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Due to the continuing donations of alumni and their families, and the dedicated efforts of faculty and staff, a gateway to our ever-expanding history now benefits current and future generations.

The Archives holds original primary source materials, such a correspondence, business files, photographs and artifacts from the University and the University community. Upper Iowa University first opened its doors in Fayette, Iowa in January 1857, just a decade after Iowa was granted statehood in December 1846. Upper Iowa University has a strong physical and online presence at Fayette Campus and at our U.S., Military, and International Centers.

Using the Archives

The Archives is open to everyone who is interested in learning more about Upper Iowa University, our students and alumni, and our community in Fayette and around the world.

Archives Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Upper Iowa University Archives?

The Upper Iowa University Archives is located in the Henderson-Wilder Library at Fayette Campus. Select materials are digitized and made available online or on request. The Archives collects artifacts and documents, such as files, letters, maps, and photographs, relating to the history of Upper Iowa University and the broader University community from Fayette and Centers located across the United States and from around the world. Our purpose is to preserve and promote the history of the University and our community.

Who can use the Archives?

Anybody can use the UIU Archives. Assistance is available in person at Fayette Campus, or remotely via telephone or e-mail. When requesting assistance, it is best to provide as much information as possible such as what you are searching for, why you are looking, what information you already have, and what information you are seeking. If you can visit Fayette Campus, please contact the Archivist for an appointment before coming so that the appropriate materials are ready and we can ensure staff will be available to assist you. Our items are unique and many cannot be replaced if damaged, lost, or stolen. It is our goal to keep these documents safe for you and all future researchers. For this reason, we have guidelines and restrictions on use. Please read our Guidelines for User Access.

How do donate items to the Archives?

The UIU Archives collects records and artifacts relating to the history and culture of Upper Iowa University and the university community that have long term cultural or historical value. Not all materials are appropriate for the UIU Archives, and we encourage you to contact the archivist prior to making a donation to the Archives. If materials are accepted into the archives, you will be expected to sign a Deed of Gift to formally transfer the items to the Archives. Donated items are cleaned, organized, described and made available to UIU students, faculty, staff and outside researchers.

For general information on archival donations, see the Society of American Archivists A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository.

How do I make monetary donations to the Archive?

The UIU Archives is nonprofit. Preparing materials for use by researchers is the most expensive operation in a repository. Although financial gifts are rarely a prerequisite for the acceptance of a collection, donors who can also assist repositories with financial support are encouraged to do so. Donors’ financial gifts of cash, stocks, bonds or mutual funds can help the UIU Archives pay for the arrangement, cataloging and conservation of their donated personal materials. A donor may earmark financial gifts for immediate use by the UIU Archives or, to provide long term financial support, the donor may donate funds to establish an endowment. Gifts to an endowment are invested long term; income is disbursed annually from the endowment to provide financial support to maintain and preserve the archived materials. For additional information on making a monetary donation to the UIU Archives, please contact the Upper Iowa University Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Development.

How do I take care of my personal treasures?

If you have things at home you want to keep in good condition, visit the National Archives & Records Administration’s Caring for your Family Archives website. There are tips and information on how to keep your papers, photographs and other materials from deteriorating with age.

Foster Cass Archives Walk

Honors Foster Cass (Class of 1941) and his generosity in helping the University show the history and traditions of the past while building the future. Download the brochure and take a walk around Fayette Campus to learn more about this historical campus and our alumni.

Sculpture Tour

The Fayette Campus Sculpture Tour broadens individual artistic appreciation and highlights the sculptures and landscaping brought to the campus through the generosity of Bill and Betty Andres (Class of 1948 and 1946 respectively).

UIU History

University history timeline from 1854 to present day.

UIU Collegian Archive Issues

View archived issues (1883-2010) of UIU’s student newsletter. First established in 1883, it is the oldest continuously running campus newspaper west of the Mississippi. Back issues of the Collegian have been digitized and are available online, as well as The Triad, the student newspaper published from 1873 to 1876 and the Fayette Leader town newspaper from September 1970. Note: This page is best viewed using the Mozilla Firefox browser.

UIU Collegian (Current)

Review issues and stories of current editions of the UIU Collegian.

Do-It-Yourself Oral History

Because the UIU community may be found throughout the world, it may not always be feasible to come to campus for an on-site interview. If you are interested in recording your own memories about Upper Iowa University, consider completing a “do it yourself” oral history interview.

Please review the tips and guidelines below before recording your stories. Audio recordings are usually simpler, cheaper, and easier to produce and preserve than video recordings. If you are interested in conducting your own video oral history, please contact the archivist for guidelines.

Submit Your Oral History

  1. Choose a quiet location where you will not be interrupted by other people. Recording at home can sometimes present problems as there may be too many interruptions. If you are near a UIU center, ask to use one of their rooms when class is not in session. Other possibilities include small rooms in libraries or local community centers.
  2. Turn off all telephones.
  3. Make sure there are no distracting background noises such as radios, televisions, fans or traffic.
  4. Test your equipment. Do a test recording and listen to make sure everything is working properly. Have both the interviewer and interviewee speak, and make sure that all voices may be heard clearly.
  5. Keep the audio recording running through the entire session unless there will be a long break. Try not to say anything that you do not want recorded for prosperity!

