Collection MS/MS 01.27 - Paul Henson Appleby Papers 1891-1963

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US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.27

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Paul Henson Appleby Papers 1891-1963




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Biographical history

Paul H. Appleby, journalist, public servant, and educator was born on a farm in Greene County, Missouri in 1891. The son of a minister, his family moved frequently, living in Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. He attended high school in Newton, Iowa and graduated from Grinnell College in 1913. While at Grinnell, he met his wife Ruth (class of 1913). After graduating from Grinnell College, Paul H. Appleby went to the state of Washington and worked on a fruit farm for a short time. He then went on to publish weekly newspapers in Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa. Paul was the editor of Iowa Magazine in Waterloo from 1920 to 1924. The four years following that saw him as an editorial writer for the Des Moines Register and Tribune. In 1928 he moved to Virginia and published the News-Journal in Radford and the News Messenger in Christiansburg. In 1933, Paul H. Appleby became Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace. By 1940 he was the Undersecretary of Agriculture and in 1944 he became Assistant Director of the Budget for the United States. He left Washington DC to work for the radio station KIRO, returned to Washington DC and left again, this time to become the dean of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He made several trips to India as a consultant with the Ford Foundation and in 1955 returned to political life by serving as Budget Director for the State of New York. He retired in 1957, but remained active in his role as a consultant to India and published several articles. 

Paul and Ruth Appleby had three children and they also all attended Grinnell College: Margaret Matilda Appleby, class of 1939, Mary Ellen Appleby class of 1942 (married John E. Sarbaugh, class of 1941) and Loring Thomas Appleby class of 1949 (married Doris Lucille Chambers, class of 1952). Loring and Doris’s son, Paul Harry Appleby, graduated from Grinnell College in 1974.

Many of Paul’s siblings also attended Grinnell—Erma Appleby graduated in 1908, Frank B. Appleby graduated in 1916 (married Jerene C. Reaver ex-1916) and Velma Appleby graduated in 1922. One other sister, Una Appleby Stewart was three years older than Paul and went to Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, but was an Instructor in Speech at Grinnell College during 1919-1921. Please also see the family tree at the end of this finding aid.

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The collection deals mainly with Paul H. Appleby, although there are items of interest concerning other members of the Appleby family. The entirety of Paul’s life is included, both political and personal aspects. There are several personal and political photographs and pieces of correspondence. There are also pieces of Grinnell College memorabilia from both Paul’s and Mary Ellen’s time here. There are several noteworthy items in this collection, especially letters to Paul from Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson (written when he was a Congressman) and a letter of condolence from John Fitzgerald Kennedy after Paul’s death. There are also several other moving letters of condolence from many important political figures and they arrive from all over the world. Especially interesting are the ones written after John Kennedy’s assassination a month after Paul’s passing. There are photo albums and several other pictures showing Grinnell College campus life in the early part of the twentieth century. Many of Paul’s writings are also in the collection, including stories written for The Unit; several issues of a magazine he published in his youth, The Chum; and numerous articles published during his political career.

Materials in the collection often refer to family member by initials. PHA is Paul Henson Appleby, RMA is Ruth Meyer Appleby and ME is Mary Ellen Appleby Sarbaugh.

Other collections of interest are the Mary Ellen Appleby Sarbaugh Papers and the Florence Kerr papers.

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  • English

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The bulk of the Paul H. Appleby manuscript collection was donated by Mary Ellen Appleby Sarbaugh in September 1987 and June 1988.  Two later additions were received in  2001 and in May, 2002.  The May, 2002 donation is included in Box. 20.

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