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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Dina Rees Evans Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1937-1974
Creator: Evans, Dina Rees (1891-1989)
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0189
Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Summary: High school educator in dramatic arts. Awarded first Ph.D. in dramatic arts from an American university, received from the University of Iowa in 1932.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: These materials were transferred to the University Archives prior to 1970. Finding aid created February 2008.

Preferred Citation: Dina Rees Evans 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

Dina Rees Evans was born June 19, 1891 in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from high school in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1908. She received her B.A. degree from the University of South Dakota in 1913. She took her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the State University of Iowa in 1929 and 1932. She received the first doctorate in dramatic art from an American university. Her research for the doctorate involved her instruction of troubled young people in dramatic study.

Evans was an educator and high school principal in South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, and Montana from 1916 to 1928. She joined the faculty at the State University of Iowa in 1928 as a research assistant in the Department of Speech. After receiving her Ph.D. in 1932 she taught drama at Heights High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

In Ohio, Dr. Evans co-founded Cain Park in 1938, an outdoor theatre in Cleveland Heights. While its director, she mentored many students who became well-known in entertainment, including Norman Felton, Joel Rubin, Hal Holbrook, Dom DeLuise, Robert Freyer and Joel Grey. In 1980 she authored Cain Park Theatre: The Halcyon Years about the amphitheater that was renamed for her in 1989. In addition to her work with Cain Park productions, she became president of the American Educational Theatre Association in 1940 and was the founder of Secondary School Theatre Association (SSTA).

Dr. Evans retired in 1958 and moved to Youngtown, Arizona, where she organized a theatre group and reviewed books for Educational Theatre Journal. She married Harvey Shaw in 1963. Dina Rees Evans died January 20, 1989.

The Dina Rees Evans papers include correspondence, speeches, and photocopies of articles authored by her and dated 1942 to 1955. This material documents the career of Ms. Evans as a research assistant at the University of Iowa and as the high school drama educator in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Folder, "Evans, Dina Rees," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG01.0015.003)

Evans, Dina Rees. "A Preliminary Study of Play Production in Secondary Schools." M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 1929

Evans, Dina Rees. "Influence of Dramatic Training Upon the Personality." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1932

Felton, Norman. "Best of Luck: The Education of Norman Felton."Books at Iowa 43 (November 1985): 3-14

Papers of Norman Felton (MsC0265)

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

Papers of Edward Charles Mabie (RG099.0188)

Browse by Series:
Series 4: SPEECHES

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Curriculum vitae, reviews
  • "The Life of Dina Rees Evans" - 1943
    Paper by Shirley H. Foster
  • "Selected Women in Educational Theatre: A Biographical Study of the Careers of Four Educators" - 1974
    Thesis by Judy Bea Ledoux
  • Series 2: CLIPPINGS
  • Box 1:
  • Newspapers clippings - 1950-1973
  • Box 1:
  • Letters - 1946-1973
  • Series 4: SPEECHES
  • Box 1:
  • Presentations
  • "Problems of Teaching Drama in the High School," December - 1937
  • "Values of Dramatic Art to the Secondary School Student" - 1949
  • "Twenty Years Later" - 1949
  • "Fifty Years in the High School Theatre," December - 1950
  • "Dramatics: A Human Relations Laboratory," August - 1951
  • "Problems of Dramatic Production in Various Media at the High School Level," August - 1954
  • "It's Time to Swap Horses," August - 1960
  • "December 30, 1936: The Day E.C. Mabie Invented AETA," December - 1956
  • "Cain Park Theatre," n.d.
  • "A Message to SSTA" - 1969