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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs
RG 30.01.01
Collection Dates: 1866-2000; bulk, 1880-1980
109 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Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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: A portion of the Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs was transferred from University Photo Service to University Archives prior to 1970, with many additional transfers during the 1980s and 1990s. Guide posted to the Internet February 2005; updated January 2008.

Photographs: Entire collection

Frederick W. Kent, ca. 1928
Frederick W. Kent
Ca. 1928

Scope and Contents

The Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs is comprised of about 50,000 prints and negatives. The collection relates to most areas of the University of Iowa, including individuals, departments, and buildings, and it visually documents nearly every decade of University life since classes commenced in 1855. The majority of the images are dated between 1880 and 1980. In addition to University images, the collection includes approximately 2,000 images of commercial and residential structures off-campus in Iowa City, Iowa.

For more recent (post-1970) photographs of faculty, staff, alumni and former students, contact the University's Center for Media Production.

The Frederick W. Kent Collection of Photographs is arranged into five series based on format – prints, postcards, albums, safety negatives, and nitrate negatives – and then into sub-series based on subject area. Many, but not all, negatives have matching prints (and vice versa).

Series I: PRINTS. Organized into nine sub-series: Athletics, buildings, colleges and departments, events and activities, faculty and staff, organizations, scenes, students, and theatre (plays).



Series IV: SAFETY NEGATIVES. Organized into the same sub-series noted in Series I.

Series V: NITRATE NEGATIVES. Organized into the same sub-series noted in Series I.

Biographical Note

Frederick Wallace Kent (February 3, 1894-July 17, 1984) was a lecturer and instructor in photography at the University from 1923 until 1925. He was the curator of photographic apparatus, and the consulting photographer, from 1936 until 1947. Mr. Kent founded University Photo Service, and was manager from 1947 until 1963. He served as a part-time photographer of special projects with Photo Service for the next twelve years, retiring in 1975.

The importance of Fred Kent’s work goes beyond his many years of producing student’s graduation photos and recording sporting events. His detailed photographs of the 1922 restoration of Old Capitol on the University of Iowa campus aided in subsequent restorations of the building.

Mr. Kent photographed everyday scenes and the extraordinary. The Daily Iowan newspaper reported on November 23, 1934, that Mr. Kent designed a new camera to quickly and inexpensively photograph material for screen projection, improving upon the Recordak machine. He pioneered the use of stereographs in medicine, producing three-dimensional pictures for doctors. In 1947, Eastman Kodak commissioned him to write the first manual for medical photography. Mr. Kent also holds the honor of first recipient of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission Award in 1984 for documenting the growth of the area through his photographs.

Of the tens of thousands of images he created, Mr. Kent considered his most famous to be the now ubiquitous pose of Nile Kinnick ready to pass the football, which Mr. Kent recorded in 1939, the year Kinnick was named All-American.

A portion of Mr. Kent’s collection was transferred to University Archives from the Center for Media Production, where many of Mr. Kent’s sports photos and negatives remain. Additional Kent images of Iowa and Iowa City are located at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.

[D. Anderson; 02/2005]

Related Materials

Alumni and Former Students Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.01)

Bennett, Mary. "The Man behind the Camera: Fred W. Kent." Palimpsest 75 (fall 1994): 102-131, illus. Main .

Brown, Janet. "Pairing the Past with the Present." Iowan 32, no. 3 (spring 1984): 35-39, illus. Includes Fred W. Kent photographs of Iowa City . Main .

Bulletin of the State University of Iowa . Iowa City: The University Press, 1863-1938. illus.

Campus Buildings Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.02)

Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.03)

Gerber, John C. A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa. Iowa Cit: University of Iowa Press, 1988. 273 pp., illus.

Grady, Al. 25 Years with the Fighting Hawkeyes: Fourth Quarter, 1964-1988. Iowa City : University of Iowa Athletic Department, 1989. 196 pp., illus. Football.

Kent, Frederick W. "Oral History Interview." University of Iowa Oral History Project, 9. 34 pp. 1976. Archives.

Lamb, Dick, and Bert McGrane. 75 Years with the Fighting Hawkeyes. Iowa City: University of Iowa Athletic Department, 1989. [3d printing] 284 pp., illus., tables.

