Edith King Campbell (1929)

Edith KingEdith King Campbell was a senior at Des Moines University in 1929. Due to the riots, the trustees closed the University two weeks shy of graduation. The class of 1929 still wanted to graduate so diplomas were draw up and graduation exercises commenced without the trustee’s approval. Once the trustee’s got wind, they quickly whipped out correspondence and sent it to all faculty and students.  The official letter declared all of the diplomas null and void. And anyone wishing to receive an official diploma had to petition, Miss Rebman, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. The letter also stated that anyone involved or claiming to be involved in the riots would not receive their credits or their diploma.

After a tense letter exchanged between Miss Rebman and Miss King on June 22, 1929, where Miss Rebman charged Miss King with instigating the riots. Rebman demanded that King appear before the trustees and argue her side. Until then, Miss King would be denied her credits and her diploma. King decided to seek legal  counsel.

An injunction was granted by District Court Judge Shankland demanding the the trustees give King her credits.  If they refused, her attorney said, “Judge Shankland is not inclined to be especially charitable with any effort made on the part of Des Moines University officials to discredit his orders.”

King received her credits and transferred to Northwestern University where she completed her education.

**If you’d like to read many of these letters yourself, visit the Iowa State Historical Library in Des Moines, Iowa. Edith’s husband donated her scrapbook of newspaper clippings and information about the riots in 1975.

Sources:

  • The Students of Des Moines University. The Tiger. Des Moines, Iowa, 1930.
  • Wiggins, David. An Iowa Tragedy: The Fall of Old Des Moines U. Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin: Historical-Midwest Books, 1988.
  • Edith Rebman, Secretary, Board of Trustees to Miss Edith May King, June 22, 1929. Edith King Campbell papers, 1929-1943. Iowa State Historical Library, Des Moines, Iowa.
  • “Resolution Respecting Diplomas and Credits, Passed by the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting”, June 20, 1929. Edith King Campbell papers, 1929-1943. Iowa State Historical Library, Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Casper Schenk, Attorney with the Law Offices of Bradshaw, Schnenk & Fowler to Edith M. King, July 17, 1929. Edith King Campbell papers, 1929-1943. Iowa State Historical Library, Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Casper Schenk, Attorney with the Law Offices of Bradshaw, Schnenk & Fowler to Edith M. King, July 22, 1929. Edith King Campbell papers, 1929-1943. Iowa State Historical Library, Des Moines, Iowa.
  • United Press. “Student Rioters Get Injunction Opening Des Moines College.” Washington Daily News, May 13, 1929. Edith King Campbell papers, 1929-1943. Iowa State Historical Library, Des Moines, Iowa.
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