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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Richard M. Caplan
RG 99.0270
Collection Dates: 1967-1990
1.5 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 papers were donated to University Archives by Richard M. Caplan in July 1996.  Finding aid posted to the Internet in April 2011.

Photographs: None

Dr. Richard M. Caplan, January 1977

Dr. Richard M. Caplan, January 1977

Scope and Contents

The papers of Richard M. Caplan include meeting minutes, correspondence, and reports of the committees on which he served.  One folder addresses freshman orientation courses for the 1969-1970 academic year. 

Biographical Note

Richard M. Caplan was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 16, 1929.  Caplan received a B.S. degree in psychology from Iowa State University in 1949.  Having played piano since the age of seven, he pursued the M.A. degree in music composition from the University of Iowa in 1951.  He took the M.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1955.  Dr. Caplan served as a flight surgeon in the U. S. Air Force from 1955 to 1958.  He made his residency in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical Center.  Caplan joined the faculty of the State University of Iowa College of Medicine as assistant professor of dermatology in 1961.  He was named full professor in 1969.  Caplan was director of the Office of Medical Education in the Department of Dermatology at Children's Hospital.  He also served as associate dean for continuing education in the College of Medicine. 

Caplan served on many University committees.  This included the Committee on Campus Instructional TV, Committee on International Education, and the Foreign Language Council.  Caplan was appointed by President James O. Freedman to serve on the Committee for Appropriate Uses of the University (CAUU), which examined CIA recruitment on campus during the mid-1980s.  He served on the advisory board for the University of Iowa Press (1986-1990).  He also served on the advisory committee for Channel 28 Programming, which guided the operations of the University cable TV channel (1982-1985), as well as the Campus Instructional TV Committee (1987-1988).

Dr. Caplan taught courses in the medical humanities program and introduced courses in biomedical ethics.  He has guided the History of Medicine Society of distinguished speakers since 1974.  His numerous awards include the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion.

In addition to his University activities, Caplan served on the planning committee of the Iowa Medical Society, and wrote a column in the society's journal, Iowa Medicine.  He served on committees of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the Society for Health and Human Values.  Caplan retired in 1996, after 35 years at the University of Iowa.  In honor of his service, the Richard M. Caplan Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities was established in 1998.

Caplan is an authority on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional character, Sherlock Holmes and he published a manuscript on the subject.  He became a member of the New York City-based Baker Street Irregulars in 1984, a name the fans borrowed from Doyle's books.  In 1988, Caplan established the Younger Stamfords, a society of Sherlock Holmes fans in Iowa City.

Caplan married Ellen Sideman, a librarian, in 1952 and the couple had four sons, David, Joel, Daniel, and Aaron.

[D. Anderson; 04/2011]

Related Materials

Folder, "Caplan, Richard M.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Records of the Office of Continuing Medical Education, within the Records of the College of Medicine (RG 15.01)

Records of the Biomedical Ethics Program (Accession 2006-53), within the Records of the College of Medicine (RG 15.01)

Caplan, Richard M. "Leprosy in Iowa: the tale of Ole K. Hill." Palimpsest 75 (Spring 1994): 46-48.

Caplan, Richard M. "String Quartet." M.S. thesis, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1951.

Records of the Foreign Language Council (RG 05.03.10)

Records of International Programs (RG 23.06.01)

Records of the University of Iowa Press (RG 23.07.03)

Folders, "Channel 28" and "Educational TV, Subcommittee on Television Broadcasting," Subject Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.05)

Box Contents List

Box 1

Director of Medical Education, job description, 1967-1972

Freshman orientation courses, 1969-1970


Admissions Committee, 1968-1969

Channel 28 Programming Committee, 1982-1985

Committee on Campus Instructional TV, 1987-1988

Committee for Appropriate Uses of the University (CAUU), 1985-1988

Committee on International Education



Box 2

Foreign Language Council

Charge to the committee, 1984

Clippings, 1984-1985

Correspondence, 1984-1986

Meeting minutes and membership rosters, 1984-1986

Office of International Education and Services, annual report, 1984-1985

Pamphlets, 1985

Summer Language Camps Committee, 1985

1986-1987 (two folders)

Box 3

Foreign Language Council (cont.)

The National Council on Foreign Language and International Studies, 1979

"Rationale For Foreign Languages," [1986?]

Department of Public Instruction DPI Newsletter, 1985-1987 (incomplete)

Box 4

Advisory board, University of Iowa Press

Annual reports, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990

Appropriations, 1988-1989

Awards, 1986-1990

Correspondence, 1986-1989

History, purpose, and strategic plan,1988-1989

Meeting minutes and membership rosters, 1986-1989

Pamphlets, 1984-1989

Review of UI Press, 1989-1990

Subcommittee work, 1990

Submissions for publication, 1985-1989