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Gardner Cowles Sr. is pictured here with his three sons: Russell Cowles, John Cowles, and Gardner Cowles, Jr. (Mike). He also had three daughters: Helen LeCron, Bertha Quarton, and Florence Kruidenier.

Cowles & Drake University

For over 75 years, the Cowles Family and Drake University have been intertwined. Few families have left a more distinctive mark on any institution than the Cowles family has on Drake. In 1937, the Gardner Cowles Foundation made an instrumental gift to the University in the form of Cowles Library. A few decades later, the Library was given another generous donation from the Foundation, resulting in an addition to the facility which tripled the size of the Library.

Shortly after the deaths of John Cowles and Gardner Cowles, Jr. (Mike), the library acquired a large collection of family papers. Included in these papers are personal and business correspondence, speeches, photographs and framed documents, and memorabilia. More recently, the library acquired the papers of David Kruidenier, Jr., grandson of Gardner Cowles, Sr. Again these papers include correspondence, Des Moines Register annual reports, letters from high-profile individuals and miscellaneous historic photographs.

The papers of all three men have been organized into the Cowles/Kruidenier Collection. The Collection page contains finding aids for browsing the contents of the collection. Go to the Family page to see the Cowles family tree and access the men's biographies.


From the collection:

Letter from Jacqueline Kennedy to Gardner Cowles, Jr. (Mike)

See details about Mike's collection of papers at Cowles Library.

From the collection:

Letter from Vice President Richard Nixon to John Cowles

See details about John's collection of papers at Cowles Library.

From the collection:

Letter from Hillary Clinton to David Kruidenier, Jr.

See details about David's collection of papers at Cowles Library.