Fred W. Kent’s University of Iowa

See a selection of the archival works of UI Photographer Fred Kent and remember earlier eras of Iowa City through his lens. The Pentacrest Museums extend a special thanks to the Iowa Digital Library and the State Historical Society of Iowa. This exhibit will be on display in the Old Capitol Museum's Hanson Humanities Gallery beginning July, 2023.

Frederick Wallace Kent (February 3, 1894–July 17, 1984) photographed both the everyday and the extraordinary at the University of Iowa.    

From 1923 until 1925, Kent was a lecturer and photography instructor before later serving as the UI’s consulting photographer between 1936 and 1947. Kent founded University Photo Service in 1947 and was the manager there until 1963. For the next twelve  years, Kent was a part-time photographer of special projects there, retiring in 1975. Today, there are more than 50,000 pieces by Kent in the University’s archival collections.

"I just started taking pictures and never stopped."  —F.W. Kent

Kent was an aerial photographer during World War I, explored early color photography for Eastman Kodak, and made strides in the field of microscopic photography, contributing to advancements in medical and scientific research. Detailed photographs by Kent of the 1922 restoration of Old Capitol aided in subsequent restorations of the building. He holds the honor of first recipient of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission Award in 1984, for archiving the growth of the area through his photographs. Also an avid naturalist and birder, F. W. Kent Park west of Iowa city was named after him.

Kent's work captures the essence of our campus, through his lens. His many years of documentation of students, sports, and campus live on today and were instrumental in preserving our pictorial history.

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