Fred W. Kent’s Iowa City Classics.

Frederick (Fred) Wallace Kent – February 3, 1894 – July 17, 1984 – photographed everyday scenes and the extraordinary in Iowa City for 70+ years. He holds the honor of first recipient of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission Award (1984) for documenting the growth of the area through his photographs. On this page we want to offer you a small sampling of his classic works. Read more about Fred W. Kent here.

For U of I 175th Anniversary in 2022 – Fred Kent’s 1925 photo of the Pentacrest was colorized.

1913SUI fans waiting for the Hawkeye football team to arrive at the Rock Island Depot.
1915 – Two SUI coeds on campus.

1915 – SUI Coeds relaxing on University Square (left), Old Capitol (right).

1921 – Iowa Avenue Bridge.

1920’s Fred even took pictures of Iowa City from the air!

October 1922 – Homecoming Parade. Click here to read more about the history of Clinton Street.

Fred’s detailed photographs of Old Capitol prior to the 1922 renovation project aided greatly in the 1976 restoration of the building. Read more here.

1923 – Mecca Parade features the cornerstone for the new Iowa Memorial Union.
1925 – WSUI Radio live music presentation.
1927 – Commencement on the Pentacrest.
1920’s – Downtown Iowa City.
1929 – Old Capitol and Old Man Winter.
1930’s – Skiers on the Pentacrest.

1930’s – Pearson’s Drug Store on the corner of Linn & Market Streets (left), Varsity Cleaner delivery service (right).

1930’s – Women’s Rifle Team (left), ROTC Band leaders at Old Capitol (right).

1939 – College Street.
1939 – Iowa City Centennial celebration.

1940’s – Homecoming Parade on Clinton Street (left), WSUI Radio Broadcast (right).

1947 – SUI Centennial Celebration with IMU waiters presenting the birthday cake.

1950’s – Of course – no collection of Fred W. Kent photos could be complete with a few shots of Herky the Hawk.

1950’s – Downtown Iowa City.

1960’s – University Bookstore. Click here to read more about the history of Clinton Street.
April 1968 – Mourners gathered for a memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights activist who was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Click here to read more about this iconic moment of mourning and other events like it…

1970’s – Campus demonstrations.

A good portion of Fred’s photograph collection was transferred to the University of Iowa Archives and his meticulously labeled collection of family albums, travel albums, nature scenes, audio tapes, negatives, letters, diaries and his camera collection were all donated to the State Historical Society.

Click here to see more of Fred W. Kent’s classics via Flicker.

There are two iconic photos from 1963 & 1968 that stand out amongst many. Click here to see them.


Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

Frederick W. Kent Photograph Collection, University of Iowa Libraries

University of Iowa Libraries: Iowa Digital Library website

Old Gold Through Fred Kent’s Lens: Images of UI History, David McCartney, The Spectator, May 2010

The Man Behind the Camera: Fred W. Kent, Mary Bennett, The Palimpsest 75(3), 1994, pp102-131

Memorial Service for Martin Luther King, Jr. photo (1968), Fred Kent, Facing East and Facing West – Iowa’s Old Capitol Museum, Linzie Kull McCray & Thomas Langdon (2007) University of Iowa Press, p 12


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