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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Nile C. Kinnick Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1935-1991
Creator: Kinnick, Nile C. (1918-1943)
Extent: 6.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0112
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Student leader, scholar, and athlete from Iowa. Correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, speeches, photographs, articles, etc.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Boxes 2, 3, and 3a; Film/Video in Box 4; Audio Material in Boxes 4 and 4a; Ephemera in Box 6.

Access: This collection is open for research. However, any photocopying from this collection must be done by staff members.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The bulk of the papers of Nile C. Kinnick was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by his parents, Mrs. Frances Clarke Kinnick in 1959, and Nile C. Kinnick, Sr. from 1972 to 1977. Professor Baender donated some of his materials from writing his book about Kinnick, A Hero Perished.

Preferred Citation: Nile C. Kinnick Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

The oldest of Frances Clarke and Nile Clark Kinnick's three boys, Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. was born in Adel, Iowa, on July 9, 1918. The Kinnick boys were all raised to be achievers, and were expected to do their best at whatever they attempted. Their father was a farm manager in Adel, and their maternal grandfather, George W. Clarke, was once governor of Iowa. With the depression came hard times, and the Kinnick family was forced to move to Omaha, Nebraska. It was from Omaha that Nile, Jr. graduated from high school with straight As. However, Kinnick was not only a gifted student, he excelled in sports leading his teams to many a state championship.
 
Nile Kinnick's college career at the University of Iowa was remarkable. As a freshman he was on the baseball, basketball, and football teams. In his sophomore year he dropped baseball and by the time he was a junior, football was his only sport. Nile Kinnick was the backbone of Iowa's victorious Ironmen 1939 football squad. When he was a senior he won all of the major football awards, including the Hiesman trophy and the Maxwell award. In 1939, he was named Athlete of the Year by national sportswriters. Notwithstanding his gridiron successes, Nile Kinnick was much more than a great athlete. He was also a student scholar and leader. He was elected senior class president for the College of Liberal Arts. A Phi Beta Kappa, he graduated in 1940, with a BA in Commerce. Then, refusing draft offers from the National Football League, he entered law school aiming at a career in politics, like his grandfather. A young Republican, Kinnick spent time campaigning for Wendell Willkie. After a year in law school (standing third in his class), Kinnick enlisted in the Navy Air Corps Reserve. He was called to active duty three days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
 
Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. died on June 2, 1943, after his plane developed mechanical difficulties and was ditched in the Gulf of Paria. Neither the plane nor his body was ever recovered. Nile Kinnick was twenty-four years old. The Iowa City Gazette reported on January 29, 2003, that Kinnick's F4-F Wildcat plane had been located -- but not salvaged -- five miles off the coast of Venezuela by the brother of a Kinnick teammate.

The papers of Nile C. Kinnick consist of four linear feet of manuscripts arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence dating from 1926 to 1991. The subject files include clippings about Kinnick's career, death, scholarship funds, etc.; essays and speeches he wrote or delivered; correspondence; scrapbooks; photographs; and tape recordings. The correspondence includes letters written by Kinnick from 1935 to 1943. These letters from college and from the war, were written primarily to his parents, although some correspondence with friends is included. The diaries were kept by Kinnick during the war. Together, these letters and diaries were used for the book, A Hero Perished: the Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick, which was edited by Paul Baender and published by the University of Iowa Press in 1991. The manuscript of this book is now part of the Kinnick papers. The three scrapbooks in the collection were compiled by Nile Kinnick, Sr., they date from September 1936 to April 1975, and include clippings relating to Nile, Jr. from football games, award speeches, etc. Photographs include pictures of Kinnick (from childhood, through college, and in the Navy), the "Ironmen" team and coaches, football games, award ceremonies, and friends. Where there is a negative for the photo included in the collection, this is noted by the word "negative" in brackets following the entry. Finally, there are tape recordings of interviews with Kinnick.
