The Archives and Special Collections unit of the University of Iowa Libraries recently made a scrapbook of a 1927 African American alumnus available online. The scrapbook was the work of Patrobas Cassius Robinson, who enrolled at the university in 1923 when he was 17 years old. Four years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. His scrapbook offers a rare snapshot of African America life at the University of Iowa in the mid-1920s.
The scrapbook, which contains photographs, a register of Robinson’s fraternity brothers and other documents, was discovered at a rare book dealership in Boston. Hal and Avril Chase, longtime supports of the University of Iowa Libraries, made a gift that allowed the university to purchase the scrapbook. The contents have now been digitally preserved and made available to researchers and the public.
Robinson, a native of St. Louis, taught high school science classes in the St. Louis public schools from 1927 to 1963. He also founded his own real estate company and managed the enterprise for 35 years. Robinson died in 1984 at the age of 78.