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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Charles F. Horner Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1906-1925
Creator: Horner, Charles F. (1878-1967)
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0150.07
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Correspondence, book manuscript, clippings, incomplete brochures, talent prices having to do with traveling Chautauquas.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: In 1971 Bryan Horner, son of Charles F. Horner, sent a box containing correspondence from the early years of circuit Chautauqua to the University of Iowa Library.  According to Bryan Horner, many of the old files of the Redpath-Kansas City office were destroyed when the main building of the old Kansas City Horner Conservatory was razed.

Preferred Citation: Charles F. Horner 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

Charles F. Horner was born in Menomonie, Wisconsin, in 1878 and died in Kansas City in the early part of February 1967 at the age of 88. He is most famous for establishing the Redpath-Horner Chautauqua and Lyceum Bureau in 1906, which provided both educational and entertaining programs for hundreds of towns in the Midwest during the first third of the twentieth century. His programs featured many prominent speakers, such as William Jennings Bryan, Champ Clark, William Howard Taft, etc. A list of distinguished accomplishments include: founder of the Horner Institue of Fine Arts (1914), the Horner Junior college (1927), head of the speakers' bureau in both of Woodrow Wilson's campaigns, accepting an invitation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be executive assistant to the administrator of the National Recovery administration (1933), president of the National Aeronautics association, chairman of the Willkie clubs (1940), and chairman of the Herbert Hoover committee on food for small democracies (1940-41). He authored four books: Strike the Tents, The Story of the Chautauqua; The Life of James Redpath; The Road that Leads from Home and Other Poems; and a novel entitled, The Vanishing Prairie.

The manuscripts of Charles F. Horner contain twenty folders of correspondence, two folders of his writings, and one folder with clippings and two notebooks listing artists' salaries, their acts, and descriptions of lectures. The correspondence deals mainly with Chautauqua business material, including many letters to Keith Vawter.
Horner, Charles F. Strike the Tents, the Story of the Chautauqua, University of Iowa call number: x Collection LC6301C5H6

McCown, Robert A. "Records of the Redpath Chautauqua." from Books at Iowa. 19 (November 1973) Copyright: The University of Iowa.

Records of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, MsC 150 Please note the list of additional mini-collections of Chautauqua material at the end of the Redpath finding aid.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Newspaper clippings, including Charles Horner's obituary
  • Correspondence: A - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: B - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: C - 1906-1907; 1924
  • Correspondence: D; includes talent brochure for D. Webster Davis - 1904; 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: E - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: F - 1906
  • Correspondence: G - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: H; includes talent brochure for Rev. E.C. Horn - 1906-1907
  • Personal correspondence of Charles F. Horner - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: I-J-K - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: L - 1906-1907; 1925
  • Correspondence: M; some undated - 1907
  • Correspondence: N-O-P-Q - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: R - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: S - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: T - 1906-1907
  • Correspondence: U-V-W-X-Y-Z - 1906-1907; 1924
  • Correspondence: Redpath Lyceum Bureau, Keith Vawter; September-December - 1906
  • Correspondence: Redpath Lyceum Bureau, Keith Vawter; January-April - 1907
  • Correspondence: Redpath Lyceum Bureau, Keith Vawter; May-December; some undated - 1907
  • Speeches, Writings
  • Address delivered by Horner at the Tenth Anniversary of the Swarthmore Chautauqua Association. Philadelphia, January 7 - 1921
  • "Achievement", an Address by Charles F. Horner; June 14, [n.y.]
  • Manuscript: "People are Pretty Good" by Charles F. Horner
  • Talent Information - 1923-1925
  • Horner-Witte Concert Bureau; artists and price to engage them - 1924-1925
  • Correspondence between Charles Horner and Joan Reynolds about performers in Chautauqua. - 1958
  • Talent classification for the 1924-1925 season; December 27 - 1922
  • Brochure for Alta Vista 5 Day Chautauqua, starts August 29 - 1912
  • Single sheet advertisement for "Broadway Jones"; Ladies Philharmonic Orchestra on verso
  • Program for Dedication of the Memorial to William Jennings Bryan, May 3 - 1934
  • Optimist Club of Topeka, installment pledge; undated
  • Redpath-Horner Lyceum Bureau Official 1923-24 Lyceum Price List - 1923-1924
  • Redpath-Horner Lyceum Bureau Official 1924-25 Lyceum Price List - 1924-1925
  • Photograph of Redpath Managers, January 4 - 1912
    George Boyd, Harry Harrison, Crawford Peffer, Keith Vawter, Vernon Harrison, Charles Moore, R.A. Carson, Will McEwen, Charles Horner, Harry Dunbar, Theodore Graham, C.A. Shaw, A. Priest.

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Horner, Charles F. (Charles Francis), 1878-1967

20th century



Geographic Names:
United States -- Midwest

Genre/Form of Materials: