MsC 112

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1935 -- 1991
3.25 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

Addenda: 1993, 2003, 2005, 2010

Acquisition Note: The bulk of the papers of Nile C. Kinnick was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by his parents, Mrs. Frances Clarke Kinnick in 1959, and Nile C. Kinnick, Sr. from 1972 to 1977. Professor Baender donated some of his materials from writing his book about Kinnick, A Hero Perished.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research. However, any photocopying from this collection must be done by staff members.

Photographs: Box 2, Box 3, Box 3a

Film/Video: Box 4

Audio Material: Box 4

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 Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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

Series Table of Contents

Biographical note

Scope and contents

Box 1 Correspondence -- Diaries

Box 2 Essays, speeches, and thoughts -- Photographs

Box 3 Photographs

Box 3a Photograph albums

Box 4 Tape recordings -- VHS -- DVD -- Scrapbooks

Box 4a Scrapbook negatives

1993 Addendum

Box 5 A Hero Perished: the Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick, manuscript.

Box 6 1939 memorial trophy -- Photographs

Oversized portrait

2003 Addendum

2005 Addendum

Biographical Note

The oldest of Frances Clarke and Nile Clark Kinnick’s three boys, Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. was born in Adel, Iowa, on July 9, 1918. The Kinnick boys were all raised to be achievers, and were expected to do their best at whatever they attempted. Their father was a farm manager in Adel, and their maternal grandfather, George W. Clarke, was once governor of Iowa. With the depression came hard times, and the Kinnick family was forced to move to Omaha, Nebraska. It was from Omaha that Nile, Jr. graduated from high school with straight As. However, Kinnick was not only a gifted student, he excelled in sports leading his teams to many a state championship.

Nile Kinnick’s college career at the University of Iowa was remarkable. As a freshman he was on the baseball, basketball, and football teams. In his sophomore year he dropped baseball and by the time he was a junior, football was his only sport. Nile Kinnick was the backbone of Iowa’s victorious “Ironmen” 1939 football squad. When he was a senior he won all of the major football awards, including the Hiesman trophy and the Maxwell award. In 1939, he was named Athlete of the Year by national sportswriters. Notwithstanding his gridiron successes, Nile Kinnick was much more than a great athlete. He was also a student scholar and leader. He was elected senior class president for the College of Liberal Arts. A Phi Beta Kappa, he graduated in 1940, with a BA in Commerce. Then, refusing draft offers from the National Football League, he entered law school aiming at a career in politics, like his grandfather. A young Republican, Kinnick spent time campaigning for Wendell Willkie. After a year in law school (standing third in his class), Kinnick enlisted in the Navy Air Corps Reserve. He was called to active duty three days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. died on June 2, 1943, after his plane developed mechanical difficulties and was ditched in the Gulf of Paria. Neither the plane nor his body was ever recovered. Nile Kinnick was twenty-four years old.  The Iowa City Gazette reported on January 29, 2003, that Kinnick's F4-F Wildcat plane had been located -- but not salvaged -- five miles off the coast of Venezuela by the brother of a Kinnick teammate.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Nile C. Kinnick consist of four linear feet of manuscripts arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence dating from 1926 to 1991. The subject files include clippings about Kinnick’s career, death, scholarship funds, etc.; essays and speeches he wrote or delivered; correspondence; scrapbooks; photographs; and tape recordings. The correspondence includes letters written by Kinnick from 1935 to 1943. These letters from college and from the war, were written primarily to his parents, although some correspondence with friends is included. The diaries were kept by Kinnick during the war. Together, these letters and diaries were used for the book, A Hero Perished: the Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick, which was edited by Paul Baender and published by the University of Iowa Press in 1991. The manuscript of this book is now part of the Kinnick papers. The three scrapbooks in the collection were compiled by Nile Kinnick, Sr., they date from September 1936 to April 1975, and include clippings relating to Nile, Jr. from football games, award speeches, etc. Photographs include pictures of Kinnick (from childhood, through college, and in the Navy), the “Ironmen” team and coaches, football games, award ceremonies, and friends. Where there is a negative for the photo included in the collection, this is noted by the word "negative" in brackets following the entry. Finally, there are tape recordings of interviews with Kinnick.