Liffring-Zug, Joan. "Fred Kent's Iowa ." Iowan 23, no. 2 (winter 1974): 41-47, illus. Main .

Mansheim, Gerald. Iowa City: an illustrated history. Norfolk, Va.: Donning Co., c1989. 224 pp., illus.

Luck, David J. Student Protest at Iowa. Iowa City: Typography Laboratory, University of Iowa School of Journalism, 1969. 10 pp., illus. Photographic essay.

"Photo by Kent : 60 Years of History on Film" University of Iowa Alumni Review 32, no. 6 (October-November 1979): 22-24, illus. Main .

Zieglowsky, Debby J. "Pantatorium Summer." Palimpsest 68 (summer 1987): 72-83, illus. Fred W. Kent, UI student, and photography at Arnolds Park, Iowa, 1913-1914. Main .

In addition to what is presented here, researchers should note that there are additional photographic collections in the RG 30.01 series, as well as small photographic collections throughout the various Archives holdings.

Box Contents List

[Note: The following inventory lists, where available, categories under which prints and negatives in the Frederick W. Kent Collection may be found. The number of prints or negatives in each category will range from as few as one to as many as 100 or more. For two sub-series - Faculty and Staff, and Students - there are no categories; in each case, individual items are arranged alphabetically by name. For the Theatre sub-series, photographs are arranged chronologically by school year, 1936 to 1972. See staff for additional information.]

Series I: Prints

File Cabinet 3, Drawers 1 - 3:

Theatre: 5 lin. ft.

Pre-1936; 1936-43

File Cabinet 4, Drawers 1 - 4:

Buildings: 10 lin. ft.

Alumni House Annex
Armory (on Pentacrest)
Art Building
Barn (on Pentacrest)
Biology Building
Botanical Laboratory and Greenhouse
Bowen Science Building
Buildings, Temporary
Burge Hall
Calvin Hall
Chemistry-Botany Building
Clapp Recital Hall
Cline Implement Building (preceded Lindquist Center)
Close Hall
Communications Center
Currier Hall
Danforth Chapel
Daum Hall
Dental Building (Old)
Dental Science Building
Dey House
East Hall Annex
Engineering Building
Engineering Shed
Engineering Shops
English-Philosophy Building
Field House
General Hospital
Gilmore Hall
Halsey Gymnasium
Hancher Auditorium
Hawkeye Court Apartments
Hawkeye Drive Apartments
Hawkeye Village
Health Sciences Library
Homeopathic Hospital
Homeopathic Medical Building
Hospital School
Hutchinson-Kuhl House
Hydraulics Laboratory
Hydroelectric Plant
International Center
Iowa Field
Iowa Memorial Union
Jessup Hall
Kellogg Dormitory
Kinnick Stadium
Law Center
Law Commons
Lindquist Center for Measurement
Macbride Hall
MacLean Hall
Main Library
Married Housing (Quonsets and Barracks)
Mechanics' Academy
Medical Building (Old)
Medical Laboratories
Medical Research Center
Medical Shed ("The Sheep Shed")
Miscellaneous and Unidentified Buildings
Miscellaneous Student Housing
Museum of Art
Museum of Natural History and Museum Techniques Department
Music Building (Old)
Music Building
North Hall (on Pentacrest)
North Hall
Nursing Building
Oakdale Hospital
Old Armory
Old Brick
Old Capitol
Parklawn Apartments
Pharmacy Building
Phillips Hall
Physical Plant
Power Plant (Old)
Power Plant
President's House
Psychiatric Hospital
Psychopathic Hospital
Recreation Building
Rienow Hall
Schaeffer Hall
Seashore Hall
Shambaugh House
Sheep Shed
Slater Hall
South Hall
South Quadrangle
Stanley Hall
Steindler Building (Children's Hospital)
Theatre Building
Trowbridge Hall
Unitarian Church
Van Allen Hall
Water Closet
Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center
Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC)

File Cabinet 5, Drawers 1 - 3:

Colleges and Departments: 8 lin. ft.

