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National History Day in Iowa Records, 1978-1993

 Sub-Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/12/4

Description of Material

This sub-group (1978-1993, undated) contains correspondence, programs, publications, and competition results during the time period in which Clair Keller was Director of History Day in Iowa. The collection also includes press releases, planning materials, photographs, slides, and audio and video recordings from district, state, and national competitions.

The slides and photographs show participants working on History Day projects and some of the finished projects displayed at the state contest. The audio recordings are mostly a resource used to introduce students to History Day and explain the kinds of projects that are expected and how to go about researching. The Focus on ISU recording in box 12 includes a partial interview with Clair Keller. The videotapes include footage from Iowa History Day 1981, a home video of the national contest in 1992, and a performance and interview of the national winners for group performance in 1986.


  • 1978-1993

Language of Materials

From the Record Group:


Access Restrictions

Open for research.


National History Day is a competition in which students in grades 6-12 select a topic in history and construct projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Over 600,000 students compete annually at local, regional, and state contests and at the national competition held at the University of Maryland.

The History Day program began in 1974 at Case Western Reserve University. By 1979, the contest had spread to the rest of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and the Chicago metro area, and the first national contest was held in Ohio. The program continued to spread to other states and took on the name National History Day.

The mission of National History Day is to provide students with opportunities to learn historical content and develop research, thinking, and communication skills through the study of history and to provide educators with resources and training to enhance classroom teaching.

Clair Keller, professor of early American history and social studies methods at Iowa State University, served as state coordinator from the program’s inception in Iowa in 1979 through the transfer of the program to the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1993-1994. Keller also served on the National History Day Board of Trustees. As state coordinator, Keller was in charge of the program in Iowa, overseeing the district coordinators and organizing the state contest, held annually at Iowa State University. He also planned and chaperoned the annual trip to the historical sites of Gettysburg, PA; Washington, D.C.; and several sites in Virginia for Iowa students advancing to the national competition at the University of Maryland.


4.99 Linear Feet (9 document boxes, 1 half-document box, and 2 card file boxes)


The collection is organized into two series:

Series 1, Records, 1978-1993 (chronological)

Series 2, Photographic and Audio/Visual Materials, 1978-1992, undated (chronological)

Processing Information

Released on 2019-04-19.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672