Pelzer family papers, 1904-1962


7 linear ft (13 boxes).
1 scrapbook.
Arranged in 6 series: 1. Louis Pelzer, 1904-1946. 2. Mildred Pelzer, 1912-1962. 3. Henry Louis Pelzer, 1934-1945. 4. L. Parker Pelzer, 1928-1944. 5. Photographs, 1910s-1950s. 6. Artifacts, 1920-1944.
The Pelzer collection documents the lives of an Iowa City family over the first half of the 20th century. The collection is especially remarkable for its documentation of Pelzer's career at the University of Iowa, the World War II letters written by the Pelzer sons, and the numerous photographs of family and Iowa City. The papers pertaining to Louis Pelzer include notes for writings and teaching, student notebooks, correspondence, materials from the Hultzen-Townsend and athletics department investigations, and some of his writings about the American West, Iowa history, Stephen Watts Kearny, the cattle industry, soldiers in the nineteenth century, and the Dodge family. Mildred Pelzer's papers include biographical materials, correspondence, legal and financial records, clippings, brochures, speeches, writings, etc. related to her art career and a scrapbook devoted to the 1936-1937 activities of the fine arts department of the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs. The papers of Henry Louis Pelzer and L. Parker Pelzer include war time correspondence with their parents and earlier miscellaneous school papers and memorabilia saved by Mildred. The subjects of the photographs include family members, residences and vacations, artwork, and various undated and unidentified people and places.
Members of the Pelzer family lived and worked in Iowa City from the early 1900s through the World War II era. Louis Pelzer came to the University of Iowa in 1903 as a graduate student studying history. He worked as a research assistant to Benjamin Shambaugh at the State Historical Society of Iowa. After completing his degree he took a position at the Montana State Normal College where he met his future wife, Mildred Weenink. In 1911 Louis returned to the University of Iowa as an American history instructor. Mildred completed her degree in art and began working as an art teacher. The couple was married in 1917, a union which produced two sons, Lorne Parker and Henry Louis. Both sons died in service to their country during World War II. Louis Pelzer 's areas of scholarly interest included the American west (particularly the development of the cattle industry), Iowa history and biography. Professional service contributions included editing the Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1941-1946); serving as a member of the Iowa Territorial Centennial Commission (1938); chairing an American Association of University Professors investigation into the dismissal of a University of Missouri professor (the Hultzen-Townsend investigation, 1941-1945); and working on the University of Iowa's behalf to get it re-instated into the Big Ten Conference following athletics rules violations. Mildred pursued her career as an artist, painting and teaching art classes. She gained local attention for a series of murals painted in the lobby of Iowa City's Jefferson Hotel. She was active in the fine arts department of the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs. After the death of Louis she re-married (1952) and moved to Florida.
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Pelzer family papers, 1904-1962. Ms109. Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
Inventory in repository.

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