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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Kenneth J. Cmiel Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1986-2005
Creator: Cmiel, Kenneth J. (1954-2005)
Extent: 14.25 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0042
Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Summary: University of Iowa professor of history and director of the UI Center for Human Rights.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Acquisition: The Papers of Kenneth J. Cmiel were transferred to the University Archives from the UI Dept. of History as Accessions 2006-58 and 2007-40. The collection was processed by Alexis Bushnell and David McCartney. Guide posted to the Internet November 2007.

Preferred Citation: Kenneth J. Cmiel Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: David McCartney
Email: david-mccartney@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/archives

Kenneth J. Cmiel was a professor of history and American studies at the University of Iowa and director of the U.I. Center for Human Rights. In 1977 he received the B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1986. His dissertation won the Society of American Historians' Allan Nevins Prize in 1987. He joined the U.I. faculty that same year.
 
His first book, Democratic Eloquence: The Fight Over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America, was based on his dissertation. At the time of his death he was writing "Ambiguous Origins: The United Nations and Human Rights" (working title), chronicling the political ideas that contributed to the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.D.H.R.). Though unfinished, portions of the planned book began to emerge as articles, including "The Emergence of Human Rights Politics in the United States," which appeared in a special issue of the Journal of American History in 1999.
 
Mr. Cmiel served as chair of the U.I. Department of History from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 he became director of the U.I. Center for Human Rights. He was the U.I. Presidential Lecturer in 2005 and during his career won many of the University's other top research and scholarship awards.
 
Kenneth Cmiel was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 31, 1954, the son of Henry and Jean (Gasiorek) Cmiel. In 1980 he married Anne Duggan and they had three children. He died on February 4, 2006, at age 51, due to a previously-undetected brain tumor.

The Papers of Kenneth J. Cmiel consist of his published and unpublished writings, book reviews, correspondence, and materials pertaining to courses he taught in the University of Iowa Department of History. At the time of his death in 2006, Prof. Cmiel was working on a book chronicling the history of human rights in the twentieth century, including a discussion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Cmiel, Kenneth. A Home of Another Kind: One Chicago Orphanage and the Tangle of Child Welfare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
 
Cmiel, Kenneth. Democratic Eloquence: The Fight Over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: W. Morrow, 1990.
 
Records of the UI Center for Human Rights (RG 23.14)
 
Folder, "Cmiel, Kenneth," in the Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG 01.15.03)

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