Related Material

Leaving the Home Front by Jay Karr, neighbor who grew up with Nile Kinnick in Adel, Iowa.

Box 1

Card. Trading card. With negative

Correspondence in this box consists of photocopies of the originals:

1935 -- 1938



1941 -- May 1942

June 1942 -- June 1943

1945 -- 1946

Concerning Nile Kinnick, 1943 -- 1991

Letters to William Corwin Stuart from Nile Kinnick, Sr. and Nile Kinnick Junior. 1941 -- 1955, 1982 -- 1983

Letters to and from William Corwin Stuart from various people, concerning Nile Kinnick

From Stump, Derald

April 3, 1972

October 11, 1972

April 2, 1974

To Baender, Paul. April 23, 1990

2003 Addendum

Letter from Tait Cummins to Nile Kinnick, January 22, 1940. Photocopy


Box 2


Vol. I, Dec. 3, 1941 -- Feb. 25, 1942.

Vol. II, Feb. 26, 1942 -- Sept. 1942.

Vol. III, Jan. 1, 1943 -- June 1, 1943.

Essays, speeches, and thoughts, 1935 -- 1947. Includes remarks made upon acceptance of the Heisman trophy, 1939.

Kinnick - Feller Historical Marker, 1964.

Kinnick High School in Japan.  Includes color photograph of building. 1960 -- 1968.

Material on the crash of Nile Kinnick's airplane, 1943 -- 1972.

Miscellaneous printed materials. Includes photograph and negative of "Niles Kinnick, Halfback"; photograph of Sports Action comic book cover, January No.5


About Nile Kinnick from Nile Kinnick Fund Folder, 1939 -- 1940.

About Nile Kinnick's career and death, 1943.

About Nile Kinnick Fund and scholarships, 1944 -- 1948.

Miscellaneous, 1939 --

Box 3

Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. Assorted (individual of Kinnick)

1. Hand in pocket, May 3, 1940. [negative]

2. Hands behind back, May 3, 1940. [negative]

3. In letterman's jacket. [negative]

3a. In letterman's jacket, 1940. [negative only]

4. In front of Old Capitol. [negative]

5. In sweatshirt with a football. [negative]

6. On Old Capitol steps, view 1. [negative]

7. On Old Capitol steps, view 2. [negative]

7a. Bouncing basketball. [negative]

7b. In basketball uniform. [negative only]

8 -- 9. Portrait. (2 copies). [negative]

9a. Portrait, 1938. [negative only]

9b. Portrait, not smiling, 1940. [negative only]

9c. Portrait, slight smile, 1940. [negative only]

10. With papers in hand in front of Old Capitol. [negative]

10a. In turtleneck with football. [negative]

Photographs. Assorted (Kinnick with others)

11. Graduation procession formation, 1940.

11a. Graduation procession formation, 1940. [negative]

12. Kiss from Mary Jane Walsh. [negative]

13. With Barbara Miller, 1940, view 1. [negative]

14. With Barbara Miller, 1940, view 2. [negative]

15. With Barbara Miller, 1940, view 3. [negative]

15a. With Barbara Miller, 1940, view 4. [negative]

16. Proofs with Barbara Miller, 1940; Kinnick ready to pass the football.

17. With Eddie Anderson at pep rally with Kinnick as emcee, Fall 1940. [negative]

18. With Mary Jane Walsh (left) and Katherine Walsh (right). [negative]

19. With "Rose of Floydsdale," present to Nile from American Legion. [negative]

19a. With bust, in profile. [negative]

19b. With bust and sculptor, Mrs. Edward (Doris) Mason. [negative]

19c. With students at pep meeting, Old Capitol steps. [negative]

19d. With Adel Jr. High basketball team, 1931. [negative only]

Photographs. Awards and Ceremonies. (2 folders)

