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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the W. Earl Hall Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1917-1969
Creator: Hall, W. Earl (1897-1969)
Extent: 6.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0193
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Editor and publisher of the Mason City Globe Gazette. Papers relating to his career and civic activities. Subject files, correspondence, speeches, and editorials reflect his work for such organizations as the Red Cross, Radio Free Europe, and the Iowa State Board of Regents.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 10.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers of W. Earl Hall were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by his widow and son, Mrs. Ruth Reeves Hall and Reeves Hall, from 1969 to 1974.

Preferred Citation: W. Earl Hall 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

W. Earl Hall was born in Ripley, Iowa, on April 7, 1897. As a teenager he worked for the Jefferson Bee. At the University of Iowa, he became the editor of The Daily Iowan, from 1917 until his graduation in 1918. Hall served as an infantry sergeant during WWI, and as a veteran was active in the American Legion. In 1919, Hall was a police reporter for the Milwaukee Journal. The following year, he moved to Mason City, Iowa, and took a job with the Globe-Gazette. He was managing editor at age twenty-two; in 1931 he became the editor; and in 1962 he took over as editor-publisher. His personal trademark during those years was his column, One Man's Opinion, which was also broadcast on radio throughout much of the state.

Hall was a man of many interests, one of which was highway safety. He founded the Iowa State Safety Council and was vice president of the National Safety Council. He was chairman of both the National Committee for Traffic Safety and of the Public Support Committee for Traffic Safety. W. Earl Hall was a member of Iowa's Board of Regents for twelve years and was given honorary degrees by many Iowa colleges. In 1956 and 1957, Hall toured thirty-one countries as a member of a fact finding group for Radio Free Europe. The following year Hall served as the chairman of the Iowa Crusade for Freedom. He also traveled widely for the American Red Cross. W. Earl Hall was also a music lover. He was a member of the glee club while a student at the University of Iowa. Later in Mason City he was a member of a barbershop quartet, Rusty Hinges, which was the inspiration for his friend Meredith Willson's 'board of education quartet,' in The Music Man. W. Earl Hall died on April 12, 1969 at the age of seventy-two.

The papers of W. Earl Hall consist of six linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1917 to 1969. The collection reflects not only Hall's professional life, but also his many interests and activities-both personal and civil. His career as a newspaperman, first on The Daily Iowan as a student and finally with the Mason City Globe Gazette is reflected in folders of editorials, and five entire boxes of scripts of his "One Man's Opinion" radio program which was based on his weekly column. Hall's work for the Red Cross, American Legion, Radio Free Europe, the Iowa State Board of Regents, and other groups is documented with subject files containing speeches, correspondence, and travel information. There is information concerning topics ranging from traffic safety to The University of Iowa and band competitions to World War II stories. Correspondence folders include letters from: Philip Adler, John Cowles, James I. Dolliver, Virgil M. Hancher, Loren Hickerson, Paul G. Hoffman, J. Edgar Hoover, Conger Reynolds, Dixie Willson, and Meredith Willson.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 1918-1929
    including letters from Hanford MacNider
  • Correspondence - 1930-1945
    including letters from: Dan W. Turner, Hanford MacNider, Dixie Willson, Fred Biermann, E. P. Adler, Virgil M. Hancher, Paul Gray Hoffman, Edward G. Robinson, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Cowels
  • Correspondence - 1946-1956
    including letters from: Virgil M. Hancher, Conger Reynolds, "Ding" Darling, Paul G. Hoffman, Loren Hickerson, James I. Dolliver, J. Edgar Hoover, Karl M. LeCompte, Thomas E. Martin, Bourke B. Hickenlooper, and Dixie Willson
  • Correspondence - 1957-1967
    including letters from: Alfred M. Gruenther, Philip D. Adler, Meredith Willson, John Cowles, J. Edgar Hoover, Paul G. Hoffman, Loren Hickerson, Mrs. Virgil M. Hancher, and Hartzell Spence
  • Box 2:
  • Howard Bowen
  • Virgil M. Hancher Eulogies
  • Safety Communications Study
  • Editorial Miscellany
  • The Iowa 4-H Club Foundation - 1953-1965
  • Radio Free Europe Trip - 1958
  • The American National Red Cross - 1957-1964
  • Resident Foreign Correspondents Project (Governmental Affairs Institute) - 1962
  • Box 3:
  • American Legion Talks
  • California-Oregon Flood Coverage - 1965
  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary Controversy - 1961-1964
  • The Iowa Center for the Arts Project - 1963-1965
    including correspondence with Virgil M. Hancher and Loren Hickerson
  • Music Man Marching Band Competition Festival - 1962
  • Box 4:
  • W. Earl Hall File Folder from the University of Iowa Alumni Office (2 folders)
  • Undated Editorials (3 folders)
  • Box 5:
  • Radio Broadcast Scripts of "One Man's Opinions"
  • Box 6:
  • Radio Broadcast Scripts of "One Man's Opinions"
  • Box 7:
  • Radio Broadcast Scripts of "One Man's Opinions"
  • Box 8:
  • Radio Broadcast Scripts of "One Man's Opinions"
  • Box 9:
  • Radio Broadcast Scripts of "One Man's Opinions"
  • Box 10:
  • Carnegie Fact-finding Mission to South America: Correspondence about trip - 1941-1942
    including letters from: E. P. Adler, James I. Dolliver, and Conger Reynolds
  • Carnegie Fact-finding Mission to South America: Miscellaneous Material
  • Carnegie Fact-finding Mission to South America: Newspaper Clippings
  • Carnegie Fact-finding Mission to South America: Photographs and Postcards
  • Carnegie Fact-finding Mission to South America: Articles on Trip (Typescript)
  • Box 11:
  • Miscellaneous Material
  • The Seventh S.A.E. Beecroft Memorial Lecture
  • University of Iowa
  • Virgil Hancher materials
  • Box 12:
  • Letters on Being Appointed to the State Board of Education - 1937
    including letters from Virgil M. Hancher
  • Letters on Being Declared Winner of Contest for Best Editorial on Safety - 1937
  • Correspondence Concerning the University of Iowa and the School of Journalism - 1969
    including correspondence with Loren Hickerson and Conger Reynolds
  • Department of Defense Joint Orientation Conference - 1950
    (2 folders)
  • Box 13:
  • World War II: Correspondence
  • World War II: Clippings
  • World War II: "Our Military Training Camps" Written from Camp Dodge, World War I, by W. Earl Hall
  • World War II: American Legion Convention in Paris
  • World War II: World War II stories
  • Obituary, W. Earl Hall
  • Hall family photograph
  • Daily Iowan (bound volume), W. Earl Hall, Editor - 1917-1918
    Missing as of 8/2013