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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Forest C. Ensign Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1845-1948
Creator: Ensign, Forest C. (1867-1961)
Extent: 4.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0220
Repository: University of Iowa Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 5 and addendum Box 3.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: Transferred from College of Education prior to 1970 and from Professor Bradley Sagen in May 1998.

Preferred Citation: Forest C. Ensign 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

Forest Chester Ensign was born March 22, 1867, on a farm in Defiance County, Ohio. Ensign attended a normal college and business college in Fayette, Ohio, from 1885 to 1887. He attended the State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, a member of the class of 1895, where he met his future wife, Lucy Maria Smith. They were married December 29, 1896. Both Forest and Lucy attended the State University of Iowa, Forest from 1895 to 1897.

After receiving his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in June 1897, Ensign served as principal of the Iowa City High School, followed by principal of the Council Bluffs High School, 1900 to 1905.

In 1905 he returned to Iowa and served for one year as acting professor in the SUI Department of Education and as inspector of Iowa high schools, an appointment he held through 1911. He was named professor of history and philosophy of education in 1906. Ensign served as University Registrar and Dean of Men from 1911 to 1915.

As registrar, Ensign established the beginnings of a campus mail system, saving more than $200 in postal mailings. In addition, in January 1912 he instituted two changes to the undergraduate registration process in order to ease the long wait in lines. First, he assigned advisors to undergraduates, who provided the requisite schedule approvals prior to registration. Second, he limited the first three days of the registration period to those in the professional schools, followed by one week of registration designated for College of Liberal Arts students.

Ensign served twice as acting Dean of the College of Education, during the fall semester 1938 and again in the spring semester of 1943, when Dean Paul C. Packer was called to serve in the U. S. Army. Ensign worked with other faculty during the early 1920s to establish the School of Religion in 1927.

He served as chair of the Iowa Memorial Union Planning Committee, and continued to serve as secretary until 1954. Ensign also served as chair of the Homecoming Committee for a number of years. He worked to bring the Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Delta Kappa Education Honor Society and the Theta Chapter of the Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society to SUI. He was a founder of the faculty Triangle Club. During six months in 1927, Ensign was on leave of absence to the University of Bristol, where he taught one undergraduate course and one graduate course in the philosophy of education. This was the first SUI faculty exchange with a foreign institution. Ensign's research focused on the history of education, as well as child labor and the care of the insane. Ensign retired in 1950. In recognition of his service to the University, a wing of the Hillcrest Dormitory was named for him in 1959.

Forest and Lucy Ensign were members of the Presbyterian Church. The couple had two children, Dwight (1899) and Elizabeth (1902). Forest Ensign died April 11, 1961.

These papers include the writings and addresses of Forest C. Ensign on the history of education, in particular within Iowa. Between 1905 and 1948, Ensign was invited to speak at conferences and commencements, and he presented radio addresses between 1925 and 1935. These are included.

Faculty biographical notes, in box 2, were written by Ensign in 1923 in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the College of Education, 1873-1923.

The second United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) summer seminar in Education for International Understanding, was held in Paris, France, April 28, 1948. Included in this collection are the 1947-1948 annual report, the June 1947 newsletter, the 1948 program, and five addresses delivered at the 1948 seminar.

German language periodicals and books dated 1934-1940 were collected by Paul C. Packer, Dean of the College of Education, and are housed in this collection.

From 1922 through the 1940s, Ensign solicited information regarding academies in Iowa, with the intention of writing a history of these institutions. In this endeavor, he corresponded with school superintendents and accepted referrals to their aging relatives who recalled such defunct institutions from their generation. This correspondence often included pamphlets and historical vignettes. This material is filed alphabetically by institutional name or county name. Ensign corresponded with some notable figures. He wrote to architect Frank Lloyd Wright in August 1939 regarding the Hillside Home School in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which was designed by Wright in 1903 to replace the original 1886 structures. Wright's secretary replied to Ensign on the status of the slow restoration process. Another correspondent, Dexter Edson Smith, was the first graduate of the State University of Iowa in 1858.

Included is a leather-bound volume with gilt pages and leather book case, which is a collection of over 200 letters of appreciation (primarily mimeographed; some letters are pasted in) written February to March 1942, to Forest C. Ensign, who was a charter member of the Epsilon Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, and advisor for the founding of the Theta Chapter of Pi Lambda Theta.

Genealogical materials of Ensign and his wife, Lucy, are housed in boxes 5 and 6.
Folder, "Ensign, Forest C.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Records of the University Schools (RG09.0007.001)

Ensign, Forest C. "Fifty Years of Education." The Iowa Alumnus, vol XX, no. 7 (April 1923) p. 217-220.

Ensign, Forest C. Introduction to the History of Education. Iowa City: State University of Iowa, 1926.