Leaving the Home Front by Jay Karr, neighbor who grew up with Nile Kinnick in Adel, Iowa.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL
Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 3: MEDIA
Series 4: ADDENDA
Series 5: SCRAPBOOKS

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Trading card plus photo and negative; explanation in Box 1, folder 17, Stuart Letters file
  • Correspondence - 1935-1938
  • Correspondence: January - June - 1939
  • Correspondence: July - December - 1939
  • Correspondence: August-December - 1940
  • Correspondence: January - May - 1940
  • Correspondence: August-December - 1940
  • Correspondence: January - December - 1941
  • Correspondence: January - May - 1942
  • Correspondence: June - August - 1942
  • Correspondence: September - November - 1942
  • Correspondence: December - February - 1942-1943
  • Correspondence: March - October - 1943
  • Correspondence - 1945-1946
  • Correspondence concerning Nile Kinnick - 1943-1997
  • Letter to Kinnick from Tait Cummins, January 22 - 1940
    2003 Addendum
  • Stuart Letters from various people, concerning Nile Kinnick
  • Letters to Judge Stuart
  • From Derald Stump, April 3 - 1972
  • From Derald Stump, November 10 - 1972
  • From Derald Stump, April 2 - 1974
  • To Paul Baender, April 23 - 1990
  • Box 2:
  • Diary, Volume 1. December 3-February 25 - 1941-1942
  • Diary, Volume 2. February 26-September 1 - 1942
  • Diary, Volume 3. January 1-June 2 - 1943
  • Essays, speeches, and thoughts - 1935-1947
  • Material on the crash of Nile Kinnick's airplane
  • News clippings about Kinnick's career and death, June 5-November 5 - 1943
  • News clippings about Kinnick, November, December; February, March, September - 1939, 1940
  • News clippings and magazine articles, some undated - 1939-1994
  • Kinnick-Feller Historical Marker - 1964
  • Miscellaneous printed materials, including photograph of Sports Action comic book cover, January, No. 5.
  • News clippings about the Nile Kinnick Fund and Scholarships - 1944-1948
  • Kinnick High School in Japan
  • Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 3:
  • Assorted individual photographs of Kinnick, nos. 1-10a. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Hand in pocket, no. 1 [negative], May 3 - 1940
  • Hands behind back, no. 2 [negative] May 3 - 1940
  • In letterman's jacket, no. 3 [negative]
  • In letterman's jacket, no. 3a [negative only] - 1940
  • In front of Old Capitol, no. 4 [negative]
  • In sweatshirt with a football, no. 5 [negative]
  • Sitting on Old Capitol steps, view 1, no. 6 [negative]
  • Sitting on Old Capitol steps, view 2, no. 7 [negative]
  • Bouncing basketball, "Nile Kinnick, University of Iowa guard" on verso; no. 7a [negative]
  • In basketball uniform, no. 7b [negative only]
  • Portrait (2 copies), no. 8-9 [negative]
  • Portrait, no. 9a [negative only] - 1938
  • Portrait, not smiling, no. 9b [negative only] - 1940
  • Portrait, slight smile, no. 9c [negative only] - 1940
  • With papers in hand in front of Old Capitol, no. 10 [negative]
  • In turtleneck, holding football, no. 10a [negative]
  • Assorted photographs of Kinnick with others, nos. 11-19d. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Graduation procession formation, no. 11 [negative] August - 1940
  • Kiss from Mary Jane Walsh, no. 12 [negative]
  • Kinnick and Barbara Miller, view 1, no. 13 [negative] - 1940
  • Kinnick and Barbara Miller, view 2, no. 14 [negative] - 1940
  • Kinnick and Barbara Miller, view 3, no. 15 [negative] - 1940
  • Kinnick and Barbara Miller, view 4, no. 15a [negative] - 1940
  • Proofs with Barbara Miller; Kinnick ready to pass the football, no. 16 - 1940
  • Kinnick with Eddie Anderson at pep rally with Kinnick as emcee, no. 17 [negative]. Fall - 1940
  • With Mary Jane Walsh (left) and Katherine Walsh (right), no. 18 [negative]
