Guide to the Lawrence Oakley Cheever Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1931-1972
Creator: Cheever, Lawrence Oakley (1907-1974)
Extent: 2.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0494
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Industrial editor, author, book and bookplate collector. Correspondence, drafts, publications, and research relating to his interest in book illustrators, books and book plates.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs Box 3

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Use: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.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: Mr. Cheever began giving his books and manuscripts to the University of Iowa Libraries in the early 1950s and continued to donate his materials for the next thirty years.

Preferred Citation: Lawrence Oakley Cheever 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

Biographical Note

Lawrence Oakley Cheever (1907-1974) was born in Cliffordsville, Minnesota. He graduated from Wisconsin's Ripon College in 1929 and earned a degree in library science from Columbia University in 1931. For thirty three years Cheever worked for John Morrell and Company, first in Ottumwa, Iowa and later in Chicago. From 1935 to 1965, he edited the company magazine. He was one of the founders of both the American Association of Industrial Editors and of the Iowa Industrial Editor's Association. In 1965, Cheever accepted a position with the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City and took charge of the Society's newspaper collection. He was also a frequent contributor to and associate editor of The Palimpsest.
L. Oakley Cheever's special interests were in fine printing and book illustration and more specifically in books iillustrated by the artists Rockwell Kent and Edward A. Wilson. His collection of Prairie Press books was one of the most complete in existence. He collected books plates, books about books, and the works of essayists such as Christopher Morley and Vincent Starrett. Over the years, L.O. Cheever published a number of his own writings, usually relating to his collecting interests. These were generally published in journals or in his privately printed Christmas booklets (many of which were printed by Carroll Coleman's Prairie Press).

Content Description

The papers of Lawrence Oakley Cheever date from 1931 to 1972 and consist of approximately two linear feet of manuscripts. This collection is arranged in four series: 1) General files, 2) The Book Collector's Packet, 3) Bookplates, and 4) Christmas publications. The first series contains Cheever's correspondence files, as well as much of the material he collected concerning the Prairie Press and illustrator Rockwell Kent. The next section is comprised of research, typescript drafts, and copies of articles that Cheever published in a journal titled The Book Collector's Packet. His collection of bookplates, arranged by artist, makes up the third part of the papers. The final sequence contains the booklets that L.O. Cheever had published to send to his friends at Christmas. These include the drafts, correspondence, and all other manner of material relating to their writing and design.

Correspondence is found in three of the four series. There are letters from: Carroll Coleman, Rockwell Kent, Vincent Starrett, Raymond Lufkin, Dale Nichols, Edward A. Wilson, Will Simmons, Will Ransom, and George Perrottet.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Allen, Lewis, 1905-1986
Eichenberg, Fritz, 1901-1990
Gaine, Hugh, 1726 or 7-1807
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971
Nichols, Dale, 1904-
Simmons, Will, 1884-
Ward, Lynd, 1905-1985
Wilson, Edward Arthur, 1886-1970

Corporate Names:
Prairie Press

Authors, American
Illustration of books
Publishers and publishing

Book collectors

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Drafts (Documents)

The book collector's packet