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Iowa City IA 52242
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Release: Feb. 27, 2001

Libraries exhibits diaries, other effects of notable Iowans

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Libraries has on exhibit, now through May 11, diaries, journals, travel narratives and other personal accounts created over the past 200 years by some well and lesser known Iowans who have impacted the state's history.

"Personal Histories: An Exhibition of Diaries, Journals, and other Biographical Efforts" is free and open to the public in the special collections department, located on the third floor of the Main Library.

The exhibit also contains commonplace books and other autobiographical efforts that reveal information about Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist at the Des Moines Register, and UI football player and Heisman Trophy winner Nile Clark Kinnick, Jr.
Several other persons and biographical efforts profiled include: B.H. Shearer, editor and publisher of the Columbus Gazette (Iowa) from 1909 to 1970, and a 1933 travel diary by Iowa author Ruth Suckow, who then was at work on "The Folks," her most ambitious novel, says David Schoonover, curator of rare books at the Libraries.

Diaries on exhibition at the Libraries include:

-- Jay N. Darling, Sketchbook, Russia 1931 (Two volumes). Darling was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist at the Des Moines Register during the first half of the 20th century. In 1931 Darling went to Russia, then to the Soviet Union to "see what it was all about." What he saw there he put into a book, "Ding Goes to Russia," New York: Whittlesey House, 1932.

-- Nile Clark Kinnick, Jr., Diary, 1943. Kinnick (1918-1943) is the most famous UI football player and a member of the famed "Ironmen" team of 1939. He won the Heisman Trophy that year and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

-- John Siegmund Schramm, "A Short Description of My Voyage from Plech to Bremen to America," a translation by Erich Funke, late UI professor of German. Schramm left his Plech, Bavaria, home for the U.S. Eventually he settled in Burlington, Iowa.

-- Brainard Hayes Shearer, Diary.

-- Ruth Suckow, Travel diary (one volume).

-- George Marion Shearer, Diaries (three volumes). Shearer, a soldier in Company E, 17th Regiment Iowa Infantry, volunteers during the Civil War. Shearer was taken prisoner in Georgia in 1864 where he was held until his release in 1865.

-- James F. Adams, "Reminisces of the Past Fifty Years." An exploration of the Story County author's spiritual life with particular emphasis on intoxication and tobacco use.

-- James Chamberlin, Daybooks, 1852-1890 (five volumes). Chamberlin was a Johnson County farmer, member of the county's board of supervisors, a school board member, and a justice of the peace.

-- Vinnie Ream Hoxie, Composition book, circa 1857. Hoxie produced a famous and life-sized marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that sat on display in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, and a statue of former Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood.

-- Harriet Wickham, Commonplace book, 1799-1838. Wickham's commonplace book was a personal journal in which quotable passages, literary excerpts, and comments were written. The book contains poems by Robert Burns, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Cowper.

-- Charles Wood Irish, Diaries, (30 volumes). Woods was an engineer and surveyor and child from a prominent Iowa City family. He helped in the first attempt to build a railroad across the state in the 1850s.

-- Henry C. Laybourn, Journal, 1864-1865 (one volume). Laybourn served as a second lieutenant and captain in the Civil War in the 24th Iowa Infantry, Company B. He attended Cornell College and later became a farmer and banker before being elected secretary of the Vicksburg Military Park Association in 1895.

For additional information about this exhibit, contact the special collections department at (319) 335-5921.