Black and white photo of Bill Sackter, an older man with a long gray beard, a vibrant smile, and a railroad engineer's cap. He stands next to a sign that says Wild Bill's Coffee. Bill Sackter outside his coffee shop in North Hall, 1970s. Photo: Barry Morrow.

Hey Buddy, I’m Bill tells the story of Bill Sackter, the namesake of Wild Bill’s (formerly Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop) in the University of Iowa School of Social Work. From his early life in Minneapolis to his 44-year institutionalization for an intellectual disability to his years of friends and fame in Iowa City, the exhibit shares a glimpse into Bill’s life and legacy. The exhibit also acknowledges some of Iowa’s own history with institutionalization and progress with disability rights, and places Bill’s story in the context of the historic treatment of people with disabilities. The exhibit not only tells how Bill’s life embodied the disability practices and perspectives of his time, but also how the national prominence of his life story helped America make progress toward better understanding and treatment of people with disabilities.

The exhibition features artifacts, documents, and ephemera from Bill’s life as well as ways for visitors to contribute stories about their own experiences with disability.

Virtual Tour

Click here to view the accessible version of this interactive content

Curator Highlights




Exhibition Curation

Brad Ferrier
Digital Projects Librarian, University of Iowa Libraries 

Jen Knights
Marketing and Communications Manager, Performing Arts at Iowa / College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Preparation & Conservation
Bill Voss, Conservator Technician & Exhibit Preparator 
Giselle Simón, University Conservator 

Kalmia Strong, Creative Coordinator

Exhibition Coordination
Sara J. Pinkham, Exhibition and Engagement Coordinator

Bill Voss, Kalmia Strong, Sara J. Pinkham

Exhibition Technology
Will Brown, IT Consultant
Chris Clark, Senior IT Support Consultant (LIB IT)

Video Editing
Lane Wyrick

Digital Media Access
Mark Anderson, Digital Scholarship & Collections Librarian
Daniel Johnson, Digital Preservation Librarian

Ken Clinkenbeard, Web Services Specialist
Sara J. Pinkham

Virtual Exhibit Assembly & Photography
Sara J. Pinkham

Financial Support
Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries

Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the production of this exhibit:

  • Barry and Beverly Morrow, who shared with us their wonderful collection of mementos and stories from the life and times of Bill Sackter 
  • Lane Wyrick, who provided access to the media archive for his documentary, A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story, and who created a special edit of his documentary for this exhibit 
  • Jack Doepke and Rabbi Jeff Portman for additional photos and stories about Bill 
  • Kate Kemp and Wynne Worley from the UI School of Social Work for their above-and-beyond help with many aspects of preparation for the exhibit
  • University of Iowa Libraries: 
    • Special Collections & Archives: Peter Balestrieri, Sarah Keen, Lindsay Moen, and Jenna Silver 
    • Administration: Anne Bassett, Katie Buehner, John Culshaw, Natalee Dawson, Paul Soderdahl, and Paula Wiley 
    • Collection Fulfillment: Kevin Storey 
  • Mercedes Bern-Klug and Chuck Wieland, UI School of Social Work 
  • Kristina Gordon and her Spring 2023 Introduction to Disability Studies students 
  • Hang Nguyen, Allison Johnson, and Jodi Evans at the State Historical Society of Iowa – Iowa City Research Center 
  • Hope Bibens, Drake University Archives & Special Collections 
  • Rebecca Dewing, Johnson County Historical Society 
  • Kate Dietrick, Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries 
  • Kim Painter, Johnson County Recorder 
  • David Gould, Sara Sanders, Josh Weiner, Ben Hill, Dick Blazek, David McCartney, Linda Kerber, David Dierks, Nikki Grim, Liz Crooks, Tricia Bender and Stefanie Kohn, Bob Howe and Carolyn Howe, Lisa Gardinier, and Mike Hoenig for additional assistance and support 
  • UI Council on Disability Awareness 
  • UI Students with Disabilities Advocacy & Awareness (UISDAA) 
  • Staff at the Center for Disabilities and Development 
  • Minnesota Historical Society