Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Edward Charles Mabie Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1907-1956
Creator: Mabie, Edward Charles (1892-1956)
Extent: 19.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0188
Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Summary: Professor and Head of Speech and Dramatic Art. Director of University Theatre. Regional director of Federal Theatre Projects of the WPA. First president of the American Educational Theatre Association and a pioneer in the development of regional theatre.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 9 , 14, 18, 23, 39; Negatives: Box 18, 20.

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 Mrs. Edward Charles Mabie.

Preferred Citation: Edward Charles Mabie 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

Edward Charles Mabie was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin on October 27, 1892. He earned his B.A. in political science in 1915, and his masters degree in 1916, both at Dartmouth. Six months later he married Grace Chase. They had one daughter, Pricilla.
Mabie served on the faculty of Illinois Wesleyan College from 1917 to 1918. He was an assistant professor of English and Speech at the University of Kentucky 1918-1920, then joined the State University of Iowa in the summer of 1920. Upon arrival in Iowa he was the head of the Department of Public Speaking; the department name soon changed to the Department of Speech. He became full professor and department head in 1925, when the department name changed again to Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts.
Mabie played a large role in establishing University Theatres, a production group. Over the next thirty years Mabie shaped the University theatre department into one of the finest in the country. He served as Regional Director of the Federal Theatre Projects of the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which included Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Mabie is one of those who brought about an important change in graduate work: to allow creative work to be accepted as a thesis for both the M.A. and the Ph.D. He personally supervised MFA student directors in nearly 100 productions during his thirty-five year career at Iowa. Mabie died of a heart attack in Iowa City on February 9, 1956.

The papers of Edward C. Mabie include newspaper clippings, nine boxes of correspondence (arranged alphabetically), magazines, notebooks, speeches, memorabilia, and radio programs. Much of the history of the growth of the University Theatre, both physically and in curriculum is contained in these materials. Mabie's notes show the development of the Department of Speech, and Iowa school system changes as well. Also presented are Works Progress Administration (WPA) dealings, high school debates, Dartmouth College notes, positions at Illinois and Kentucky, and his hobbies of gardening and raising poultry.
Federal Theatre Project Scripts and Papers Collection (MsC0314), Dept. of Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries.

Folder, "Mabie, Edward Charles," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG01.0015.003)

Records of the Dept. of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts (RG06.0038.001)

Browse by Series:
The detailed description has not been entered into the repository.
To view the content list, please follow this link.

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

University of Iowa Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Associates' Papers
Study of Theatre Arts and Popular Culture