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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Conger Reynolds Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1899-1970
Creator: Reynolds, Conger (1891-1971)
Extent: 9.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0183
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Journalist, diplomat, and public relations expert. Subject files, correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, etc. relating to his varied career, from WWI intelligence officer to Chicago Tribune editor in Paris to consulate official to public relations director for Standard Oil.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Boxes 12, 13

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Conger Reynolds from 1960 to 1970, and by his daughter, Mrs. James O. Lyon, in 1979.

Preferred Citation: Conger Reynolds 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

Born on a farm in Dallas County, Iowa, on March 23, 1891, Conger Reynolds grew up in the small town of Dexter, Iowa. At seventeen he received a scholarship to attend Drake University. After his freshman year, he transferred to the University of Iowa where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1912. His first job after graduation was with the Des Moines Registerand Leader as a political reporter. In 1915, he returned the University of Iowa to serve as publicity director and to teach journalism as a assistant professor of English. When World War I began, Reynolds left the University and enlisted. He was assigned to military intelligence in France and later worked with the press section. After the war, Reynolds remained in France as the managing editor of the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune.

In 1922, he began another phase of his career. He was assigned vice-consul to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he served for two years. His next assignment was vice-consul and later consul in Stuttgart, Germany. While at the consulates he specialized in trade promotion. This led to another career change, in 1929, Reynolds became the director of public relations for the Standard Oil Company (Indiana). While there he participated in and helped found many professional organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America. Conger Reynolds remained with Standard Oil until his retirement in 1955. This, however, did not mark the end of his public career. Moving to Washington, DC, he joined the US Information Agency. He was the director of the Office of Private Cooperation. There he worked with the Eisenhower administration to launch the People-to-People program which was designed to promote international understanding. He worked in this capacity until 1961, when he finally did in fact retire. Conger Reynolds died in 1971.

The papers of Conger Reynolds consist of nine linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1899 to 1970. They are made up of subject files arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence. The papers document Reynolds" personal life and career. Along with a folder of autobiographical and biographical sketches, there are diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks shedding light on his personal life.

His multifaceted career is well represented. His early work as a journalist and educator can be found in clippings and other material from the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune and files on the University of Iowa including information from a journalism course he taught from 1915 to 1916. There are subject files relating to his service in WWI and the intelligence section of which he was a member. Five folders of documents and clippings relate to his service in the American consulates in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Stuttgart, Germany. As public relations director of the Standard Oil Company (Indiana) his files consist of things such as advertising budgets, organizational charts, public opinion surveys, and clippings. After his retirement from Standard Oil, he worked for the Eisenhower administration's People-to-People program. There are nearly three boxes of material relating to that project, including correspondence, publications, White House conference items, and notes from foreign trips. The papers also contain almost seven boxes of general correspondence, dating from 1899 to 1970 and including letters from Albert B. Cummins and Jay "Ding" Darling. Photographs, scrapbooks, appointment calendars, certificates, etc. make up the remainder of the collection.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: AMERICAN CONSULATE
Series 2: APPOINTMENT CALENDARS
Series 3: PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
Series 4: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 5: DIARIES
Series 6: SUBJECT FILES
Series 7: PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE
Series 8: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 9: PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Series 10: PUBLICATIONS
Series 11: SPEECHES
Series 12: STANDARD OIL COMPANY
Series 13: UNITED STATES ORGANIZATION (USO) CAMPAIGN
Series 14: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
Series 15: WORLD WAR I
Series 16: SCRAPBOOKS

