennedy Service (1963)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Service (1968)
Parades--Miscellaneous and Unidentified
World War II, Iowa at War
Events and Activities: Rose Bowl 1959; 1 lin. ft.
File Cabinet 6, Drawer 3:
Businesses and Houses, folder 1
Businesses and Houses, folder 2
East of River
East and West of River
Landscape - Kent[?]
Maps and Plans
River Scenes, pre-1925
River Scenes, 1925-
Scenes (including postcards using photo archives)
Street Scenes - Business District
Street Scenes - Residential
West of River
University of Iowa Campus:
East Campus Scenes
East and West Campus Scenes
Finkbine Golf Course
Macbride Field Campus
Maps and Plans
West Campus Scenes
State of Iowa
File Cabinet 6, Drawer 4:
Aerial views of Iowa City and campus, 1930-1971; 1.0 lin. ft.
Lake Macbride and Lakeside Laboratory, 1940-1950; 0.5 lin. ft.
File Cabinet 7, Drawers 1 - 3:
File Cabinet 8, Drawers 1 - 2:
Board of Education
Board of Regents
Fraternities and Sororities
Greek Letter Society
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Speakers (SPCS)
Union Board Presidents
University Elementary School
University High School
Organizations: Military - R.O.T.C., 1888-1950; 1 lin. ft.
File Cabinet 8, Drawers 3 - 4:
File Cabinet 3, Drawer 4:
Two boxes (5 lin. in.). About 200 images. Campus and Iowa City scenes, 1912.
File Cabinet 3, Drawer 5:
One album; about 50 images. Campus and Iowa City scenes, mainly Pentacrest; 1920-1930.
Athletics: 3 lin. ft.
Individuals, all sports; A-K
Individuals, all sports; L-Z
Football (Teams, Action, Band, Crowds)
Football (Coaches, Publicity shots, other)
Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field
Wrestling, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis, Golf, Fencing, other men’s sports
Buildings: 2.5 lin. ft.
A - Gi
Go - Mec
Med - Q
T - Z
Colleges and Departments: 1.5 lin. ft.
A - K
L - Mu
Mu - Z
Events and Activities: 1.5 lin. ft.
Bowl Games - Rose Bowl, 1959
Class group poses, 1866-1972
Commencement, 1918, 1920, 1947, 1950
Fetes, 1921, 1922, 1923
Field Day, 1955, 1958
Inauguration Day: Gilmore, Hancher, Bowen
Iowa at War, 1918, 1937 Hospital Library, 1942 War Art Workshop
Medallions, 1964 President’s emblem
Parades – Engineers’ Mecca Day, 1912-1923, 1950
Parties (Dances), 1915-1958
Registration, 1925, 1949, 1950, primarily 1953
Reunions, 1877-1951 (incomplete)
Senior Day, 1912, 1922
Television, 1930s, 1934, 1941
Faculty and Staff: 7.5 lin. ft.
A - Bem (and groups)
Ben - Bun
Bum - Crn
Cro - Em
En - F
G - Hd
He - Jn
Jo - Lao
Lap - Mar
Mas - N
O - Rd
Re - Sg
Sh - Sz
T - Wd
We - Z
Organizations: 3.5 lin. ft.
Board of Regents, 1952, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1983
Board in Control of Athletics, 1955
Board of Education, 1935, 1941, 1948, 1951
Iowa Supreme Court at Old Capitol, 1935
Bert McGrane, 1951
Bob Hope signing autographs, 1957
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1957
Van Cliburn, 1972
Preservation Jazz Band, 1972
Fraternities and Sororities, 1885-1969 (incomplete)
Miscellaneous, 1888, 1897, 1915, 1949, 1956, 1968
Mortar Board, 1966
Parent’s Association, 1956
Scottish Highlanders, one negative dated 1950
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Speakers (S.P.C.S.) – Grant Wood and others, 1935 and 1936
Student Council, one negative of a meeting, 1952
University Elementary School and University High School
University High School, 1959-60
Scottish Highlanders, 1920-56
Scottish Highlanders, 1956-1979
Military ROTC, Naval Pre-Flight School - World War II
Scenes: 2.5 lin. ft.
Finkbine Golf Course
Maps and Plans
Iowa City - Houses and Stores (arranged by address) - A - C
Iowa City - Houses and Stores - D - I
Iowa City - Houses and Stores - J - Z
University of Iowa Campus
East and West Campus
Finkbine Golf Course
Maps and Plans
Students: 0.25 lin. ft.
Includes image of Elizabeth Catlett Mora's 1940 MFA thesis artwork
Theatre: 10.5 lin. ft.
Boxes 1 - 14:
Athletics: 7 lin. ft.
Boxes 15 - 18:
Buildings: 2 lin. ft.
Boxes 19 - 21:
Colleges and Departments: 1.5 lin. ft.
Boxes 22 - 23:
Events and Activities: 0.75 lin. ft.
Boxes 24 - 26:
Faculty and Staff: 1.5 lin. ft.
Boxes 27 - 28:
Organizations: 1 lin. ft.
Boxes 29 - 35:
Scenes: 3.25 lin. ft.
Boxes 36 - 41:
Theatre: 3 lin. ft.