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Icarian Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-0026

Scope and Contents

The Icarian Collection consists of court documents, correspondence, and other material created by the Icarian community in Corning, Iowa in the 19th century along with research material created and collected by UNO Sociology professors Wayne Wheeler and Mark Rousseau. The documents created by the Icarian community in the 19th century were received from multiple donors, including a descendant of Frank M. Davis, an attorney who worked on the community’s legal case. The research material created and collected by Professors Wheeler and Rousseau includes, sketchbooks, photographs, slides, photo albums, audio cassettes, posters, and other material documenting the Icarian community and its history. The collection is currently being arranged and described. (January 2018)


  • Creation: circa 1819-1989


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at


3.0 Cubic Feet (4 boxes, 10 slide carousels)

Custodial History

The largest quantity of the manuscript material was received as donations from two former UNO Sociology professors, Wayne Wheeler and Mark Rousseau, whose research included the Icarian movement. It is believed much of the material from Wheeler and Rousseau’s research was donated to the archives when Professor Wheeler’s UNO office was being emptied. Ms. Kathryn Davis donated 10 items on October 13, 1978. Dr. Wilfred Payne, a former Philosophy professor at the Municipal University of Omaha (UNO precursor), donated 53 items in November 1970, which included 41 items earlier given to him by Francis H. Chambers, possibly on May 12, 1939 and July 5, 1939. Chambers had been enrolled in Prof. Payne’s Utopias course. Chambers’ grandfather Francis “Frank” M. Davis was the lawyer for the "rebel Icarian faction" in Corning, Iowa. Consult the repository's donor file for further information about the provenance and history of the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Francis Chambers (1939), Dr. Wilfred Payne (1970), Kathryn Davis (1978), Professor Wayne Wheeler, Professor Mark Rousseau.

Related Materials

There are two related collections of books in UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections. The largest collection comprises the original books which belonged to the Icarian community near Corning, Iowa, which existed from 1852 until 1898. After the Icarian community disbanded, Tabor College in Tabor, Iowa, acquired its entire collection of books. Tabor College closed in 1927, and in 1933, the Municipal University of Omaha purchased Tabor's entire library collection, including over 500 Icarian books. The Icarian research collection holds books published after the community ceased to exist and the majority are in English with a small number in French or German. This small collection of research books about the Icarians has been acquired over the years through purchase, donation, or transfer from Criss Library's general collection. The original and research books in the Icarian Collection have been cataloged and can be searched in the library catalog under the subject or keyword "Icarian Collection." Those which were originally owned by the Icarian community have the subject heading "Icarian Collection - Original," while later books about the Icarian community have the subject heading "Icarian Collection - Research."

Separated Materials

Published material and reproductions of published items were removed from the collection during processing. These titles have been described in the library catalog. Titles include: The Communist, L'Observateur (issues 2-3), and Brief History of Icaria.

Processing Information

The manuscript collection was arranged and described in January-March 2018.


Icarian Collection
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States