Child Welfare
Dramatic Arts
Home Economics
International Writing Program
Lakeside Laboratory
Liberal Arts
Library (People)
Library Sciences
Museum of Natural History
Music (General)
Music (Operas)
Music (Organizations)
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Physical Education
School of Letters
Speech and Dramatic Arts
Speech Pathology
Theatre Arts
Writers' Workshop

File Cabinet 5, Drawer 4:

Athletics: 3 lin. ft.

Men's Athletics

Coaches (men's and women's teams)
Field and Track
Football Crowds
Football Games
Football Players
Football Squads
Physical Education

Women's Athletics


File Cabinet 6, Drawers 1 - 2:

Events and Activities: A - Z; 3 lin. ft.

Art Exhibits
Camp Kellogg
Centennial Dinner (February 25, 1947)
Class Day
Class Group Photographs
Corn Monuments
Documents and Letters
Foreign Students
Freshman Week
Herky the Hawk
Inauguration Day
John F. Kennedy Service (1963)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Service (1968)
Media Events
Parades--Mecca Day
Parades--Miscellaneous and Unidentified
Parties (Dances)
Senior Day
Senior Frolic
Testing Programs
Windhover Press
World War II, Iowa at War
WSUI Radio

Events and Activities: Rose Bowl 1959; 1 lin. ft.

File Cabinet 6, Drawer 3:

Scenes: 3 lin. ft.

Iowa City:

Aerial Views
Businesses and Houses, folder 1
Businesses and Houses, folder 2
City Park
East of River
East and West of River
Lake Macbride
Landscape - Kent[?]
Maps and Plans
Public Buildings
River Scenes, pre-1925
River Scenes, 1925-
Scenes (including postcards using photo archives)
Street Scenes - Business District
Street Scenes - Residential
West of River

University of Iowa Campus:

East Campus Scenes
East and West Campus Scenes
Finkbine Golf Course
Macbride Field Campus
Maps and Plans
Panoramic Views
West Campus Scenes

State of Iowa

File Cabinet 6, Drawer 4:

Scenes (continued):

Aerial views of Iowa City and campus, 1930-1971; 1.0 lin. ft.

Lake Macbride and Lakeside Laboratory, 1940-1950; 0.5 lin. ft.

File Cabinet 7, Drawers 1 - 3:

Faculty and Staff: 12 lin. ft.

File Cabinet 8, Drawers 1 - 2:

Organizations: A - Z; 2 lin. ft.

Board of Education
Board of Regents
Dolphin Club
Dramatic Club
Forensic Societies
Fraternities and Sororities
Glee Club
Greek Letter Society
Hindu Students
KRUI Radio
Literary Society
Scottish Highlanders
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Speakers (SPCS)
Unidentified Organizations
Union Board Presidents
University Elementary School
University High School

Organizations: Military - R.O.T.C., 1888-1950; 1 lin. ft.

File Cabinet 8, Drawers 3 - 4:

Students: 6 lin. ft.

Series II: Postcards

File Cabinet 3, Drawer 4:

Two boxes (5 lin. in.). About 200 images. Campus and Iowa City scenes, 1912.

Series III: Photo Albums

File Cabinet 3, Drawer 5:

One album; about 50 images. Campus and Iowa City scenes, mainly Pentacrest; 1920-1930.

Series IV: Safety Negatives

Athletics: 3 lin. ft.

Box 1:

Individuals, all sports; A-K

Box 2:

Individuals, all sports; L-Z

Box 3:

Football (Teams, Action, Band, Crowds)

Box 4:

Football (Coaches, Publicity shots, other)

Box 5:

Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

Box 6:

Wrestling, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis, Golf, Fencing, other men’s sports
Women’s sports

Buildings: 2.5 lin. ft.

Box 7:

A - Gi

Box 8:

Go - Mec

Box 9:

Med - Q

Box 10:


Box 11:

T - Z

Colleges and Departments: 1.5 lin. ft.

Box 12:

A - K

Box 13:

L - Mu

Box 14:

Mu - Z

Events and Activities: 1.5 lin. ft.

