MsC 72

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1841 -- 1965
(Bulk Dates: 1940s -- 1960s)
3 linear ft.

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet: March 2000

Acquisition Note: The papers of Fred Dickinson Letts were given to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1961 by Judge Letts.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Photographs: Box 1

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 Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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.

Biographical Note

Fred Dickinson Letts was born near Ainsworth, Iowa, on April 26, 1875. He graduated from Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa in 1897. In 1899, he graduated from the law department of the University of Iowa. After passing the bar exam, Letts began his law practice in Davenport, Iowa. In 1911, Fred Dickinson Letts was appointed judge of the Seventh Judicial District of Iowa where he served until December of 1912. In 1914, he was appointed to the same position, this time remaining there until he was elected to Congress in 1925. A Republican, he spent three terms in the US House of Representatives. President Herbert Hoover appointed Letts an associate justice of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 1931. He remained there until his retirement thirty years later. Fred Dickinson Letts died on January 19, 1965.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Fred Dickinson Letts consist of three feet of manuscripts arranged in a rough chronological sequence dating from 1841 to 1965. The collection begins with family papers (1841 -- 1960), such as deeds, mortgages, and photographs. Correspondence (1899 -- 1961) is included from each phase of his career as an attorney, congressman, and judge with letters from Lester Jesse Dickinson, T. Henry Foster, John Hammill, James W. Bollinger, Harrison E. Spangler, Merritt C. Speidel, and Dan W. Turner. The remainder of the collection consists of Letts' speeches, court decisions, clippings, and six scrapbooks.

Box List

Box 1

Photographs, 1864[?] -- 1960.

Family Papers, 1841 -- 1910.

Parsons College and University of Iowa -- Alumni correspondence and miscellaneous items, 1897 -- 1959, including letters from T. Henry Foster.


Early career and Iowa District Court Judgeship, 1899 -- 1925, including letters form N. E. Kendell, T. Henry Foster, Robert G. Cousins, L. J. Dickinson, E. T. Meredith, C. W. Ramseyer, W. F. Knopp, and John Hammill.
Box 2


Congress, 1925 -- 1930, including letters from John Hammill, Joe R. Lane, Albert F. Dawson, and Harrison E. Spangler.

Scrapbook. Clippings from Congress, 1928? -- 1930.

Speeches, decisions and anecdotes.

Clippings, 1924 -- 1961.


Justice, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1931 -- 1961, including letters from James W. Bollinger, L. J. Dickinson, William F. Riley, Merritt C. Speidel, Philip D. Adler, Earl Hall, and Fred Schwengel.

Miscellaneous publications, 1943 -- 1953.

Biographies, obituaries and memories, 1959 -- 1965.


 Scrapbooks (6). Scrapbook no. 4 includes letters from E.P. adler, James W. Bollinger, T. Henry Foster, Harrison E. Spanger, Merritt C. Speidel, and Dan W. Turner.

 Oversized folder

 Caricature of Judge Letts by Ralph Patterson.