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Pictures of 1933 campus life donated to UNI Archives

March 4, 2011

Gerald Peterson, special collections librarian and archivist, Rod Library, 319-273-6307,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Many students may wonder about what life at the University of Northern Iowa was like more than 70 years ago. Now, they can see it for themselves. Ruth Buchholz, daughter of Leroy Blumer, a former student at what was then the Iowa State Teachers College, donated a collection of pictures that her father took while he was a student.

Blumer's photos focus on his friends, with a few shots from around town and on campus. During his time on campus, the Commons was under construction. This was the first general gathering area for students, as Maucker Union had not yet been constructed. The Commons featured radios, phonographs and even a soda fountain. The College Hill business district was already thriving. Since fewer students owned cars, the Hill was a place where students could buy groceries, flowers, shoes and meals. Some restaurants even had meal plans.

During those days, in the height of the Depression, money was difficult to come by. These students survived on $10 a week. Blumer had to pay between $20 and $30 per semester for tuition. He shucked corn while attending school, earning about $1 a day. This demonstrated his commitment to attending school, despite how hard he had to work to afford it.

Individuals interested in the pictures can view them at For more information, contact Gerry Peterson, special collections librarian and archivist at Rod Library, at or 319-273-6307.

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