Skip navigation

The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Wilferd Kracht and Vincent C. Brann
MsC 643
Collection Dates: 1947-1994

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Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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: Correspondence in this collection is restricted for ten years from the death of Vincent Brann.  Brann died October 26, 2007, leaving no provision for appeal of his decision to restrict. The correspondence – Boxes 3 through Box 8 – are not available to readers until October 27, 2017.

Photographs: None


Olympic 49 poster



Scope and Contents

The papers of Wilferd Kracht and Vincent C. Brann date from 1947 to 1994. The collection is 4 linear feet and is divided into two series. The first consists of material from the musical Olympic '49, a collaboration between Kracht and Brann while at the University of Iowa and produced in 1949. Included are the book, music, and lyrics as well as various drafts and newspaper clippings, playbills, correspondence, and memorabilia. These items are arranged in chronological and alphabetical order, and various incomplete drafts of the play itself are arranged in order by scene.

The second series includes the correspondence between these two friends that spanned 47 years, from 1947 when they were college students to Kracht's death in 1994. It contains primarily letters but also includes cards, photographs, newspaper clippings, college material, and various literary endeavors such as poems, songs, and skits. The letters, clippings, cards, and photographs are interfiled in chronological order, while the literary work and college material are filed together alphabetically.  A smaller correspondence betwee Kracht and Stanley R. Tripp forms Series III.

For readers of this collection, it may be helpful to identify several individuals who are repeatedly discussed and mentioned over the years, some of whom also have letters included among this collection. Hope Kracht and Janice Lynn are respectively the mother and sister of Bill Kracht. Rhea Brann and Barbara Marshall are the mother and sister of Vincent Brann. College friends and/or instructors include: George Freuhling, Charles and Dorothy Becker, Ron Valline, Kenny Alsager, Ronnie Vander Wiel, Les Henderson, Stan Tripp, Jim Dixon, and Bill Knittle. Norma Cross and Virginia Linn were piano teachers on the Music faculty (as well as friends): Bill studied with Cross (and played cello well enough to play in the University Symphony Orchestra under Phillip Greeley) while Vincent studied with Linn. Norman and Anne Sly were friends of Bill Kracht. Beekman "Beek" Cottrell was a colleague of Vincent Brann's at Carnegie Tech and a lifelong friend, and Robert Miller, Doris Abramson, and Dorothy Johnson were friends of Brann in Massachusetts.

Biographical Note

Wilferd "Bill" Kracht was born in Sigourney, Iowa, in 1923. He grew up there and enrolled at the State University of Iowa (today known as the University of Iowa) in 1941. Following the start of World War II, he worked for the War Department and later served at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. He returned to the University in February 1947 where he finished his B.A. in English and went on to get an M.A. in English in 1950. After a brief time in New York City, he moved to Long Beach, California, and worked as an office manager and assistant to the chief engineer of a company that made aircraft parts. He died in 1994 in Florida during a stay with his sister.

Vincent Brann was born in Knoxville, Iowa, in 1927 and grew up in Davenport, Iowa. His family eventually settled in Cleveland, and Brann served in the army from 1945 to 1946. He attended the University of Iowa from 1947 to 1950 and received a B.A. in philosophy; he was called back into the army on active duty in 1950 for approximately one year. He went on to receive an M.A. in English drama/dramatic art at Columbia University in 1953 and began his teaching career at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh where he taught composition and speech. He later moved to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and eventually settled in the speech department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he retired in 1988.  He died in Northampton October 26, 2007.

Kracht and Brann met at Fort Meade in 1945. They re­encountered one another in 1947 during registration at the University, and that chance meeting began their life-long friendship. While students they produced the play Olympic '49 which was chosen to be the Panacea Show for 1949. (The Panacea Show featured the winner of an annual competition for the best script of a student-produced musical comedy.) Its production left fond memories and was still referred to years later in their letters. Although they settled on opposite coasts, each occasionally visited the other, and in the summer of 1956 they took a three-month tour of Europe. They kept in touch through the years by telephone and long letters, and they were still writing each other until Kracht's death.

Box Contents List

Series I: Olympic '49

Box 1, folder:

1. Radio Quiz Show Skit - Projected 1949 "Panacea" Show, 1948. Includes 1st and 2nd rewrites and rough draft. Became part of Olympic '49.