Ensign, Forest C. The First Century of Teacher Training in the State University of Iowa. Iowa City, Iowa: F. C. Ensign, 1947.

University Archives Resource Guide to Records of Defunct Iowa Colleges

Browse by Series:
Series 3: PROJECTS
Series 7: PAPERS
Series 8: SPEECHES
Series 10: GENEALOGY
Series 11: 1998 ADDENDUM

  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence from Ensign: A-B
  • Correspondence from Ensign: C-H
  • Correspondence from Ensign: I-Z
  • Box 1:
  • Ensigns SUI laboratory journal for course in animal biology, September 1895
  • Reprints - 1900-1932
  • Series 3: PROJECTS
  • Box 2:
  • Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the First Permanent Department of Education in an American University at the University of Iowa in 1873. Documentation. April 27-28, 1923. Documentation. April 27-28, 1923.
  • Correspondence to Ensign from the principal of West liberty Public Schools regarding their upcoming presentation, 1935
  • Project outline, Whos Who in the High School, n.d.
  • Box 2:
  • Course lecture notes, Education as a Factor in Modern Civilization, May 1926
  • Course lecture notes, History of Education in the United States, fall 1945
  • Series 5: MANUSCRIPT
  • Box 2:
  • Chapter I: The Model Schools
  • Chapter III: The University High School
  • Chapter IV: Common Interests
  • Chapter VI: English Foundations of American Education
  • Box 2:
  • Anderson, Howard Richmond
  • Ashbaugh, Ernest James
  • Aurner, Clarence Ray
  • Ayer, Fred Carlton
  • Bolton, Frederick Elmer
  • Brown, John Franklin
  • Byrne, Lee
  • Carpenter, Millington Farwell
  • Cooper, Frank Bower
  • Dorcas, Herbert Clifford
  • Eddy, Helen May
  • Ensign, Forest Chester
  • Fellows, Stephen N.
  • Greene, Harry Andrew
  • Horn, Ernest
  • Jessup, Walter Albert
  • Kambly, Paul Edward
  • King, Irving
  • Kirby, Thomas J.
  • Knight, Frederic Butterfield
  • Lewis, Erwin Eugene
  • Lindquist, Everett Franklin
  • McBroom, Maude Mary
  • McConnell, Joseph Jasper
  • Newburn, Harry K.
  • Packer, Paul Clifford
  • Patrick, George Thomas White
  • Peterson, Elmer Theodor
  • Pierce, Anne Elise
  • Pierce, Bessie Louise
  • Robbins, Charles Leonidas
  • Ruch, Giles Murrel
  • Russell, William Fletcher
  • Snedaker, Mabel Izetta
  • Stewart, Rolland Maclaren
  • Stoddard, George Dinsmore
  • Van Valkenburg, John
  • Wells, David Franklin
  • Series 7: PAPERS
  • Box 2:
  • Between Two Centuries, for journal publication, January 1926
  • Education for International Cooperation, [1927?]
  • Notes and Comments on the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of the Graduates of the Class of 1897, Collegiate Department, 1932
  • The Iowa High School Histories, [1934?]
  • American Universities: A First Impression, n.d.
  • Another Milestone in Iowa Education, n.d.
  • Asa Turner, Founder of Congregationalism in Iowa, n.d.
  • Bible Study for Credit as Sponsored By the Iowa State Teachers Association, n.d.
  • The Development of the High School, n.d.
  • Education of the Blind, n.d.
  • England and America: Their Children and Their Future, n.d.
  • English and American Ideals in Education: A Comparison, n.d.
  • Going to College, n.d.
  • The Iowa High School Histories: An Outcome of a Part of the Celebration Marking 300 Years of Secondary Education in North America, n.d.
  • Peace Through Education, n.d.
  • Significant Milestones in the Development of Secondary Education in Iowa, n.d.
  • Bibliography, 1900-1929
  • Series 8: SPEECHES
  • Box 3:
  • County and City Prisons in Iowa, Marshalltown, Iowa, November 9, 1905
  • Fifty Years of Education in the University of Iowa, conference on supervision, April 1923
  • Iowa Superintendents Club, Philosophy of the Superintendents Code of Professional Ethics, November 5, 1924
  • Radio address, Shall Religion Be Taught in Our Schools, September 21, 1925
  • Radio address, What Becomes of the Old Textbooks? November 23, 1925
  • Radio address, Getting Ready for College, September 15, 1926
  • Radio address for homecoming, November 3, 1926
  • Radio address, Alumni South Dakota Dinner, November 22, 1926
  • Radio address, University Series, September 1, 1927
  • Contemporary Club, English and American Ideals in Education: A Comparison, May 20, 1929
  • The Pioneer Foundations of Education in Iowa, October 18 - 1930
