Nile Kinnick Collection now online

Nile Kinnick Collection now online

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Letters, clippings, and photos document the Hawkeye hero's life
Portrait of Nile Kinnick in football uniform.One of the Kinnick photos viewable online via the Iowa Digital Library at the University of Iowa Libraries. The original photo is part of the University Marketing and Media Production Photo Service collection, and is available for purchase (see below).

Each fall tens of thousands of people cheer their beloved Iowa Hawkeyes in the football stadium that bears the name of Iowa’s only Heisman trophy winner: Nile Kinnick Jr. Standing only 5’8” tall, Kinnick was a giant among men, a champion athlete and scholar who gave his life for his country serving in World War II.

A new digital collection from the University of Iowa Libraries brings together letters, newspaper clippings, and photos of Nile Kinnick, These materials tell the story of one of the UI’s greatest football legends.

Included in the collection is the text of Kinnick’s Heisman trophy acceptance speech. Whitney Martin, a reporter covering the Heisman ceremony for the Associated Press, described the scene as “several hundred men and women rose and cheered and whistled...You realized the ovation wasn’t alone for Nile Kinnick, the outstanding college football player of the year. It was also for Nile Kinnick, typifying everything admirable in American youth.”

The Nile Kinnick Collection is the latest addition to the Iowa Digital Library,, which features more than half a million digital objects created from the holdings of the UI Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, fine art, political cartoons, scholarly works, audio and video recordings, and more.

University Marketing and Media Production Photo Service offers contemporary and historic UI images—including the Nile Kinnick portrait above—for sale. See their online store for options.


Kristi Bontrager, University Libraries, 319-335-5960


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