Required Questions

  1. The interviewer should begin by stating:
    1. His / her name
    2. Date
    3. Location
    4. State that the recording is part of the Upper Iowa University Oral History Project.
  2. The interviewee should state his/her name, and maiden name if appropriate.
  3. The interviewer should then begin the interview by asking basic background questions:
    1. Where and when were you born?
    2. Where and when did you attend Upper Iowa University?
    3. What year did you graduate?
    4. What did you study?
    5. Where do you live now? (city, state, and country are sufficient)

Suggested Questions

Below are some suggested questions. Additional or follow-up questions may be asked depending upon the experiences and answers of the interviewee.

  1. What are some memorable events from UIU?
  2. Tell us about your favorite classes and professors at UIU.
  3. Tell us about your friends and activities at UIU.
  4. What was a typical day like?
  5. Why did you choose UIU?
  6. Did you work while you were at college?
  7. What influence did your family have on attending college?
  8. What did you do after you graduated?
  9. How did UIU help prepare you for life after college?
  10. Do you stay in contact with college friends? Tell us more about them.
  11. What would you tell current and future students at UIU?


  1. Answer the questions as if you are talking to someone who knows nothing about you or Upper Iowa University.
  2. Provide as many details and facts as possible. For example if you talk about a professor, give that professor’s name and subject taught.
  3. Spell out names when appropriate
  4. Remember the 5 W’s – who, what, where, when, and why
  5. If you make gestures, try to also repeat them in words. For example, instead of just saying “It was this long,” say “It was this long, about two feet”

Photographs and Documents (optional)

  1. Photographs, letters, and other documents or artifacts can help illustrate the story of your time at UIU, or especially memorable events afterwards. This is particularly important if you speak of these items during the interview. Send originals or copies of any items with your interview.
    1. Best option: send the originals to Archives.
    2. Second best option: Scan at a minimum of 600 dpi. Save as an uncompressed .tiff file.
    3. Third best option: Take a photograph with the highest quality available on your camera.
  2. Take photographs of the interviewee and interviewer before or after the interview. Send them in with the agreement form.


  1. Audio digital recorder, preferred settings are:
    1. Save to Uncompressed Waveform audio format (WAV). DO NOT save at reduced or lossy file formats such as MPEG or MP3 as these sacrifice quality over size.
    2. Bit depth at 24 bits per sample
    3. Sample rate at 96 KHz
  2. Sufficient memory, such as an SD memory card with 4 GB available. You do not want to lose a good story just because you ran out of memory!
  3. External microphone. Multi-directional microphones are best to clearly pick up the voices of both the interviewer and the interviewee.
  4. Make sure all equipment is charged. Plug it in if possible, or bring extra batteries.

Transcript (optional)

We live in a keyword-search world. The more written documentation that can be provided about your oral history, the more likely it will be listened to by others. If you are interested in helping the Archives transcribe the oral history, please contact the archivist for additional information. The UIU Archives uses the Baylor University Institute for Oral History Style Guide: A Quick Reference for Editing Oral History Transcripts. Transcripts may be submitted after the initial oral history transfer. Note: transcription can be time-consuming. It takes an experienced transcriber approximately 5-6 hours to transcribe one hour of tape.

Before-You-Submit Checklist

Contact the archivist for instructions on how to submit the oral history, agreement forms and any supporting documents.



  • Photographs, letters, other documents or artifacts and accompanying Deed of Gift.
  • Transcript (may be submitted at a later date).


Do you know someone we should interview? Submit their information through our UIU Archives and Oral Histories online form.

The Interview Release Form (1 page) provides the Archives with the right to release the oral history. It must be signed by both the interviewer and interviewee and submitted with the recording of the oral history in order for the archives to accept the materials.

The Interview Information Form (2 pages) provides the Archives additional information about the interviewee and topics discussed. The information on this form will be used to make the oral history more accessible, and may be used to create cataloging records, finding aids, and other written descriptions

Quips, Quotes, and Short Stories from the Archives

Roger Bowen, Class of 1955

Roger Bowen (Class of 1955) co-authored University Recruits, Company C, 12th Iowa Infantry Regiment 1861-66 with UIU Professor Charles Clark about the Upper Iowa University students who volunteered to fight in the Civil War. After Bowen graduated from UIU he served in both the U.S. Naval Reserve and the Air Force. He returned from the service and took positions with Upper Iowa as admissions counselor, assistant dean of men, and registrar. He was instrumental in coordinating the Off-Campus Degree Program spearheaded by then-Vice President Charles Clark.

Bowen talks about the UIU soldiers, their part in the Battle of Shiloh, and David B. Henderson, after whom the UIU Library is named. From Roger Bowen:

“I had the great pleasure of meeting Louie Armstrong and his wife. The student group I sponsored at Upper Iowa University signed a contract with Louie and his band to perform. It was a full house. After the concert I was the only one in the gym-or thought I was–making sure all was secure before turning out the lights. Louie and his wife surprised me when they walked down the center aisle so they stopped, we shook hands and had a brief conversation. This was in the High School gym in Fayette, Ia.”

Archivist’s note: Armstrong played at the Fayette High School gymnasium April 12, 1961, sponsored by the Mu Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.

Michael Becker

Michel Becker provides a great history and tour of many Fayette Campus landmarks in his Coughing Bison blog on UIU.

Foster Cass, Class of 1941

Foster Cass (Class of 1941) grew up in Fayette. He was a student at the University when the United States joined World War II after Pearl Harbor. Cass got his pilot’s license from UIU then joined the Navy, serving as a member of the first crew of the USS Fayette.

Cass talks about living, working and going to school in Fayette, meeting his wife at the UIU Library, serving in the Navy, moving to California and coming back for homecomings. He says that UIU did a lot for him, and he tries to pay it back.

Emma Burkhart, Class of 1926

Dual degree in English and Biology. Activities and Accomplishments: Aonia Literary Society; Sigma Tau Delta English Language and Literature Fraternity; Vice President Women’s Athletic Association; Secretary-Treasurer (Junior) and President (Senior) Biological Club; Y. W. C. A.; May Fete; Y. W. Pageant; Peacock Staff; Botany Assistant; Winner of Tennis Tournament.

Women had just recently been guaranteed the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. Although conventions were changing in the mid-20s, most working women were single and worked as teachers or nurses as those were considered suitable professions for women. Married women were expected to stay home and take care of the household while their husbands worked.

Emma had been told by her mother that she could enroll at Upper Iowa University if she took sewing and swimming. The sewing class taught students how to make plain and fancy stitches, seams, and simple garments by hand and machine. The goal of physical education for women at UIU was not to develop highly specialized athletics, but instead to “create in all the girls of the college a wholesome interest and pleasure in outdoor exercise.” (1922 Student Handbook) Swimming could be substituted for one hour of floor work.

Ideals and morality held prime importance at the university. “The College aims to develop symmetrical men and women, mentally, morally and physically. This development demands a clear mind, a noble soul and a sound body…. As to general conduct it is understood that students will be guided by those social and ethical standards which govern the best men and women everywhere. These laws are too well known to need statement.” (1922 Student Handbook, page 3)

UIU students in the 1920s were governed by rules unknown to today’s college students. The College designated study and recreation hours expected to be followed by all students on campus and in their boarding houses. “Study hours shall be quiet hours in all houses. Anything that would interfere with study is forbidden.” (1922 Student Handbook, page 15) Socials and parties were held with the approval of the Dean of Women or the College Office during general recreation hours between 4:30 and 8:00 p. m. The Dean of Women kept a list of approved chaperons for such activities as auto trips, picnic parties, and excursions. Sunday was set aside as the Sabbath or Holy Day and attendance at Chapel was expected, while study on Sunday was highly discouraged.

Students were only allowed to room and board at such places approved by the College. Men and women were not allowed to room in the same houses, and no students were allowed to receive callers of the opposite sex in their private rooms at any time. Householders approved by the college were expected to maintain hygienically clean premises with sufficient light and heat. The College designated that heat be available between 6:00 a. m. until 10:00 p. m. and that there should be hot water for baths.

The Equal Rights Amendment for equality between men and women was first introduced to the U. S. Congress in 1923, and despite many people’s misperceptions, has yet to be ratified on a federal level. Iowa passed its equal rights amendment in 1972. In 1926 when Emma attended school, it was still expected that women were treated differently than men with rules in place to protect women and their reputations.

The 1922 Student Handbook designated special rules for women students. Young women were allowed to receive calls until 10:00 p. m. on Sunday and Monday nights and until 10:30 p. m. on Saturday. Doors were locked at 10:00 all other nights, and lights were out by 10:30. Any student who entered into the marriage relation without the approval of the College authorities automatically severed his or her connection with the College.

A young woman who expected to be absent from her rooming place during the evening was expected to inform her household where she would be and at what hour she planned to return. Girls leaving town were to report beforehand to the Dean of Women and to inform her household. Householders were told to report to the Dean of Women all illness of women students requiring care of physician, and all habits of study, sleep or recreation likely to injure health or reputation of students or bring discredit on school. Householders were to furnish such confidential information to the College Office concerning irregularity of hours or study and social habits of students. (1922 Student Handbook pages 19-20)

Despite these rules that sound so strange to modern ears, it is clear that Emma Burkhart Hough was active and engaged while she attended Upper Iowa University. After graduation she became the physical education teacher and head girls basketball coach at her hometown school. She later taught in Ironwood, Mich., and served as librarian in Manistee, Mich. The adventuresome spirit so apparent during her college years stayed with her as she traveled to 48 states, England and Germany.