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Home / Our Collections / Special Collections & University Archives / University Archives / Robert J. Waller Collection, ca. 1980-1997

Robert J. Waller Collection, ca. 1980-1997


Title: Robert J. Waller Collection

Archives Record Series: 16/01/15

Creator: Robert J. Waller

Date: ca. 1980-1997

Extent: 1.043 linear feet, 3 boxes

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Northern Iowa

Language: This material is entirely in English.

Access and use: There are no restrictions on this material, although the typescript of The Bridges of Madison County must be handled with care. Some material is recorded on outdated technology, such as VHS and cassette tapes. These have not been digitalized or transcribed.

Preferred citation: [Identification of item] in the Robert J. Waller Collection, Archives Record Series 16/01/15, [folder number], University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Scope and content: Most of this material concerns Dr. Waller in relation to his writing of The Bridges of Madison County. These are in the form of newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and taped interviews. Box 3 contains the typescript of the manuscript for The Bridges of Madison County with some handwritten notes by Dr. Waller. The only non-Bridges related material are three unpublished items, two essays on economics and a book-length nonfiction piece.

Historical Note:

Image result for robert james waller

        Robert Waller

Robert James Waller was born Aug. 1, 1939, in Rockford, Iowa. He graduated from UNI in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree, and with his master’s degree in 1968.

He taught economics and decision theory at the University of Northern Iowa for 22 years, serving for six years as business school dean.

Dr. Waller also an author. His most famous book, The Bridges of Madison County, has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and is published in 40 languages. It spent more than three years on the New York Times bestsellers list. In 2014, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical opened in New York City.

Prior to Bridges, he wrote three non-fiction books and a collection of personal essays.

In 2015, Waller donated the original manuscript of Bridges to his alma mater (present in this collection). The manuscript contains the author’s personal notes and annotations and was originally published in 1992. It is housed in the Rod Library’s special collections and university archives at UNI.

In 2012, Waller made a seven-figure gift to his alma mater. The exact amount was not disclosed.

The gift was directed as the Robert James Waller Scholarship in Economics, an annually funded full tuition and fees scholarship for a student majoring in economics; the Robert James Waller Professorship in Economics, the Robert James Waller College of Business Faculty Enrichment fund and the Charles T. Leavitt Scholarship in Economics. He also provided support for jazz scholarships and Honors Program.

Dr. Waller published additional bestsellers, including Slow Waltz at Cedar Bend in 1993, followed by Border Music and Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. A Thousand County Roads — An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County was published in 2002, followed by High Plains Tango.

Robert Waller died on March 10, 2017.



Folder 1: Magazines with articles about Dr. Waller and The Bridges of Madison County

Folder 2:

  • Book-length nonfiction manuscript, apparently unpublished, Going Soft Upon the Land and Down Along the Rivers, ca. 1980
  • Newspaper clippings about Dr. Waller and The Bridges of Madison County

Folder 3: Newspaper clippings about Dr. Waller and The Bridges of Madison County

Folder 4:

  • Newspaper clippings about Dr. Waller and The Bridges of Madison County
  • Essay, "Interpretive Structural Modeling: An Informal Introduction to a Useful Idea," 1986
  • Essay, "Interpretive Structural Modeling: An Introduction to the Foundations, Method, and applications of a Useful Idea," uncertain date.


Folder 1:

  • CBS interview of Dr. Waller by Charles Kuralt, 1993 (VHS tape)
  • NBC interview of Dr. Waller for the Today Show, 1993 (VHS tape)
  • The Ballads of Madison County, 1993 (cassette tape of Dr. Waller's songs)


This box contains the typescript manuscript of The Bridges of Madison County.

Folder 1: Author's note

Folder 2: Chapter One, "Robert Kincaid"

Folder 3: Chapter Two, "Francesca"

Folder 4: Chapter Three, "Ancient Evenings, Distant Music"

Folder 5: Chapter Four, "The Bridges of Tuesday"

Folder 6: Chapter Five, "Room to Dance Again"

Folder 7: Chapter Six, "The Highway and the Peregrine"

Folder 8: Chapter Seven, "Ashes"

Folder 9: Chapter Eight, "A Letter from Francesca"

Folder 10: Chapter Nine, "The Tacoma Nighthawk"

Folder 11: Appraisal of manuscript's worth (2 copies)

Folder 12: News clippings about the Broadway musical of The Bridges of Madison County

Collection processed by Library Associate Dave Hoing, September 2017. Updated October 2017 (dh).

Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives 
University of Northern Iowa 
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675 
Telephone: (319)-273-7295
Fax: (319)-273-2913 


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