Homer H. Seerley Papers, 1888-1928

Collection Overview

Title: Homer H. Seerley Papers, 1888-1928

Record Series: 02/02/01

Record Group:

02/02 Homer Horatio Seerley

Creator: Seerley, Homer H.

Date: 1888-1999

Extent: 146 boxes (57.87 linear feet); 1 oversize folder (3.58 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item] in the Homer H. Seerley Papers collection, Archives Record Series 02/02/01, [box and folder number], University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

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Historical Note

Homer H. Seerley served as the University of Northern Iowa's (then the Iowa State Normal School / Iowa State Teacher's College) second president from 1886 to 1928. He was born in 1848 in Indiana, before moving to Iowa at a young age. He received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1873 from State University of Iowa, his Bachelor of Didactics in 1875, and his Master of Arts in 1876. Seerley was later awarded honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa (1898) and the State University of Iowa (1901).

Though starting his educational career with the intent of becoming an engineer, Seerley later decided to pursue a teaching career. He was Assistant Principal at Oskaloosa High School in 1873, principal in 1874, and Superintendent of Schools in 1875, before coming to the Iowa State Normal School (ISNS) in 1886. His initial title was “principal” before it was changed to “president” in 1887.

Many changes occurred at ISNC/ISTC during Seerley’s 42 year presidency. Upon his arrival, the campus consisted of Central Hall, a two-story building, and South Hall. Under his leadership, a variety of buildings were constructed, including the Administration Building (1895), the Women’s Gymnasium (1903), the Science Building (1906), and the library (1907), among others. Also during his tenure, the Iowa State Normal School’s name was changed to the Iowa State Teachers College. Seerley additionally oversaw the reconfiguring of the institution’s educational program in order to better ensure that its students were on “equal par with graduates of other colleges.” This included adding faculty and working to create a high school accreditation program. The college also became a four year school under Seerley and its organizational structure changed, with the creation of a departmental system and faculty receiving the title of “professor.”

Seerley was “considered the foremost educational statesman in the history of Iowa” (Lilledahl) and his educational expertise, particularly in the areas of education courses and teacher-training, was sought after at both the state and national level. He was involved in a variety of organizations, including the Iowa State Teachers Association, the National Education Association, the National Council of Education, and more. Seerley also authored the books History of Civil Government (1897), The County School (1912), and Geography of Iowa (1916).

Seerley and his wife, Clara, had three children. He retired in 1928 and passed away in 1932. UNI’s Seerley Hall is named in his honor.

 

Arrangement

The collection is arranged according to an earlier organizational schema, devised either by previous Special Collections staff or by the collection donor.

It is arranged chronologically within these broader categories:

  • Correspondence from H.H.S.
  • Official Correspondence Received by H.H.S.
  • Board of Education
  • Copies of Correspondence
  • Addresses and Reports
  • Newspaper Clipping Scrapbooks

Note that the collection inventory provides greater insight into this arrangement.

 

Scope and Content

The collection primarily consists of Seerley's incoming and outgoing correspondence. The correspondence is a mix of both bound volumes and loose leaf papers. It covers a wide variety of subjects, including the administrative functioning of the school, commentary on social issues, and matters concerning World War I. The collection also includes reports and speeches given by Seerley.

In addition to the original materials, Special Collections & University Archives has a card catalog for the Seerley papers, indexed to the item-level. For example, correspondence has been indexed by subject and correspondent, allowing patrons to identify a subject and connect it to a specific letter. For questions about or access to the card catalog, please contact libarchives@uni.edu for assistance.

Inventory

The following boxes (1 - 76) are Correspondence from H.H.S. from the date September 15, 1888 to August 12, 1933. 

Box 1: September 15, 1888 - June 1, 1891

Box 2: September 7, 1999 - April 30, 1895

Box 3: April 30, 1895 - July 14, 1897

Box 4: July 1, 1897 - Nov. 12, 1898

Box 5: Nov. 12, 1898 - March 3, 1900

Box 6: March 1, 1900 - Nov. 28, 1900

Box 7: Nov. 28, 1900 - May 19, 1902

Box 8: May 19, 1902 - March 28, 1903

Box 9: March 28, 1903 - Feb. 13, 1904

Box 10: Feb. 31, 1904 - Oct. 3, 1904

Box 11: Oct. 4, 1904 - June 26, 1905

Box 12: June 26, 1905 - March 28, 1906

Box 13: March 27, 1906 - Oct. 17, 1906

Box 14: Oct. 15, 1906 - May 23, 1907

Box 15: May 24, 1907 - Dec. 6, 1907

Box 16: Dec. 6, 1907 - June 6, 1908

Box 17: June 9, 1908 - Jan. 13, 1909

Box 18: Jan. 13, 1909 - July 8, 1909

Box 19: July 9, 1909 - Feb. 8, 1910

Box 20: Feb. 8, 1910 - July 18, 1910

Box 21: July 18, 1910 - Jan. 11, 1911

Box 22: Jan 11, 1911 - May 16, 1911

Box 23: May 16, 1911 - Oct. 12, 1911

Box 24: Oct. 21, 1911 - May 22, 1912

Box 25: March 22, 1912 - Aug. 14, 1912

Box 26: Aug. 14, 1912 - Feb. 1, 1913

Box 27: Jan. 31, 1913 - July 16, 1913

Box 28: July 14, 1913 - Dec. 11, 1913

Box 29: Dec. 11, 1913 - May 9, 1914

Box 30: May 9, 1914 - Sept. 30, 1914

Box 31: Sept. 30, 1914 - Feb. 5, 1915

Box 32: Feb. 5, 1915 - June 3, 1915

Box 33: June 3, 1915 - Sept. 28, 1915

Box 34: Sept. 28, 1915 - Jan. 21, 1916

Box 35: Jan. 19, 1916 - April 21, 1916

Box 36: April 21, 1916 - Aug. 24, 1916

Box 37: Aug. 25, 1916 - Dec. 18, 1916

Box 38: Dec. 18, 1916 - April 17, 1917

Box 39: April 17, 1917 - Aug. 29, 1917

Box 40: Aug. 29, 1917 - Jan. 30, 1918

Box 41: Jan. 30, 1918 - May 25, 1918

Box 42: May 27, 1918 - Oct. 17, 1918

Box 43: Oct. 17, 1918 - March 18, 1919

Box 44: March 18, 1919 - July 23, 1919

Box 45: July 24, 1919 - Feb. 7, 1920

Box 46: Feb. 7, 1920 - July 19, 1920

Box 47: July 19, 1920 - March 18, 1921

Box 48: March 19, 1921 - Aug. 13, 1922

Box 49: Aug. 6, 1921 - March 13, 1922

Box 50: March 13, 1922 - July 10, 1922

Box 51: July 10, 1922 - March 14, 1923

Box 52: March 14, 1923 - Aug. 25, 1923

Box 53: Aug. 27, 1923 - Jan. 11, 1924

Box 54: Jan. 11, 1924 - April 21, 1924

Box 55: April 21, 1924 - July 17, 1924

Box 56: July 17, 1924 - Dec. 2, 1924

Box 57: Dec. 2, 1924 - April 8, 1925

Box 58: April 8, 1925 - July 2, 1925

Box 59: July 3, 1925 - Nov. 10, 1925

Box 60: Nov. 9, 1925 - March 20, 1926

Box 61: March 20, 1926 - June 8, 1926

Box 62: June 8, 1926 - Sept. 27, 1926

Box 63: Sept. 28, 1926 - Feb. 11, 1927

Box 64: Feb. 11, 1927 - May 26, 1927

Box 65: May 20, 1927 - September 22, 1927

Box 66: Sept. 23, 1927 - Feb. 11, 1928

Box 67: Feb. 11, 1928 - May 22, 1928

Box 68: May 22, 1928 - Sept. 19, 1928

Box 69: Sept. 21, 1928 - Feb. 3, 1929

Box 70: Feb. 3, 1929 - May 25, 1929

Box 71: May 14, 1929 - Aug. 21, 1929

Box 72: Aug. 22, 1929 - Dec. 19, 1929

Box 73: Dec. 20, 1929 - April 8, 1930

Box 74: April 8, 1930 - July 29, 1930

Box 75: July 30, 1930 - May 2, 1931

Box 76: May 2, 1931 - Sept. 11, 1931; Feb. 10, 1933 - Aug. 12, 1933

The following boxes (77 - 80) are assorted miscellaneous boxes of Correspondence from H.H.S. dating from February 1, 1923 - March 3, 1928.  The materials often span up to two years. 

Box 77: Feb. 1, 1923 - Sept. 13, 1924

Box 78: Oct. 1, 1924 - Jan. 27, 1926

Box 79: Jan. 29, 1926 - March 7 ,1927

Box 80: March 7, 1927 - March 3, 1928

The following boxes (81 - 86) are private boxes of Correspondence from H.H.S. from July 16, 1895 - July 10, 1928. These boxes are available for use by patrons.

Box 81: July 16, 1895 - June 21, 1899

Box 82: Jan. 1, 1899 - March 17, 1906  

Box 83: March 17, 1906 - Oct. 15, 1910

Box 84: Oct. 15, 1910 - Feb. 11, 1913

Box 85: Feb. 11, 1913 - Jan. 7, 1918

Box 86: Jan. 25, 1918 - July 10, 1928

The following boxes (87 - 106) are Official Correspondence Received by H.H.S. from the date January 1, 1879 - 1919.