  • Series 1: AMERICAN CONSULATE
  • Box 1:
  • Nova Scotia - 1921-1925
  • Stuttgart, Germany - 1924-1927
  • Stuttgart, Germany - 1928
  • Stuttgart, Germany - 1929
  • Stuttgart, Germany - 1930
    Also includes undated materials and newspaper clippings.
  • Series 2: APPOINTMENT CALENDARS
  • Box 1:
  • 1910-1931
    There is no information for 1912-1929.
  • 1949-1951
  • Series 3: PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
  • Box 2:
  • Autobiographical and Biographical Material
  • Certificates, Recognition's, and Memberships - 1908-1959
    Includes army discharge form for John Q. A. Reynolds, 1865.
  • Composition Book - 1899-1900
  • Series 4: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 2:
  • 1899-1910
  • 1911-1913
  • 1914-1915
  • 1915
    October-December
  • Box 3:
  • 1916
    January-April. Including letters from Albert B. Cummins and C.C. Dowell.
  • 1916
    May-December. Including letters from G.W. Clarke, Albert B. Cummins, and C.C. Dowell.
  • 1917
  • 1918
    January only
  • 1918
    February only
  • 1918
    March 1-17
  • Box 4:
  • 1918
    March 18-31
  • 1918
    April
  • 1918
    May
  • 1918
    June
  • 1918
    July
  • 1918
    August
  • Box 5:
  • 1918
    September
  • 1918
    October
  • 1918
    November
  • 1918
    December
  • 1919
    January-March. Including a letter from Jay N. Darling.
  • 1919
    April-Deccember. Including letters from Jay N. Darling.
  • Box 6:
  • 1920
  • 1921
  • 1922
    Including letters from Albert B. Cummins and Charles A. Rawson.
  • 1923-1924
  • 1925-1927
  • 1928-1929
    Including a letter from Jay N. Darling.
  • Box 7:
  • 1930-1939
  • 1940-1949
    Including letters from John W. Gwyne and George A. Wilson.
  • 1950-1955
  • 1956-1959
  • 1960-1966
  • 1967-1970
  • Box 8:
  • Undated Correspondence
  • Series 5: DIARIES
  • Box 8:
  • 1908-1911
    Includes a single passage from 1962. (Conger Reynolds critiques his previous writings 50 years later.)
  • 1917-1918
  • 1924-1928
  • Series 6: SUBJECT FILES
  • Box 8:
  • Creative Writing Course, Adult Education - Palomar College - 1967-1969
  • Dr. Russell's Lectures - 1936
  • Editorial and Political Writings for the Republican Party - 1940-1952
  • European Trip Memorabilia - 1916
  • Miscellaneous - 1906-1968
  • Newspaper Clippings - 1904-1968
  • Box 9:
  • Oil Industry Information Committee - Proceedings - 1952
    April 25-26
  • Opinion Research Corporation Report to the American Petroleum Institute - 1946
  • Paris Edition of the Chicago Tribune Period - 1919-1920
  • Paris Edition of the Chicago Tribune Period and Newspaper Clippings - 1919-1920
  • Passports of Conger and Daphne Reynolds - 1916-1968
  • Series 7: PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE
  • Box 9:
  • Correspondence - 1951-1960
  • Correspondence - 1961-1962
    Including a letter from Edward R. Murrow
  • Correspondence - 1964-1968
    Also includes undated materials.
  • Box 10:
  • Digest - 1960-1961
  • "Launching the People-to-People Program" by John E. Juergensmeyer - 1962
    October
  • Miscellaneous - 1953-1956
  • Miscellaneous - 1957
  • Miscellaneous - 1958-1959
  • Miscellaneous - 1960
  • Miscellaneous - 1961
    January-March
  • Box 11:
  • Miscellaneous - 1961
    April-November
  • Miscellaneous - 1962-1966
  • Miscellaneous
    Undated (4 folders)
  • Miscellaneous Publications - 1960-1968
  • Box 12:
  • News - 1956-1960
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Trip to Europe - 1957
  • Trip to Japan - 1961-1962
    Including letters from Edward R. Murrow
  • White House Conference, June 12 - 1956
  • Series 8: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 12:
  • Photographs - Community and Public Relations Salute to Conger Reynolds, January 5 - 1956
  • Group Photographs
  • Box 13:
  • Group Photographs
    Includes photographs of Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Photographs - Retirement from Standard Oil Company
  • Photographs - Reynolds and Family
  • Photographs - Studio Portraits
  • Photographs - World War I
  • Series 9: PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
  • Box 13:
  • 1948-1971
  • 1951
    Report of the National Research Committee
  • Series 10: PUBLICATIONS
  • Box 13:
  • 1917-1965
  • Series 11: SPEECHES
  • Box 13:
  • 1927-1949
  • Box 14:
  • 1950-1953
  • 1954-1968
  • Undated Speeches
  • Series 12: STANDARD OIL COMPANY
  • Box 14:
  • Advertising Budget - 1934
  • Junior Achievement - 1955
  • Miscellaneous - 1929-1947
  • Miscellaneous - 1948-1949
  • Miscellaneous - 1950-1951
  • Box 15:
  • Miscellaneous - 1952
  • Miscellaneous - 1953
  • Miscellaneous - 1954
  • Miscellaneous - 1955
  • Miscellaneous - 1956-1963
  • Undated Standard Oil Company Miscellaneous
    Two folders
  • Box 16:
  • Undated Standard Oil Company Miscellaneous
  • Newspaper Clippings - 1929-1956
  • Organization Charts - 1948-1953
  • Public Attitudes Survey, March 10 - 1948
  • Public Relations Publications - 1945-1950
  • Reorganization and Consolidation Program - 1954
  • Series 13: UNITED STATES ORGANIZATION (USO) CAMPAIGN
  • Box 16:
  • 1942
    Publicity Materials
  • Series 14: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
  • Box 17:
  • Foundation - 1957-1970
  • Journalism - 1915-1916
    Taught by Conger Reynolds
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Printed Materials
  • Miscellaneous - 1910-1964
  • Series 15: WORLD WAR I
  • Box 17:
  • Intelligence Section - 1917-1919
  • Box 18:
  • Miscellaneous - 1917-1918
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Series 16: SCRAPBOOKS
  • Box 19:
  • Two Scrapbooks
    These items are not kept in a box and are located at 5:21:7, apart from the rest of the collection materials.