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Donald Elwood Larew papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/7/232

Scope and Content

This collection (1954-2010, undated) contains letters, theater programs, and Iowa State University memorabilia. The collection of letters consists of dozens of letters from Larew to his parents. Most of the letters were written by Larew as a student at Iowa State and then later at the beginning of his professional career in interior design. On the backs of the envelopes, Larew noted and identified the specific people mentioned in the letters as an aid to help anyone reading through them.

In the letters Larew sent home to his parents, he reveals some of his experiences as a college student and as a young man just starting out on his own. He writes home about laundry, money, his class schedule and grades, and social events he attended. In one letter he reported on a visit to the college hospital to treat a severe nose bleed. One topic that Larew wrote about repeatedly was the theater. He wrote home about the plays he appeared in, the ones he helped design sets for, and in one instance sent instructions home for a costume he needed made. During at least one of his summer breaks from college he worked as a busboy at Troutdale-in-the-Pines, a summer resort in Colorado, and wrote a couple letters home describing that experience.


  • 1954-2010, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Donald Elwood Larew was born in 1940 to Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Larew of Iowa City, Iowa. Following his graduation from Iowa City High School, he enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. There he received his B.S. (1963) in applied art with an emphasis in interior design. While at Iowa State, Larew joined the fraternity Delta Upsilon and was a cast member and set designer for a number of campus theatrical productions. He was involved in both the Iowa State Players and Stars Over VEISHEA.

Following his graduation, Larew traveled to the New York City area where his brother lived. While looking for a job he enrolled in a summer interior design seminar at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. He was then hired by the department store G. Fox and Co. of Hartford Connecticut. While living in Connecticut he also performed in a number of local theater productions.

Larew eventually returned to Iowa and enrolled in the University of Iowa. He received his M.F.A. (1969) in dramatic arts from the university. He then joined the staff at North Dakota State University as an Instructor (1969-1971) in the Department of Theatre Arts. He was eventually promoted to Assistant Professor (1971-1974), Associate Professor (1978-1986) and Professor (1986-2009). Larew also served as Art Director and Designer for the Little Country Theater, the theatrical production unit of the Department of Theatre Arts. Larew retired from North Dakota State in May 2009 and was named Professor Emeritus.


2.2 Linear Feet (2 document boxes and 1 oversize box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Related collection materials

A large collection of materials related to Don Larew's involvement with theatrical productions can be found in the Don Larew Theatrical Productions Scenic and Costume Design Collection located at the University Archives of North Dakota State University. A finding aid for the collection can be found in box 1, folder 2.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/232. Donald Elwood Larew papers, 1954-2010, undated
January 22, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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