Box 15:


Bowl Games - Rose Bowl, 1959
Centennial, 1947
Class group poses, 1866-1972
Commencement, 1918, 1920, 1947, 1950
Corn Monuments
Fetes, 1921, 1922, 1923
Field Day, 1955, 1958
Homecoming, 1917

Box 16:


Inauguration Day: Gilmore, Hancher, Bowen
Induction, 1953
Iowa at War, 1918, 1937 Hospital Library, 1942 War Art Workshop
Medallions, 1964 President’s emblem
Miscellaneous, 1913-1981
Parades – Engineers’ Mecca Day, 1912-1923, 1950

Box 17:


Parties (Dances), 1915-1958
Registration, 1925, 1949, 1950, primarily 1953
Reunions, 1877-1951 (incomplete)
Senior Day, 1912, 1922
Sesquicentennial, 1997
Television, 1930s, 1934, 1941
WSUI, 1970

Faculty and Staff: 7.5 lin. ft.

Box 18:

A - Bem (and groups)

Box 19:

Ben - Bun

Box 20:

Bum - Crn

Box 21:

Cro - Em

Box 22:

En - F

Box 23:

G - Hd

Box 24:

He - Jn

Box 25:

Jo - Lao

Box 26:

Lap - Mar

Box 27:

Mas - N

Box 28:

O - Rd

Box 29:

Re - Sg

Box 30:

Sh - Sz

Box 31:

T - Wd

Box 32:

We - Z

Organizations: 3.5 lin. ft.

Box 33:


Board of Regents, 1952, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1983
Board in Control of Athletics, 1955
Board of Education, 1935, 1941, 1948, 1951

Campus Visitors: 
Iowa Supreme Court at Old Capitol, 1935
Bert McGrane, 1951
Bob Hope signing autographs, 1957
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1957
Van Cliburn, 1972
Preservation Jazz Band, 1972

Fraternities and Sororities, 1885-1969 (incomplete)
Miscellaneous, 1888, 1897, 1915, 1949, 1956, 1968
Mortar Board, 1966
Parent’s Association, 1956
Scottish Highlanders, one negative dated 1950
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Speakers (S.P.C.S.) – Grant Wood and others, 1935 and 1936
Student Council, one negative of a meeting, 1952

Box 34:

University Elementary School and University High School

Box 35:

University Schools

Box 36:

University High School, 1959-60

Box 37:

Scottish Highlanders, 1920-56

Box 38:

Scottish Highlanders, 1956-1979

Box 39:

Military ROTC, Naval Pre-Flight School - World War II

Scenes: 2.5 lin. ft.

Box 40:

Iowa City

Aerial Views
Finkbine Golf Course
Lake Macbride
Maps and Plans
River Scenes
Street Scenes

Box 41:

Iowa City - Houses and Stores (arranged by address) - A - C

Box 42:

Iowa City - Houses and Stores - D - I

Box 43:

Iowa City - Houses and Stores - J - Z

Box 44:

University of Iowa Campus

East and West Campus
East Campus
Finkbine Golf Course
Honors House
Maps and Plans
Pentacrest, 1840-1902
Pentacrest, 1902-1924
Pentacrest, 1924-1964
West Campus

Box 45:

Students: 0.25 lin. ft.

Includes image of Elizabeth Catlett Mora's 1940 MFA thesis artwork

Theatre: 10.5 lin. ft.

Box 46:


Box 47:


Box 48:


Box 49:


Box 50:


Box 51:


Box 52:


Box 53:


Box 54:


Box 55:


Box 56:


Box 57:


Box 58:


Box 59:


Box 60:


Box 61:


Box 62:


Box 63:


Box 64:


Box 65:


Box 66:


Series V: Nitrate Negatives

Boxes 1 - 14:

Athletics: 7 lin. ft.

Boxes 15 - 18:

Buildings: 2 lin. ft.

Boxes 19 - 21:

Colleges and Departments: 1.5 lin. ft.

Boxes 22 - 23:

Events and Activities: 0.75 lin. ft.

Boxes 24 - 26:

Faculty and Staff: 1.5 lin. ft.

Boxes 27 - 28:

Organizations: 1 lin. ft.

Boxes 29 - 35:

Scenes: 3.25 lin. ft.

Boxes 36 - 41:

Theatre: 3 lin. ft.