A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa

A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa

An Expanded Edition

Powered by Google
Get permissions
320 pages, 50 color and 330 b&w photos, 9 x 10 inches

“John Gerber's A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa is a beautiful record of our institution and a historic document. I have personally enjoyed the book over and over again. As an administrator, I have often shared it with visitors to our campus and many people off campus in order to demonstrate the proud legacy of our institution in a dramatic and superbly crafted way. I am delighted that the University of Iowa Press is reissuing and updating this remarkable volume. Through the many new photographs of our campus and of our committed university community, we will continue to be inspired by this wonderful depiction of the University of Iowa’s proud achievements.”—David Skorton, president, University of Iowa

“I have had the opportunity and the privilege over the last half century-plus to observe and to be thrilled by the remarkable growth and maturation of the University of Iowa. Now John Gerber's enormously popular A Pictorial History of the University of Iowa has been updated by the addition of fifty carefully selected and precisely captioned color photographs. These photos from the last two decades capture the spirit of the university, its structures, its people, and its triumphs and tragedies. This is a book to savor and to treasure. On Iowa!”—Darrell D. Wyrick, president emeritus, University of Iowa Foundation

“For historians, alumni, students, faculty, and Iowans, this is a book not to be missed. It is a model for future pictorial histories of educational institutions.”—Annals of Iowa

The founders of the new state of Iowa in 1847 waited only fifty-nine days to charter a university. Eight years later the first classes were held in a rented building, still very much on the edge of the western frontier, surrounded by prairie and pastureland. It is difficult to imagine such a scene today compared to the University of Iowa’s contemporary setting, with its 26,000 students, its 250-plus buildings, huge medical complex, performing arts campus, and athletic facilities, all clustered around the grand centerpiece of the Old Capitol.

First published in 1988, this gracefully written pictorial narrative deftly compresses the history of this distinguished institution into a readable and entertaining text enriched by an impressive selection of over 350 photographs gleaned from the university's archives. Photos and text capture Iowa’s major research accomplishments—in space exploration, medical research, educational testing, and the ground-breaking advanced degree programs for creative work in all the arts—as well as the many great moments in Hawkeye sports. Also included is an account of the evolution of the institution itself, of the significant teachers and administrators who guided the university's progress through world wars, periods of intense social upheaval, and the more tranquil years of strength and growth.

With an all-new album of fifty color photos that both celebrate and define the last twenty years of the university’s history, the expanded paperback edition of this classic book is an enduring testament to the unique character of the University of Iowa, its strong commitment to education, research, and the creative arts, and its remarkable service to the state.


Carolyn B. Brown, James Kaufmann, James B. Lindberg, Jr.

Table of contents: 



One. Johnson County High School, 1847-1859

Two. The College Years, 1859-1878

Three. The Emerging University, 1878-1916

Four. A One-Man Operation, 1916-1934

Five. Cautious Change, 1934-1964

Six. A Major Teaching and Research Institution, 1964-1987


Photo Credits