20. All-American Award, with trophy and sweater. [negative]

21. All American Award presentation with Mr. Christy Walsh (left). [negative]

22. All-American Award, showing award to "Rip" Callins. Autographed by Collins. [negative]

23. All-American Captain's Cup, May 3, 1940, view 1. [negative]

24. All-American Captain's Cup, May 3, 1940, view 2. [negative]

24a. Showing All-American sweater and blanket at home, two views.  [negatives only]

25. Heisman Award. Kinnick and Eddie Anderson with welcome sign from Downtown Athletic Club, 1939, view 1. [negative]

26. Heisman Award. Kinnick and Eddie Anderson with welcome sign from Downtown Athletic Club, 1939, view 2. [negative]

27. Heisman Award. Kinnick with the trophy, 1939. [negative]

28. Heisman Award. Kinnick with the trophy (close-up), 1939. [negative]

29. Heisman Award. Presentation, 1939. [negative]

30 -- 35. Heisman Award. Proofs #1 -- 6, 1939. [negatives]

36. Iowa Award Ceremony, 1939. Left to right: Nile, Frank Luther Mott, Eddie Anderson, Edwin Prasse.  [negative]

37 -- 38. Iowa Award Ceremony. Proofs #1 -- 2, 1939. [negatives]

39. Iowa Award Ceremony and Heisman Award Ceremony. Proofs, 1939. [negatives]

40. Maxwell Trophy. Window display. [negative]

41. Tribune Football Award presentation, with Wilford Smith of Chicago Tribune,1939. [negative]

42. Kinnick with 1939 Trophies. [negative]

43. Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Grandmother Clarke, view 1. [negative]

44. Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Grandmother Clarke, view 2.

45. Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Mr. and Mrs. Nile Kinnick, Sr. and Coach Eddie Anderson. [negative]  

45a. Kinnick with 1939 Trophies. [negative]

45b. National Football Hall of Fame award, September 25, 1954, two views. [slide only]

45c. National Football Hall of Fame award, President Virgil Hancher, Duke Slater, Kinnick Sr., two views. [slide only]

45d. National Football Hall of Fame award. [slide and negative]

Photographs. Family Photos

46. Kinnick. Age 6, holding a football. [negative]

46a. Kinnick. With cousins. Left to right: Elizabeth Van Meter, Elsie, Nile, Portia Clarke, Kingsley, Ben Kinnick, Clarke Van Meter. [photocopy only]

47. Kinnick. Coaching football to children in Adel, Iowa, 1940. [negative]

48. Kinnick. Selling newspapers, 1928. Photocopy of newspaper Kinnick was holding. [negative]

49. Kinnick. With father and brothers, Ben and George. [negative]

50. Kinnick. With mother and brothers, 1933. [negative]

50a. Kinnick. With mother and brothers. [negative]

 Photographs. Football, 1939. (3 folders)

51. At Benton High School Practice Field, 1939. [negative]

52. Black and white portrait, autographed. See also black and white # 16, and color #56. [negative]

53. "Boots in Bronze," Academy of Sport, World's Fair, New York City. [negative]

54. Bronzed Football Boot. [negative]

55. Kinnick carrying the football. [negative]

56. Color portrait. See also black and white # 52. [negative and unmounted slides]

57. Kinnick in black uniform. [negative]

58. Kinnick in black uniform. Action shot. [negative]

59. Kinnick in black uniform. Action shots, proofs. [negatives] MISSING

60. Kinnick in black uniform. Holding football. [negative]

61. Kinnick in black uniform. Portrait. [negative]

62. Kinnick in black uniform. Throwing football. [negative]

63. Kinnick in black uniform.  Proofs of action shots.

64. Kinnick. Kicking practice. [negative]

Photographs. Football, 1939.

65. Kinnick. Miscellaneous football shots. Proofs. [negatives for all except T and Z; negative for R, see # 71; negative for Y, see # 57 ]

Photographs. Football, 1939.

66. Kinnick. Miscellaneous proofs with Frank Carideo. [negatives for all except #451-45 ]

67. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, view 1.

68. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, view 2.

69. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, 1939, view 3.

70. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, 1939 proofs, view 4.

71. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, view 5. [negative]

72. Kinnick. Running with football, in practice clothes, view 6. [negative]

73. Kinnick. Signing autographs, 1939. [negative]

74. Kinnick. Warming up before Northwestern game. [negative]

75. Kinnick. With Coach Eddie Anderson. [negative]

76. Kinnick. With Erwin Prasse and Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. [negative]

77. Kinnick. With coach Frank Carideo, two autographed prints, view 1. [negative]

77a. Kinnick. With coach Frank Carideo, view 2. [negative]

78. University of Iowa varsity Football Squad, 1939. [negative]

Photographs. Iowa vs. Indiana and Iowa vs. Minnesota Games, 1939

79. Iowa vs. Indiana. Kinnick carrying the ball. [negative]

80. Iowa vs. Minnesota. Proofs, 13 prints. [3 negatives]

81. Iowa vs. Minnesota. Kinnick carrying the ball.  [2 negatives]

82. Iowa vs. Minnesota. View of Iowa Stadium. [negative]

Box 3a

Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. Iowa vs. Notre Dame, November 11, 1939

83. Kinnick carrying the ball, view 1. [negative]

84. Kinnick carrying the ball, view 2. [negative]

84a. Kinnick to intercept pass. [negative]

85. Kinnick kicking point after. [negative]

86. Kinnick punting from behind the goal line. [negative]

87. Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 1. [negative]

88. Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 2. [negative]

89. Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 3. [two different negatives]

90. Kinnick to intercept pass.

91. Proofs of 6 prints. [three negatives]

Photographs. Kinnick, Nile Sr. at renaming of Iowa Stadium to "Kinnick Stadium," Oct. 7, 1972:

92. Nile Kinnick, Sr. on the field. [negative]

93. Nile Kinnick, Sr. and "Bump" Elliot.

93a. -- 93e. Stadium renaming ceremony. [negatives only]

Photographs. Navy

94a. Kinnick in dress whites. [negative]

94b. Book cover, A Hero Perished

95. Kinnick (smiling) in flight suit. January 1942, Fairfax Field, Kansas. [negative]

96. Kinnick (not smiling) in flight suit standing by an airplane. January 1942, Fairfax Field, Kansas. [negative]

97. Kinnick in flight suit, flight training, Fairfax Field, Kansas. [negative]

98. Kinnick in flight suit, getting out of airplane. [negative]

99. Kinnick in Navy uniform. [negative]

100. Kinnick in uniform, with Bob Hobbs. [negative]

101. Kinnick in uniform, with Bob Hobbs and Louise Clark. [negative]

102a -- 102b. Squadron 16, SS Lexington, 1943. [negative]

102c. Kinnick in uniform, studying in his room. [negative]

102d. Elimination base classmates, Kansas City, Kansas, February 2, 1942.[negative]

103. Wooden statue.

Photographs. Of other people

104. Anderson, Eddie, view 1. [negative]

105. Anderson, Eddie, view 2. Verso: "For Nile Kinnick".

106. George, Jim, wearing baseball uniform.

106A. Hobbs, Robert, with Louise Clarke Hobbs (color).

106b. Bob as young man, with group (second from left). [negative]

107. Kinnick, Ben, wearing flight gear standing next to plane. [negative]

Photographs. Sites in Adel

108. Adel Primary School, 1990.

109. Charles F. Clarke home, 1990.

110. Dallas County Courthouse, 1990.

111. George N. Clarke (grandfather) home, 1990.

112. Kinnick home, 1990.

113. Mitchell Motor Company, 1990.

114. Pavillion. Riverside Park, 1990.

Photographs, Miscellaneous

115. Clarke, George W., Governor of Iowa, 1913 -- 1917. [negative]

116. Page from Kinnick's diary. [negative]

117. Nile in cap and gown with parents, Benson High School graduation, Omaha, 1936. [negative]

118. Newspaper photograph: Nile in tux with coach Eddie Anderson and girlfriend Virginia Eskridge, drinking milk at the Kit Kat Club. [negative]

119. Newspaper column, "The Voice of Broadway," mentions Kinnick and Eskridge. [negative]

120. Portrait of unidentified woman #1. [negative]

121. Portrait of unidentified woman #2.

Photographs and negatives, duplicates, 49 pieces.