  • Kinnick and Jim Harris, Line Coach, with "Rose of Floydsdale" (live pig), present to Nile from American Legion, no. 19 [negative]
  • With bust, in profile, no. 19a [negative]
  • With bust and sculptor, Mrs. Edward (Doris) Mason, wife of SUI Journalism professor , no. 19b [negative]
  • With students at pep meeting, Old Capitol steps, after Hawkeye victory over Notre Dame, no. 19c [negative]
  • With Adel Jr. High basketball team, no. 19d [negative only] - 1931
  • Photographs of awards and ceremonies, nos. 20-35. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • All-American Award, with trophy and sweater, no. 20 [negative]
  • All-American Award presentation with Mr. Christy Walsh (left) and an unknown gentleman, no. 21 [negative]
  • All-American Award, showing award to "Rip" Collins. Autographed by Collins; no. 22 [negative], December 9 - 1939
  • All-American Captain's Cup, view 1, no. 23 [negative]. May 3 - 1940
  • All-American Captain's Cup, view 2, no. 24 [negative]. May 3 - 1940
  • Showing All-American sweater and blanket at home, two views, no. 24a [negatives only]
  • Heisman Award. Kinnick and Eddie Anderson with welcome sign from Downtown Athletic Club, view 1, no. 25 [negative] - 1939
  • Heisman Award. Kinnick and Eddie Anderson with welcome sign from Downtown Athletic Club, view 2, no. 26 [negative] - 1939
  • Heisman Award. Kinnick with the trophy, no. 27 [negative] - 1939
  • Heisman Award. Kinnick with the trophy (close-up), no. 28 [negative] - 1939
  • Heisman Award. Presentation, no. 29 [negative] - 1939
  • Heisman Award, Proofs #1-6, no. 30-35 [negatives] - 1939
  • Photographs of awards and ceremonies, nos. 36-45d. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Iowa Award Ceremony. Left to right: Nile, Frank Luther Mott, Eddie Anderson, Edwin Prasse, no. 36 [negative]
  • Iowa Award Ceremony, Proofs #1-2, no. 37-38 [negatives] - 1939
  • Iowa Award Ceremony and Heisman Award Ceremony, Proofs, no. 39 [negatives] - 1939
  • Maxwell Trophy. Window display, no. 40 [negative]
  • Tribune Football Award presentation, with Wilford Smith of Chicago Tribune, no. 41 [negative] - 1939
  • Kinnick with 1939 Trophies, no. 42 [negative]
  • Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Grandmother Clarke, view 1 , no. 43 [negative]
  • Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Grandmother Clarke, view 2, no. 44
  • Kinnick with 1939 Trophies and Mr. and Mrs. Nile Kinnick, Sr. and Coach Eddie Anderson, no. 45 [negative]
  • Kinnick with 1939 Trophies, no. 45a [negative]
  • National Football Hall of Fame award, two views, no. 45b [slide only]. September 25 - 1954
  • National Football Hall of Fame award, President Virgil Hancher, Duke Slater, Kinnick, Sr., two views, no. 45c [slide only]
  • National Football Hall of Fame award, no. 45d [slide and negative]
  • Family Photographs, nos. 46-50a. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Kinnick. Age 6, holding a football, no. 46 [negative]
  • Kinnick, with cousins. Left to right: Elizabeth Van Meter, Elsie, Nile, Portia Clarke, Kingsley, Ben Kinnick, Clarke Van Meter, no. 46a [photocopy only]
  • Kinnick coaching football to children in Adel, Iowa, no. 47 [negative] - 1940
  • Kinnick selling newspapers. Photocopy of newspaper Kinnick is holding, no. 48 [negative] - 1928
  • Kinnick with father and brothers, Ben and George, no. 49 [negative]
  • Kinnick with mother and brothers on the porch swing in Adel , no. 50 [negative]. Summer - 1933
  • Kinnick with mother and brothers. Nile and Ben in a game of "Four in a Row" before Ben goes out on a date, no. 50a [negative] - 1936
  • Football Photographs, nos. 51-64. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. - 1939
  • At Benton High School Practice Field, no. 51 [negative]
  • Black and white portrait, with football, autographed, no. 52 [negative]. See also black and white #16 and color #56.
