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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Alexander Kern Papers
Collection Dates: 1903-1995
1.0 linear ft.

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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Acquisition and Processing Information: These materials were donated to the University Archives by Mr. Kern's estate in August 1995.  Finding aid created October 2007.

Photographs: Box 2

Alexander Kern, 1960

Alexander Kern, 1960

Scope and Contents

The Alexander Kern papers include correspondence, clippings, articles, and photographs on Mr. Kern’s career at the State University of Iowa and as a visiting professor abroad.

Biographical Note

Alexander Carl Kern was born September 23, 1909, in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Kern earned his B.A. at Yale in 1930.  He took his M.A. at the University of Wisconsin in 1933 and his Ph.D. in history in 1936.  Kern married Jean Bordner in 1936, and they had two children, John and Antonia.


Dr. Kern joined the faculty at the State University of Iowa in 1936 as instructor of English.  During 1945, he was a lecturer in the S.U.I. English Department, as well as University of Wisconsin and Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.  In 1946 Kern was named assistant professor of English at S.U.I., where he further developed the American Studies Program.  The American Studies Program was initially named American Civilization when it was first offered as a graduate program in 1934.  Dr. Kern was made associate professor and course chairman of this program in fall 1947 by Elmer T. Peterson, acting dean of the Graduate College.   Alexander Kern retired in 1975 and died August 16, 1997.

[D. Anderson; 10/2007]

Related Materials

Folder, "Kern, Alexander C. ," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Cawelti, John G. "Alexander Kern: An Analysis and Interpretation." American Studies 16, no. 2 (fall 1975): 9-14, illus. Also "An Issue for Alex," pp. 5-8, with "A Kern Bibliography."

Kern, Alexander C. "A Historical Note on [the] American Civilization [Program] at Iowa." Handbook of the University of Iowa American Studies Program (1978): 3-4.

Papers of Norman Foerster (RG99.0060)

Box Contents List

Box 1

Correspondence, 1975-1995

Box 2

Photographs and negatives

Clippings about artists, 1977, 1993

Yale University directory and reunion information

The American University in Cairo 1980 Directory


Documents to award copyright of Sources of the American Republic, 1992

Program in German language on the occasion of 80th birthday of Mrs. Curtze (Kern's maternal grandmother), 1903