Photograph album. Childhood through high school.

Negatives from Childhood through high school album, 34 pieces.

Photograph album with newspaper clippings. Childhood through high school.

Negatives from Childhood through high school album with newspaper clippings, 8 pieces.

Program. The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award, December 6, 1939. Autographed by Kinnick.

University of Iowa. Court of the State University of Iowa. Three briefs from mock trails in which Nile Kinniks argued as a law student (?)

Box 3b

Cut out photograph of Kinnick in his uniform, mounted on wood

  Box 4

One 7-inch master tape recording, 6 LPs, and four cassette tapes of the following:

1. Interview with Nile Kinnick and Merle Miller at WSUI on Jan. 30, 1940.

2. Christy Walsh, 1951 tribute to Nile Kinnick at All-American Merit Card to Don Klosterman.

3. All-Star Football Interview with Nile Kinnick and Arch Ward on August 27, 1940 prior to the All-Star game.

4. Heisman Memorial Trophy. December 6, 1939 at Station WOR by Sidney Struble.

5. Nile Kinnick Heisman trophy speech

VHS video tapes

1. Iowa's Nile Kinnick -- Earle Murphy. Running time 10 minutes. Footage of Kinnick playing football; campus pep rally; Kinnick receiving Heisman Memorial Trophy.

2. Football coaches and players, 1937. Running time 3 minutes. No sound

3. Nile Kinnick: A Middle America Hero. ESPN Classic. Sports Century Show. 2 copies. Running time approximately 60 minutes.

DVD of the five audio tapes and first two VHS tapes.


Box 4a

"Fame of the Black and Gold" (released 1949). Sound, black and white, 11 minutes. Historical football game footage, including: 1921 (vs. Indiana; Duke Slater), 1948 (vs. Wisconsin, Minnesota), 1923, 1933 (vs. Northwestern), 1934 (vs. Northwestern, Ozzie Simmons), 1935 (vs. Illinois), 1939 (vs. Indiana, Notre Dame, Nile Kinnick), 1940 (vs. Notre Dame), 1942, 1945 (vs. Minnesota), 1945 (vs. Purdue), 1947 (vs. Indiana), 1949 (practice, Coach Eddie Armstrong talking with visitors near Field House).

Negatives from various pages from oversized scrapbooks 1, 2, and 3


 Box 5

A Hero Perished: the Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick. Manuscript typewritten with corrections and revisions:

Pages 1 -- 164. Letters 1 -- 21.

Pages 165 -- 277. Letters 22 -- 39.

Pages 278 -- 367. Diary.

Pages 368 -- 473. Diary and notes.

 Box 6

1939 Memorial Trophy (2). Donated by Roseanne Pettit in memory of her husband in 1991.

 [Uncataloged Broadside Drawer]

Portrait of Nile Kinnick--All American by Wendy Jo Schmidt.


Box 7

2005 Addendum

47 letters collected by Paul Baender in writing A Hero Perished

Supplement to A Hero Perished. Photocopy of typescript manuscript

Scrapbooks: part of the original collection; shelved at end of collection

Book 1. September 1936 -- November 26, 1939.

Book 2. November 27, 1939 -- December 31, 1942.

Book 3. June 5, 1943 -- April 20, 1975.

2010 Addendum

In the Spring 1997 the Spectator published a sidebar article about the possibility of a film begin made about Nile Kinnick. In it the author stated that Kinnick led the Hawkeyes to a Rose  Bowl in 1939. This generated many letters to the editor, as Iowa did not go to the Rose Bowl in 1939 as there was a Big Ten Conference rule against any post-season games for Big Ten teams, which wasn't lifted until the late nineteen-forties. The article also stated that he flew a fighter plane which generated some mail stating that he flew a torpedo bomber. Some of the letters contain anecdotes from classmates or people who served in the armed forces with him. This file was donated to the collection by the Office of University Relations.