  • "Boots in Bronze," Academy of Sport, World's Fair, New York City, no. 53 [negative]
  • Bronzed Football Boot, no. 54 [negative]
  • Kinnick carrying the football, no. 55 [negative]
  • Color portrait, no. 56. See also black and white #52 [negative and unmounted slides]
  • Kinnick in black uniform, no. 57 [negative]
  • Kinnick in black uniform; action shot, no. 58 [negative]
  • Kinnick in black uniform; action shots, proofs, no. 59 [negatives] MISSING
  • Kinnick in black uniform, holding football, no. 60 [negative]
  • Kinnick in black uniform, portrait, no. 61 [negative]
  • Kinnick in black uniform, holding football, held in air by Jim Kelly and Henry Luebcke, no. 62 [negative]
  • Kinnick in black uniform. Proof of action shots, no. 63.
  • Kinnick. Kicking practice. Short wire story on his passing and kicking at bottom of photograph; no. 64 [negative]. Dated October 10 - 1939
  • Football Photographs, no. 65. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. - 1939
  • Kinnick. Miscellaneous football shots. Proofs, no. 65 [negatives for all except T and Z; negative for R, see #71; negative for Y, see #57].
  • Football Photographs, no. 66-78. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. - 1939
  • Kinnick. Miscellaneous proofs with Frank Carideo, no. 66 [negatives for except #451-45]
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 1, no. 67.
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 2, no. 68.
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 3, no. 69. - 1939
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 4, proofs, no. 70 - 1939
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 5, no. 71 [negative]
  • Kinnick running with football, in practice clothes, view 6, no 72. Same as 65-R print and 71 negative. [negative]
  • Kinnick signing autographs, no. 73 [negative] - 1939
  • Kinnick warming up before Northwestern game, no. 74 [negative]
  • Kinnick with Coach Eddie Anderson prior to Iowa-Northwestern game, no. 75 [negative]. November 24 - 1939
  • Kinnick with Erwin Prasse and Floyd of Rosedale Trophy, no. 76 [negative]
  • Kinnick with coach Frank Carideo, two autographed prints, view 1, no. 77 [negative]
  • Kinnick with coach Frank Carideo, view 2, no. 77a [negative]
  • University of Iowa Varsity football squad, no. 78 [negative] - 1939
  • Iowa vs. Indiana. Kinnick carrying the ball, no. 79 [negative]
  • Iowa vs. Minnesota. Proofs, 13 prints, no. 80 [3 negatives]
  • Iowa vs. Minnesota. Kinnick carrying the ball, no. 81 [2 negatives]
  • Iowa vs. Minnesota. View of Iowa Stadium, no. 82 [negative]
  • Box 3a:
  • Football Photographs: Iowa vs. Notre Dame football; photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. November 11 - 1939
  • Kinnick carrying the ball, view 1, no. 83 [negative]
  • Kinnick carrying the ball, view 2, no. 84 [negative]
  • Kinnick to intercept pass, no. 84a [negative]
  • Kinnick kicking point after, no. 85 [negative]
  • Kinnick punting from behind the goal line, no. 86 [negative]
  • Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 1, no. 87 [negative]
  • Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 2, no. 88 [negative]
  • Kinnick scoring touchdown, view 3, no. 89; [two different negatives]
  • Kinnick to intercept pass, no. 90
  • Proofs of 6 prints, no. 91 [three negatives]
  • Nile Kinnick, Sr. at renaming of Iowa Stadium to "Kinnick Stadium." Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. October 7 - 1972
  • Nile Kinnick, Sr. on the field, no. 92 [negative]
