Skip navigation

The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Earl E. Harper
RG 99.0316
Collection Dates: 1923-1966
3.0 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.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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: These papers were donated to University Archives by Mrs. Earl E. Harper in September 1975.  Finding aid posted to the Internet July 2010.

Photographs: Box 1

Earl E. Harper, February 15, 1962

Earl E. Harper, February 15, 1962

Scope and Contents

The Earl E. Harper papers include correspondence, speeches, lecture notes, clippings, and photographs.  These papers document Harper's service as director of the School of Fine Arts and director of the Iowa Memorial Union from 1938 to 1963.  This collection includes programs of the speakers who appeared at the IMU through the University Lecture Series during these years.  Programs for musical entertainment recitals and performances, which were held at the Iowa Memorial Union, are included.  Church programs are included on occasions when Harper either conducted a choir or spoke to a congregation.

Biographical Note

Earl Enyeart Harper was born on March 28, 1895, in Coffey, Missouri.  After graduating from high school in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, in 1912, Harper became a lecturer in Chautauqua circuits in the United States and Canada in order to earn money for college.  He received his B. A. from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1918 and the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree from Boston University in 1921.

After graduation he served as pastor of the Centenary Methodist Church at Auburndale, Massachusetts, from 1921 to 1927.  In 1927 he was named the second president of Evansville College (now the University of Evansville) in Indiana, where he served for nine years.  He completed graduate work at Harvard University and at the University of Chicago and received a number of honorary degrees.  Harper taught at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, in 1932 and was its president from 1936 to 1938.

On July 1, 1938, Harper was named director and professor of the State University of Iowa School of Fine Arts and director of the Iowa Memorial Union.  He succeeded Rufus H. Fitzgerald, who left that office in February 1938.  Harper viewed the student union as a cultural center and founded the annual summer Fine Arts Festival in 1939, a celebration of theatre dramas, musical works, and visual art.  Harper served as president of the Association of College Unions from 1956 to 1957.  He is the author of numerous books on the subject of church music. He retired in 1963 and served as administrative consultant in planning the fine arts campus along the Iowa River.

Harper married Clara Fern Lieber and they had three children, Hugh, Shirley, and Craig.  Earl Harper died on March 1, 1967.

[D. Anderson; 07/2010]

Related Materials

Folder, "Harper, Earl E.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Papers of Rufus H. Fitzgerald (RG 99.0315)

Records of the Fine Arts Festival (RG 11.02)

Records of the Iowa Memorial Union (RG 24.04)

Box Contents List

Box 1

Biographical [two folders]

Photographs [two folders]


---. 1930-1932. Including a letter from the Evansville, Indiana, president of the American Association of University Women.

---. 1933-1934. 

---. 1935-1937.  Including letters from: Eugene A. Gilmore and J. M. Parsons.

---. 1938-1944.  Including letters from: Jay N. "Ding" Darling; Philip G. Clapp; Virgil M. Hancher; Chester A. Phillips; Thomas S. Turner; and W. R. Boyd.

---. 1946-1949.  Including letters from: Mrs. Hiram C. Houghton, Jr. and Virgil M. Hancher.

---. 1950-1959.  Including letters from: Virgil M. Hancher; Evansville College staff; Mason Ladd; Herbert Hoover; Forest Evashevski; Frederick C. Ebbs; Marquis W. Childs; John Gerber; Dewey B. Stuit; Jerónimo Mallo; Bertha M. H. Shambaugh; Dimitri Mitropoulos; Himie Voxman; Paul Engle; and Allin W. Dakin.

---. 1960-1962.  Including letters from: M. Willard Lampe; Marquis W. Childs; Virgil M. Hancher; Dimitri Mitropoulos; Frank Seiberling; Forest Evashevski; Loren Hickerson; Paul Engle; Frederick C. Ebbs; Mauricio Lasansky; Jerónimo Mallo; and staff at Evansville College.

---. 1962-1965.  Including letters from: Loren Hickerson; Dewey B. Stuit; Virgil M. Hancher; Allin W. Dakin; Howard R. Jones; Evansville College staff; Jerónimo Mallo; Frank Seiberling; William J. Petersen; and Howard R. Bowen.

Speeches, 1945-1960.

Box 2

Conferences and meeting minutes, 1956-1964


---. 1923-1953

---. 1955-1959

---. 1960-1962

---. 1963

---. 1964-1966

Newspaper clippings

---. 1931-1935

---. 1938-1965

Box 3

University Lecture Series, 1937-1963

Box 4

Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1924-1958