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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the James S. Flansburg Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1962-1998
Creator: Flansburg, James S. (1932-)
Extent: 16.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0496
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Journalist and editor for the Des Moines Register. Correspondence, editorials, and subject files reflecting his professional career as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Register.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Boxes 9 and 10.

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 Libraries by James S. Flansburg in 1996 and 1998.

Preferred Citation: James S. Flansburg 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

James Sherman Flansburg was born in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, on January 21, 1932, but grew up in Tiffin, the son of A.C. and Esther Flansburg. After two years at the University of Iowa, he joined the U.S. Army, and served in Korea. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University in 1957. While a student, he was City Editor of The Daily Iowan and in 1956 he married Carol Ann McCauley and they had four children.

After graduation, he went to work as a reporter for The Des Moines Tribune, an afternoon newspaper, where he worked until 1965. In 1965, Flansburg became a reporter for The Des Moines Register and in 1966 wrote a famous series of articles on Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. Then, in 1971, he moved into the position of Chief political writer and columnist for the Register. As a political reporter for Iowa's largest newspaper, Flansburg gained prominence during the Iowa caucuses held in presidential election years. This was particularly true in 1976. From 1983 to 1989 he was editor of the editorial pages. In this position, he sought out new talent to write for the opinion page, including Robert Waller. In 1989, Flansburg returned to writing his Old Reporter column which he continued until he retired on January 21, 1997.

The James S. Flansburg Papers, fourteen linear feet, span the years from 1962 to 1998 and cover almost his entire career at The Des Moines Register, except for his early years in the late 1950s. The papers include mostly correspondence, but also appointment books, subject files, and unsigned editorials written while editor of the editorial pages, and clippings. The correspondence consists almost entirely of letters to Flansburg or to the Register, but there are sometimes carbon copies of outgoing letters. The papers reflect Flansburg's professional career as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Register. Among the correspondents are many political figures and writers including Gerald Bogan, Willard L. Boyd, David W. Belin, Randall H. Balmer, Dan Bied, Gladys Black, Robert Buckmaster, John C. Culver, Lucas J. DeKoster, Jeannette H. Eyerly, David M. Elderkin, Paul Engle, Michael G. Gartner, David R. Gergen, Carl Hamilton, John M. Henry, Tom Harkin, Robert S. Jaggard, Gary H. Koerselman, Hanford MacNider, Betty McCollister, Donald E. Mitchell, Arthur Neu, Frank Nye, Herb Plambeck, Robert D. Ray, David Riesman, Robert S. Rigler, David Schoenbaum, and Robert Waller.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 2: APPOINTMENT BOOKS
Series 3: DES MOINES REGISTER
Series 4: EDITORIALS
Series 5: SUBJECT FILES
Series 6: GENERAL
Series 7: MARCH 2006 ADDENDUM
Series 8: OVERSIZED MATERIAL

  • Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence, A-C
    Includes letters from Gerald Bogan, Willard L. Boyd, David W. Belin, Randall H. Balmer, Dan Bied, Gladys Black, Robert Buckmaster, and John C. Culver
  • Box 2:
  • Correspondence, D-H - 1985
    Includes letters from Lucas J. DeKoster, Jeannette H. Eyerly, David M. Elderkin, Paul Engle, Michael G. Gartner, David R. Gergen, Carl Hamilton, and John M. Henry
  • Box 3:
  • Correspondence, H-L - 1986-1995
    Includes letters from Tom Harkin, Robert S. Jaggard, and Gary H. Koerselman
  • Box 4:
  • Correspondence, L-O - 1988-1995
    Includes letters from Hanford MacNider, Betty McCollister, Donald E. Mitchell, Art Neu, and Frank Nye
  • Box 5:
  • Correspondence, P-S
    Includes letters from Herb Plambeck, Robert D. Ray, Robert S. Rigler, and David Schoenbaum
  • Box 6:
  • Correspondence, T-Z
    Including letters from Robert Waller
  • Series 2: APPOINTMENT BOOKS
  • Box 6:
  • Appointment books - 1976-1978
  • Box 7:
  • Appointment books - 1979-1995
  • Series 3: DES MOINES REGISTER
  • Box 7:
  • Bill Bryson on the Iowa Oaks - 1969
  • Editorial page content summaries, undated
  • Editorial page matters - 1983-1984
  • Flansburg financial and legal documents - 1963-1974
  • Job descriptions - 1985
  • "Lessons we learned from Raff" - 1993
  • Memoranda - 1982-1989
  • Newspaper Guild - 1985
  • Readership/marketing study, June - 1987
  • Syndicated columns - 1983-1985
  • Travel expense reports - 1964-1977
  • Series 4: EDITORIALS
  • Box 7:
  • Editorials written by Flansburg - 1981-1987
  • Box 8:
  • Editorials written by Flansburg - 1988-1989
  • Series 5: SUBJECT FILES
  • Box 8:
  • American Political Science Association Midwestern Public Affairs Reporting Award Winners Seminar - 1963
  • Clinton, Iowa, Corn Processing Company - Profile of Harold A. Bendixen - 1965
    Including letters from Bendixen
  • Carolyn Gabrielson - 1992-1995
    On Davenport, Iowa, public schools
  • Box 9:
  • Gentile-Burnham - 1993
    A fraudulent practice case
  • National Observer (a national Sunday weekly newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company of the Wall Street Journal) letters from Flansburg - 1961-1963
  • Open enrollment in Iowa schools - 1992-1993
  • The Parsons story - 1959-1967
    Including letters from David Riesman
  • Photographs of James Flansburg - 1974
  • State of Iowa v. Rodney Darnell - 1994
    A Paternity action
  • Series 6: GENERAL
  • Box 10:
  • Biographical material
  • Clippings on retirement
  • Correspondence, January-March - 1996-1998
  • Miscellaneous correspondence - 1976-1995
  • Monthly planner - 1996
  • Photographs
  • Speeches
  • Clippings
  • Box 11:
  • Clippings
  • Series 7: MARCH 2006 ADDENDUM
  • Box 12:
  • Columns - 1971-1989
  • Box 13:
  • Columns - 1990-1999
  • Series 8: OVERSIZED MATERIAL
  • Three newsprint pads of clippings