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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Harold McKeen Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1919-1921
Creator: McKeen, Harold
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0150.20
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: A scrapbook of photographs from the 1921 or 1922 Dominion Chautauqua season in the Western US and Canada, taken by the properties manager, who was responsible for leading the crews who set up and took down the tents.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: This scrapbook was donated by John McKeen McKinley in 2010.

Preferred Citation: [Name of collection], 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

Harold McKeen was the properties manager (for the Dominion Chautauqua?), who accompanied the tents and other properties on the railroad, from one site to the next. He was responsible for supervising local workers and transportation at each site, as they erected the tents at the proper location in preparation for the show. After the show closed, that crew took down the tents and reloaded them into the railroad car, under his supervision. He probably didn't need this skill on this job, but he was interested in amateur boxing throughout his life. He was still working out with a speed punching bag when over 80. He was married twice, but he outlived both wives, and had no children to inherit his personal possessions. This album came to his sister's son, who donated it to the University.

He had probably obtained this job because his father, Harry Ross McKeen (1875 - 1954), was one of the featured speakers on that circuit. It was a family tradition that Harold McKeen had held that same job for two successive summers. There is evidence in this album to substantiate that tradition, in the form of several photographs labeled 1919. The tradition also asserted that Harry McKeen had traveled Chautauqua for more than two seasons, but there is no clear evidence here for that assertion.?

This photograph album was assembled by Harold Lyster McKeen (1900 - 1993). It consists of 24 sheets of black paper, 7 inches by 11 inches, between hinged cardboard covers. Most of the photos in the album were taken by or for him, during a Chautauqua circuit in 1920, through the northwestern United States and western Canada.

The following is a brief inventory of the album, as it existed when donated to the Library of the University of Iowa in October 2010. Page numbers have been assigned but not written on the pages, in the usual manner: odd numbers for recto and even numbers for verso. Unfortunately, very few of the photographs were identified by McKeen.
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:

  • Box 1:
  • Photograph Album Pages
  • Two signatures of Harold L. McKeen, written in pencil on black paper and therefore hard to see. One followed by "Tulsa", the other followed by "Oklahoma University, Norman, Oklahoma, Junior, 1920-21" - 1920-1921
  • Blank
  • Four photos: river between mountains
  • Three photos: mountain scenery
  • Six photos: various, including H. L. McKeen on railroad car. One with a handwritten note :International boundary, Kingston-Eastport". A Canadian stamp.
  • Five photos: people
  • Four photos: people, with 2 of H. L. McKeen (holding cap)
  • Three photos of people, one inscribed "Inland Sixes, Brook, Alta. 'Mickie'" - 1920
  • Three photos: scenery
  • Four photos: scenery
  • Six photos: various.
  • Three photos: scenery
  • Five photos: scenery
  • Three photos: scenery (two with people)
  • Three photos: scenery (two with buildings)
  • Two photos: building (Cardston, B.C.)
  • Three photos: wildlife
  • Five photos: people
  • Four photos: people and a view inside the tent
  • Eight people clipped from photos, with identifications
  • Six photos: people
  • Six photos, people and the tent
  • Three photos: people
  • Four photos: people
  • Five photos (2 clipped): the tent, one with H.L. McKeen in front. Taken in Vulcan, Alberta; Rostown, Saskatchewan; Parma, Idaho
  • Six photos, the tent going up; one with H. L. McKeen, marked "'Mac' the Prop. Man 1919; another marked 1919 - 1919
  • Three photos: the tent (one with the crowd)
  • Six photos: various; one inside the tent; one marked "at Parma"
  • Four photos: scenery
  • Seven commercial photos: scenery. Bow River Falls, Banff; Mount Rundle from Bow River, Banff; The Lake in the Clouds; Twin Falls, Yoho Valley; Mt. Sir Donald; The Three Sisters; Emerald Lake
  • Eight commercial photos, scenery. Bow River from CPR Hotel; Mt. Burgess; Mt. Temple and Paradise Valley; CPR Hotel, Banff; The Great Glacier; Lake Louise Chalet; Mt. Stephen; Lake Louise
  • Two photos: one commercial Nelson, B.C.
  • Four photos and ticket: paddle wheel steamboat. Nasookin
  • Three photos: people, two identified; one illegible, one Charlie Davis
  • Three photos: railroad
  • Four photos, people and the tent
  • Four photos: people
  • One photo: Inscribed "With all my 'Alohas' and Happy Memories of our 1919 Chautauqua season together. Mildred Leo Clemens" In another hand is written "at Lake Louise." - 1919
  • One photo: Inscribed "To Mac from Tom Keyhill, Chautauqua 1920" - 1920
  • Two photos: scenery
  • Three photos: people
  • Three photos: people
  • Two photos: people, with Harry R. McKeen at one end in both. The photo of him in uniform [YMCA] was probably taken in 1919. The other is of him with an act, possibly Hawaiian. The names of the people in the photo are listed as Puri, Chas, Al, and Jim --all men. There is a woman whose name is partially illegible. It starts with Han... - 1919
  • One photo: Harry R. McKeen
  • One photo: Harry R. McKeen (studio)
  • One photo: Harry R. McKeen (studio)
  • Loose papers. Railroad ticket; customs declaration; typewritten schedule. These were originally in separate places throughout the album, but have been gathered here.
  • Blank
  • Inside of back cover, with signature of Harold L. McKeen, Bentonsville, Arkansas

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.