James Cleland Gilchrist. Papers, 1876-1975

Collection Overview

Title: James Cleland Gilchrist. Papers, 1876-1975

Record Series: 02/01/01

Creator: James Cleland Gilchrist

Date: 1876-1975

Extent: 1.46 linear feet, 5 boxes

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

Language: This material is entirely in English.

Access and Use

Accessing the Collection:

There are no restrictions on the use of this material.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item] in the James Cleland Gilchrist Papers, 1876-1975, Archives Record Series 02/01/01, [box and folder number], University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

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Historical Note

There is a brief biographical sketch of Gilchrist available as a Web document.

Scope and Content

This collection offers researchers a good look into the life and works of Iowa State Normal School's first administrator, James C. Gilchrist, whose title was principal, rather than president. It also includes reports and financial information from ISNS, as well as a list of books owned by Mr. Gilchrist.


Box 1

Reports and Addresses

  • "Normal schools--their origin and office," September 14, 1876 (I. S. N. S. inaugural address)
  • "Professional degrees for teachers," 1879 (N. E. A. address)
  • Examinations given, 1879
  • "Dominion and action," 1879
  • Normal schools survey, 1879
  • "What constitutes a normal school?" 1881
  • Normal schools survey, 1883
  • "Biography of Horace Mann," 1896
  • "Fourth of July oration," 1896
  • "Horace Mann," 1897
  • Class assignments, no date
  • "Educational errors of the people," no date
  • "Trend revolution," no date
  • "Intellectual freedom," no date
  • "Two stars--an allegory," no date
  • "What shall the rural school courses contain?" no date
  • "Worth of the soul," no date



  • With Gilchrist family, primarily from Irving Hart and A.C. Fuller to Maude Gilchrist
  • From Fred (son) and H.C. Gilchrist (wife)
  • Letter of recommendation for student from President Gilchrist, 1896
  • President Gilchrist to H.H. Seerley
  • President Gilchrist to Judge Edward H. Thayer (member of Normal governing board)
  • William C. Bryant to Edward H. Thayer
  • Regarding acquisition of the Thayer letters, 1960

Reports, publications, and personal material

  • Bureau of Education report, 1885
  • Earliest programs, brochures, and catalogues of I.S.N.S.
  • Birth affidavit, 1882
  • Gilchrist genealogical papers
  • Photocopy of photograph of president Gilchrist’s sisters, 1893
  • Kenneth James Gilchrist, great-great grandson of J.C. Gilchrist
  • History of Washington County, Pennsylvania, California University, California, Pennsylvania
  • History of Kossuth County, Iowa, 1913
  • Plat maps, Gilchrist land, Pocohontas County, Iowa
  • Obituaries of President Gilchrist
  • Normal Eyte, September 11, 1897, tributes to President Gilchrist
  • Normal Eyte, December 23, 1897, Gilchrist memorial
  • Gilchrist Hall dedication, 1975
  • Auction of Gilchrist cornerstone box contents
  • Alumnus article on Gilchrist Hall and response by Fred Gilchrist, son of President Gilchrist
  • The Palimpsest, May/June 1983, article by William C. Lang
  • Maude Gilchrist obituaries, 1952
  • Scrapbook, 1876-1886, apparently assembled by President Gilchrist containing papers, announcements, and brochures of I.S.N.S.


Lists of public subscribers to the fund to build Old Gilchrist Hall (originally South Hall), 1882, including the amount pledged.


Ledger, tax receipts, and other financial papers

Box 5

Books from the libraries of James Cleland Gilchrist and Fred C. Gilchrist.

Processing Information

Gilchrist biographical information assembled by College Archivist Irving Hart including correspondence, summaries, extracts from printed material, and personal recollections. Full collection processed by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson. Updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017 and February 2018. Linear Feet updated August 8, 2017.

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