In 1945 the University of Iowa Library entrusted to one of its long-time librarians, Grace Wormer, the task of forming a special collection of books written by Iowa authors,” wrote Frank Paluka in Iowa Authors: A Bio-bibliography of Sixty Native Writers (Iowa City: Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1967). “An Iowa author, for the purpose of this collection, was considered to be any writer born in the state or definitely associated with Iowa who had written at least one published book. For non-native writers, a definite association with the state was usually interpreted to mean a residence in Iowa of twenty years or more.” By 1967 the collection included the work of more than 800 writers. Today, the collection embraces books by the nearly 2,000 authors that line the Reading Room in Special Collections, though it is no longer a growing collection.
While there are books in all genres in the collection, literary works receive special emphasis. Children’s books are also included. The collection has first and subsequent editions, including translations, paperbacks, large print editions, and limited editions. Authors include Max Allan Collins, Janet Dailey, Paul Engle, Jeannette Eyerly, Hamlin Garland, MacKinlay Kantor, Leigh Michaels, Wallace Stegner, and Ruth Suckow. Textbooks, magazine articles, and edited works are not acquired and the writings of The University of Iowa faculty members or other scholars are generally not in the collection. Books published by the University of Iowa Press are, however, held in University Archives.
A 1993 article by Robert McCown in Books at Iowa gives more details on the history of the collection:
McCown, Robert A. "The Iowa Authors Collection." Books at Iowa 59 (1993): 23-26.
McCown, Robert A. "Iowa Authors on Iowa: A Sesquicennial Reading List." Books at Iowa 65 (1996): 25-27.
A full list of 2000+ Authors is available in Special Collections.