  • WSUI radio address, Changing Concepts in Education, 1933
  • Radio address, Changing Concepts of Education, 1933-1934
  • Radio address, Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the American high School, February 6, 1934
  • The President of the Alumni Association to the Alumni of Scott County, April 1934
  • Delivered to Triangle Club, Our Hoosier Schoolmaster, April 28, 1934
  • School board conference, The Iowa High School, November 1, 1934
  • Iowa State Teachers Association, Three Hundredth Anniversary of American High Schools, November 1, 1934
  • Delivered to Iowa State Teachers Association, The Three Hundredth Anniversary of American High Schools, November 1, 1934
  • Commencement address to Keokuk County rural schools, Another Milestone in Iowa Education, [1935?]
  • Radio address, Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the American High School, February 13, 1935
  • Our Secondary Schools of Tomorrow: A Prophecy, April 5, 1935
  • Three Hundred Years of Secondary Education in the United States, April 5, 1935
  • North Central Indiana State Teachers Association, High Points in Modern Secondary Education, October 11, 1935
  • In Memory of Mrs. Stephen A. Swisher, 1863-1936, presented April 16, 1936
  • The Scope and Function of the History of Education in the Training of Teachers, March 1, 1939
  • Delivered to John Deere Company, Moline, Illinois, An Iowa Farm hand in the Gay Nineties, October 9, 1944
  • Junior High School Section of North Central Indiana State Teachers Association, October 11, [1946?]
  • Triangle Club, Some University of Iowa Professors I Have Known, 1947
  • SUI convocation, The Second Century, January 31, 1948
  • A Century of Education in Iowa: Glimpses of the Development of Schools and Colleges in the Hawkeye State, n.d.
  • Commencement address, The New Frontier, n.d.
  • Summary of Professor Ensigns Four Points, n.d.
  • Upper Iowa and the State University, n.d.
  • Commencement address, Where Highways Meet, n.d.
  • Series 9: LITERATURE
  • Box 4:
  • UNESCO summer seminar on education. Program, annual report, newsletter, 1947-1948
  • German books and periodicals, 1934-1940
  • Series 10: GENEALOGY
  • Box 5:
  • Family Bibles, 1845, 1846
  • Ensign family genealogy, including photographs
  • Photograph, Burlington High School graduating class, 1868
  • Photograph, portrait of Forest C. Ensign, n.d.
  • Clippings from The Ladies Wreath: A Magazine of Literature & Art, September 1850
  • Genealogy on the Shaffer family, 12 folders
  • Personal insurance and Dwights marriage certificate, 1938
  • Box 6:
  • Genealogy of Lucy Maria Smith, The Story of Adam and Elizabeth Smith, by Forest C. Ensign (nine copies)
  • Box 7:
  • Bound letters of appreciation to Forest C. Ensign for his work with Phi Delta Kappa and Pi Lambda Theta, 1942
  • Series 11: 1998 ADDENDUM
  • Sub-Series: Junior College Bulletins
  • Box 1:
  • Briar Cliff College, 1930-1931
  • Centerville Junior College, 1931-1932
  • Clarinda Junior College, 1926-1927; 1930-1931
  • Cresco Junior College, 1928-1929
  • Elkader Junior College, 1932-1933
  • Mount Saint Clare Junior College, n.d.
  • Muscatine Junior College, 1931-1932
  • Osceola Junior College, 1938-1939
  • Sheldon Junior College, 1928-1929
  • Springdale Seminary, 1888-1889
  • St. Ansgar Seminary, 1948
  • Saint Katharines School bulletin, 1944-1945
  • Saint Katharines School newsletter, Ears and Whiskers Hear All and Tickle Everybody, November 1937, March 1938, and November 1938
  • Washington Junior College, 1927-1928; 1929-1930; 1930-1931; 1932-1933; 1933-1934
  • Webster City Junior College, 1926-1927; 1931-1932
  • Box 2:
  • Almoral Institute, Delaware County, Iowa. 1947
  • Amity College (College Springs Consolidated High School), College Springs, Iowa. 1944
  • Ashland Academy, near Agency, Iowa, Wapello County. n.d.
  • Audubon County, Iowa, Oakfield Academy. 1928
  • Baldwins Academy, Webster City, Iowa, 1875-1877. n.d.
  • Bradford Academy, Franklin County, Iowa. 1932
  • Buchanan County, Iowa, Oak Wood Seminary. n.d.
  • Burlington College, Burlington, Iowa. n.d.
  • Butler County and Bremer County (Janesville Academy). 1928
  • Brookwood Trade Union Educational Institution, Katonah, New York. 1925
  • Cascade Academy, Dubuque County, Iowa. 1928
  • Cedar Valley Seminary, Osage, Iowa. 1928
  • Charles City College, Floyd County, Iowa. n.d.