  • Nile Kinnick, Sr. and "Bump" Elliot, no. 93
  • Stadium renaming ceremony, nos. 931-93e [negatives only]
  • Navy Photographs, nos. 94a-102d. No. 103 is in Box 3b. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Kinnick in dress whites, no. 94a [negative]
  • Book cover, A Hero Perished, no. 94b
  • Kinnick (smiling) in flight suit standing by airplane. Fairfax Field, Kansas, no. 95 [negative] January - 1942
  • Kinnick (not smiling) in flight suit standing by airplane. Fairfax Field, Kansas, no. 96 [negative] January - 1942
  • Kinnick in flight suit, flight training. Fairfax Field, Kansas, no. 97 [negative]
  • Kinnick in flight suit, climbing out of airplane, no. 98 [negative]
  • Kinnick in Navy uniform, no. 99 [negative]
  • Kinnick in uniform, with Bob Hobbs, no. 100 [negative]
  • Kinnick in uniform, with Bob Hobbs and Louise Clark, no. 101 [negative]
  • Squadron 16, SS Lexington; names on verso of photograph; no. 102 [negative] - 1943
  • Split photo with Kinnick on left half; two soldiers on right half, nos. 102a and 102b. Squadron 16, SS Lexington [negative]
  • Kinnick in uniform, studying in his room, no. 102c [negative]
  • Elimination base classmates, Kansas City, Kansas, including names on verso of photograph. No. 102d [negative] February 2 - 1942
  • Photographs of other people, nos. 104-107. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • Coach Eddie Anderson, view 1, no. 104 [negative]
  • Coach Eddie Anderson, view 2, no. 105. Verso: "For Nile Kinnick"
  • Jim George, wearing baseball uniform, no. 106
  • Robert Hobbs, with Louise Clarke Hobbs, no. 106a (color)
  • Robert (Bob) Hobbs as young man, with group (second from left), no. 106b [negative]
  • Ben Kinnick, wearing flight gear standing next to plane, no. 107 [negative]
  • Photocopies of Pensacola Flight Class 2B 42-PC from the "Flight Jacket," from R.A. Hobbs; typed poem and letter from Louis Ledbetter to Paul Baender.
  • Photographs of sites in Adel, nos. 108-114. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted. - 1990
  • Adel Primary School, no. 108 - 1990
  • Charles F. Clarke home, no. 109 - 1990
  • Dallas County Courthouse, no. 110 - 1990
  • George N. Clarke (grandfather) home, no. 111 - 1990
  • Kinnick home, no. 112 - 1990
  • Mitchell Motor Company, no. 113 - 1990
  • Pavilion, Riverside Park, no. 114 - 1990
  • Miscellaneous photographs, no. 115-121. Photographs exist for each of the following, unless otherwise noted.
  • George W. Clarke, Governor of Iowa, 1913-1917, no. 115 [negative]
  • Page from Kinnick's diary, no. 116 [negative]
  • Nile in cap and gown with parents, Benson High School graduation, Omaha, no. 117 [negative] - 1936
  • Newspaper photograph: Nile in tux with coach Eddie Anderson and girlfriend Virginia Eskridge, drinking milk at the Kit Kat Club, no. 118 [negative]
  • Newspaper column, "the Voice of Broadway," mentions Kinnick and Eskridge, no. 119 [negative]
  • Portrait of unidentified woman #1, no. 120 [negative]
  • Portrait of unidentified woman #2, no. 121 [negative]
  • Photographs and negatives, duplicates; 49 pieces
  • Negatives from childhood through high school album, 34 pieces (black album)
  • Negatives from childhood through high school album with newspaper clippings, 8 pieces (brown album)
  • Program. The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award; autographed by Kinnick. December 6 - 1939
  • University of Iowa. Court of the State University of Iowa. Three briefs from mock trials in which Nile Kinnick argued as a law student (?)