2. Correspondence 1948-1949 relating to  Olympic '49

3. Preliminary and background information and photographs, ca. 1948-1949

4. Rough draft, ca. 1948-1949

5. First rewrite, August 24, 1948

6. Complete final draft, 1949

7. "Prologue", drafts

8. "Act I, scene 1", drafts

9. "Act I, scene 2", drafts

10. "Act I, scene 3", drafts

11. "Act I, scene 4", drafts

12. "Act I, scene 5", drafts

13. "Act I, scene 6", drafts

14. "Act I, scene 7/finale", drafts

15. "Act II, Prologue", drafts

16. "Act II, scene 1", drafts

17. "Act II, scene 2", drafts

18. "Act II, scene 3", drafts

19. "4th Interlude", drafts

20. "Act II, scene 4", drafts

21. "5th Interlude", draft

22. "Act II, scene 5", drafts

23. "Act II, finale", drafts

24. Lyrics to songs not included in printed program, ca. 1948-1949

Box 2

1. Lyrics and drafts to songs in Act I

2. ---- to songs in Act II

3. Miscellaneous unidentified lyrics

4. Newspaper clippings, 1949. 5 Posters, 1949

6. Cast recording, 1949. 7 LPs (Note: Only three LPs present 8/2008)

Sheet music/lyrics:

7.  "Ask the Man on the Street", 1949

8.  "Autobiography", 1949

9.  "Ballet", 1949

10. "Believing", 1949

11. "Boston Gentlemen", 1949

12. "Cliola's Theme", 1949

13. "Dolphin Dance", 1949

14. "Go Godolphin", 1949

15. "Godolphin Hymn", 1949

16. "Ladies of the League", 1949

17. "Lucky One", 1949

18. "Slightly Higher", 1949

19. "Sunny Day", 1949

20. "When I Was Queen", 1949

21. "Women Now", 1949

22. Miscellaneous and unidentified lyrics, 1949

23. "Olympic '49". Program and poster.

24. Vincent Brann biographical information, 1948, 1994; Curriculum Vitae

25. Clippings re Kracht

26. Kracht family photographs

27. Kracht college material, ca. 1948-1949. Includes class notes, certificates, graduation materials, and carbon copy of Master's thesis "The Mind of Virginia Woolf."

28."Horizon Bound or Beyond, the Blue Baccalaureate," ca. 1950, by Kracht and Brann. Various drafts.

29."Variations on the Theme of Dale Tuttle...", 1962, by Kracht. Includes draft and correspondence.

30. "Variations on the Theme 'Why Must It Always, Always Be a Pianist'", 1962, by Kracht. Includes draft and correspondence

31. "The Year of the Vander Wiel", 1948, by Kracht, Brann, and Henderson. Also a postscript by Kracht, "One Day Thirty-Four Years Later", 1982.

Series II: KW and VB Correspondence (under seal until October 27, 2017):

Box 3

1. 1947
2. 1948
3. 1949
4. 1950
5. 1951
6.1952, January-April
7. ----. May-December
8. 1953
9. 1954
10. 1995, January-June
11. 1955, July-December
12. 1956

Box 4

1. 1957
2. 1958
3. 1959
4. 1960
5. 1961
6. 1962
7. 1963
8. 1964

Box 5

1. 1965
2. 1966
3. 1967
4. 1968
5. 1969
6. 1970
7. 1971
8. 1972
9. 1973
10. 1974-1979
11. 1980

Box 6

1. 1981
2. 1982
3. 1983
4. 1984
5. 1985
6. 1986
7. 1987
8. David Hartwell tape and enclosures, ca. 1987
9. 1988

Box 7

1. 1989
2. 1990
3. 1991
4. 1992
5. 1993
6.  Computer diskettes - "Letters to Vince", ca. 1993. 2 diskettes
7. 1994 and undated
8 Abramson, Doris, 1992. Includes 4 poems
9  VB, 1956, 1961. With musical comedy skit and poem, both with correspondence
10 WK, 1947, 1948, 1952. Includes 5 poems
11 VB Correspondence, General
12.---- With Robert K. Lynn
13. ---- With the UI about the collection

Series III: KW and Stanley R. Trip Correspondence (under seal until October 27, 2017):

1. 1950
2. 1951
3. 1952
4. 1954, 1955, 1956
5. 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962 (with reproduction of "Ding" Darling's farewell cartoon, 2/13/1962)
6. 1965
7. 1991, 1993, 1994