  • Clarke County, Iowa, Osceola Private School. 1928
  • Clarinda (Iowa) Educational Institute. 1928
  • Clayton County, Iowa. 1941
  • Clinton County, Iowa. n.d.
  • Coe Academy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. n.d.
  • Corning Academy, Adams County, Iowa. 1928
  • Denison Normal and Business College, Crawford County, Iowa. 1928
  • Denmark and Howes Academies, Denmark and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 1922
  • Des Moines, Iowa, Grandview Academy. [1940s?]
  • Dubuque, Iowa, Academy of the Immaculate Conception. n.d.
  • Decorah Institute, Decorah, Iowa. Includes photographs. 1928
  • Dexter Normal School, Dallas County, Iowa. 1928
  • Dover Academy, Bureau County, Illinois. n.d.
  • Eldora Academy, Eldora, Iowa. 1928
  • Ellsworth College, Iowa Falls, Iowa. Student paper by Marlin Walters [1933-1936]
  • Franklins Academy. n.d.
  • Garden Grove Academy and Normal School, Garden Grove, Iowa. n.d.
  • Grand View, Louisa County, Iowa. 1928
  • Griswold, Iowa, Academy. n.d.
  • Hazel Dell Academy, Newton, Iowa. 1944
  • Howes Academy and Teachers Training School, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 1934
  • Huftalen, Mrs. Sarah, Manchester Academy, Manchester, Iowa. 1946
  • Humboldt Academy, Humboldt, Iowa. n.d.
  • Iowa City Academy and the University High School, Iowa City, Iowa. n.d.
  • Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 1936
  • Jefferson, Iowa, Dunning Academy. 1928
  • Keosauqua County, Iowa, Birmingham Academy. 1928
  • Kletzing College, University Park, Iowa. Paper dated January 1950
  • Lime Springs, Howard County, Iowa, Craig Academy. n.d.
  • Lee County, Iowa, Denmark and Howes Academy. 1928
  • Linn County Institute at Marion, Iowa. 1946
  • Maquoketa, Iowa, Academy. 1947
  • Marshall County, Iowa, Le Grand Academy, New Providence Academy, Albion Seminary. 1946
  • Nevada Adventist Sanitarium, Nevada, Iowa. 1928
  • New Providence Academy and High School, Hardin County, Iowa. 1928
  • Nora Springs Seminary, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. 1932
  • Northern Iowa Normal College and Business Institute, Garner, Iowa. n.d.
  • Olin College, Jones County, Iowa. Papers dated 1933
  • Ottumwa, Iowa, Mrs. Pecks Normal School. 1928
  • Pleasant plain Academy, Jefferson County, Iowa. 1947
  • Richland Academy, Keokuk County, Iowa. n.d.
  • Prairie Home (Prairie Grove) Seminary, Black Hawk County, Iowa. 1928
  • Sac City Institute, Sac City, Iowa. 1932
  • Simpson College Academy, Indianola, Iowa. 1943
  • Southern Iowa Normal School, Bloomfield, Iowa. 1934
  • Tobin College, Fort Dodge, Iowa. 1928
  • Tabor Literary Institute (College), Tabor, Iowa. [1927?]
  • Thetford Academy, Thetford, Vermont. 1928
  • Troy Academy, Davis County, Iowa. 1924
  • Urbana Shrader Academy, Urbana, Iowa. [1949?]
  • Washington Academy, Washington, Iowa. 1942
  • Western College, Shueyville, Iowa. 1933
  • Western Reserve Academy, Hudson, Ohio. 1936
  • Whittier College, Salem, Iowa. n.d.
  • Wilton Seminary, Wilton, Iowa. 1932
  • Wisconsin Hillside Home School, with correspondence from assistant to Frank Lloyd Wright. 1939
  • Yellow Spring Township, Kossuth, Iowa. Kossuth Academy. 1928
  • M.A. thesis, The Public Junior College in Iowa, by Louis A. Blezek, August 1927
  • Draft of What the Teacher Needs for Personal Enrichment, with related correspondence from Florence Churchill, 35-year English literature instructor at Iowa City High School, 1928
  • Correspondence regarding academies in Iowa. Photograph, South Prairie Schoolhouse, Washington County, Iowa, 1874. Includes 1913 reply from Dexter Edson Smith.
  • Box 3:
  • Student paper, A Study of Academies in Iowa, by Doris Keiser, 1939
  • Seminar paper, Early Academies of Marshall County, by Charles Bartlett, n.d.
  • Ensigns course, History of Education in the United States, 1931
  • Compilation of students recollections, Academies Mentioned by [History of Education] Class in Education 71A, November 1931
  • List, Academies and Other Private Institutions, from The History of Polk County, Iowa
  • Cover featuring Denmark Academy Building on Midland Schools: Official Organ Iowa State Teachers Association, May 1932

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

University of Iowa Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Associates' Papers