Box 87:  Jan. 1, 1879 - July 31, 1888

Box 88: Aug. 1, 1888 - May 31, 1889

Box 89: June 3, 1889 - Sept. 30, 1890

Box 90: Oct. 1, 1890 - Oct. 25, 1892

Box 91: Nov. 1, 1892 - Dec. 30, 1893

Box 92: Jan. 1, 1894 - May 31, 1894

Box 93: June 1, 1894 - March 30, 1895

Box 94: April 1, 1895 - Oct. 31, 1895

Box 95: Nov. 1, 1895 - June 30, 1896

Box 96: July 2, 1896 - May 31, 1897

Box 97: June 1, 1897 - April 30, 1898

Box 98: May 1, 1898 - Dec. 31, 1898; Undated 1898

Box 99: Jan. 2, 1899 - Feb. 28, 1901

Box 100: March 1, 1901 - April 30, 1901

Box 101: May 1, 1901 - June 30, 1901

Box 102: July 1, 1901 - Sept. 30, 1901

Box 103: Oct. 1, 1901 - Dec. 31, 1901; Undated 1901 #2

Box 104: Jan. 1, 1902 - Dec. 22, 1903; Undated 1904

Box 105: Jan. 2, 1905 - July 31, 1907

Box 106: Aug. 2, 1907 - July 26, 1912; Undated 1911 - 1912; Random Papers from 1913, 1917, and 1919

The following boxes (107 - 111) are Board of Education from the date January 1, 1916 - May 1, 1928. 

Box 107: Jan. 1, 1916 - Aug. 24, 1917

Box 108: Aug. 24, 1917 - Dec. 29, 1919

Box 109: Jan. 6, 1920 - July 8, 1922

Box 110: July 8, 1922 - Dec. 10, 1924

Box 111: Dec. 10, 1924 - May 1, 1928

The following boxes (112 - 134) are Copies of Correspondence from the date January 1, 1916 - May 1, 1928. 

Box 112: Oct. 28, 1885 - April 28, 1890

Box 113: May 1, 1890 - April 29, 1893

Box 114: May 1, 1893 - Aug. 30, 1894

Box 115: Sept. 3, 1894 - Jan. 31, 1895

Box 116: Feb. 1, 1896 - Aug. 30, 1897

Box 117: Sept. 2, 1897 - Aug. 30, 1898

Box 118: Sept. 1, 1898 - Aug. 30, 1900

Box 119: Sept. 1, 1900 - Oct. 31, 1901

Box 120: Nov. 1, 1901 - Dec. 28, 1903

Box 121: Jan. 1, 1904 - Aug. 29, 1905

Box 122: Sept. 1, 1905 - Feb. 26, 1907

Box 123: March 2, 1907 - Dec. 31, 1908

Box 124: Jan. 2, 1909 - Sept. 29, 1910

Box 125: Oct. 3, 1910 - Dec. 22, 1911

Box 126: Jan. 2, 1912 - Oct. 31, 1912

Box 127: Nov. 1, 1912 - March 31, 1913

Box 128: April 1, 1913 - April 30, 1914

Box 129: May 1, 1914 - Feb. 27, 1915

Box 130: March 2, 1915 - Dec. 31, 1915

Box 131: Jan. 3, 1916 - Dec. 30, 1916

Box 132: Jan. 2, 1917 - Feb. 20, 1918

Box 133: March 1, 1918 - May 31, 1919

Box 134: June 2, 1919 - Aug. 14, 1928

The following boxes (135 - 136) are Copies of Correspondence from H.H.S. to the Board of Education

Box 135: 1888 - 1907

Box 136: Miscellaneous Correspondence

The following boxes (137 - 144) are Addresses and Reports from the date 1905 - 1928. 

Box 137: 1905 - 1912

Box 138: 1913 - 1922

Box 139: 1922 - 1928

Box 140: 1885 - 1928

Box 141: 1891 - 1922

Box 142: 1884 - 1928; Undated

Box 143: Fringe Benefits, Senator Funk to the Board of Education

Box 144: 1886 - 1999; Undated

The following boxes (145 - 146) are Newspaper Clipping Scrapbooks from the date 1895 - 1921. 

Box 145: 1895 - 1921

Box 146: 1895 - 1921

Oversize

  • Newspaper clippings (corresponds with Box 144)
  • Thanksgiving Proclamations
  • Class of Size Statistics

 

Bibliography

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield and Student Assistant Katie Currier, September 2020. Updated by Tessa Wakefield, October 2021.