  • Black cover photograph album, childhood through high school.
  • Brown cover photograph album with newspaper clippings, childhood through high school.
  • Box 3b:
  • Cut-out photograph of Kinnick in his uniform, mounted on wood.
  • Series 3: MEDIA
  • Box 4:
  • One 7-inch master tape recording, 6 LPs, and four cassette tapes of the following:
  • Interview with Nile Kinnick and Merle Miller at WSUI, January 30 - 1940
  • Christy Walsh, tribute to Nile Kinnick at All-America Merit Card to Don Klosterman - 1951
  • All-Star interview with Nile Kinnick and Arch Ward prior to the All-Star game, August 27 - 1940
  • Heisman Memorial Trophy, at station WOR by Sidney Struble, December 6 - 1939
  • Nile Kinnick Heisman trophy speech
  • VHS video tapes
  • Iowa's Nile Kinnick--Earle Murphy. Footage of Kinnick playing football; campus pep rally; Kinnick receiving Heisman Memorial Trophy. Running time 10 minutes.
  • Football coaches and players. Running time 3 minutes; no sound. - 1937
  • Nile Kinnick: A Middle American Hero. ESPN Classic. Sports Century Show. Running time approximately 60 minutes (2 copies) May - 2001
  • DVD of the five audio tapes and first two VHS tapes.
  • Box 4a:
  • Negatives from various pages from oversized scrapbooks 1, 2, and 3.
  • "Fame of the Black and Gold" (originally released spring 1949). Sound, b/w. 11 min. Historical football game footage, including: 1921 (vs. Indiana; Duke Slater); 1948 (vs. Wisconsin, Minnesota); 1923, 1933 (vs. Northwestern); 1934 (vs. Northwestern; Ozzie Simmons); 1935 (vs. Illinois); 1939 (vs. Indiana, Notre Dame; Nile Kinnick); 1940 (vs. Notre Dame); 1942, 1945 (vs. Minnesota); 1946 (vs. Purdue); 1947 (vs. Indiana); 1949 (practice; Coach Eddie Anderson talking with visitors near Field House). - 1949, 2007, 2012
  • Series 4: ADDENDA
  • Sub-Series: 1993 Addendum
  • Box 5:
  • A Hero Perished: the Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick. Manuscript typewritten with corrections and revisions. Pages 1-164. Letters 1-21.
  • A Hero Perished. Pages 165-277. Letters 22-39.
  • A Hero Perished. Pages 278-367. Diary.
  • A Hero Perished. Pages 368-473. Diary and notes.
  • Box 6:
  • 1939 Memorial Trophy (2). Donated by Roseanne Pettit in memory of her husband in 1991. - 1991
  • Oversized portrait: portrait of Nile Kinnick--All American by Wendy Jo Schmidt.
    Shelved in uncataloged broadside drawer in Map Case.
  • Sub-Series: 2005 Addendum
  • Box 7:
  • 47 letters collected by Paul Baender in writing A Hero Perished
  • Supplement to A Hero Perished. Photocopy of typescript manuscript.
  • Sub-Series: 2010 Addendum
  • Box 7:
  • In the spring of 1997 the Spectator published a sidebar article about the possibility of a film being made about Nile Kinnick. In it the author stated that Kinnick led the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl in 1939. This generated many letters to the editor, as Iowa did not go to the Rose Bowl in 1939 as there was a Big Ten Conference rule against any post-season games for Big Ten teams, which wasn't lifted until the late 1940s. The article also stated that he flew a fighter plane which generated some mail stating that he flew a torpedo bomber. Some of the letters contain anecdotes from classmates or people who served in the armed forces with him. This file was donated to the collection by the Office of University Relations.
  • Series 5: SCRAPBOOKS
  • Book 1. September - November 26 - 1936-1939
  • Book 2. November 27-December 31 - 1939-1942
  • Book 3. June 5-April 20 - 1943-1975