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Carroll Lane Fenton and Mildred Adams Fenton Papers

Identifier: MsC0602

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Scope and Contents

A geologist by training and a member of several university faculties, Carroll Fenton published a large number of books on scientific topics for children, most of them with his own illustrations and many co-authored with his wife.


  • Creation: 1960-1969


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Carroll Lane Fenton was born in 1900 on a farm in Butler County, Iowa, near the town of Costor. Between the ages of five and ten he lived in Saskatchewan, where the birds, coyotes, and other wildlife, combined with the books of Ernest Thompson Seeton, stimulated his early interest in nature study. After his return to Iowa, the fossil deposits near his home in Charles City, extended this scientific interest to paleontology.

In 1926, Fenton received a doctoral degree in geology from the University of Chicago. He has held positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Buffalo, and at Rutgers, has conducted seminars in nature writing at Northern Arizona University. In 1938 -- 1939, he was the director of science broadcasts for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and for several years he was consultant in general science for the magazine Children's Activities.

Together with his wife, Mildred Adams, a fellow Iowan who is also a geologist and writer, he traveled extensively in North, Central, and South America gathering material for his books. Most of these books, some written for children and others for adults, are illustrated with drawings he made himself. Fenton has also published numerous articles in professional and popular scientific magazines, including the American Midland Naturalist, Pan-American Geologist, Nature Magazine, Scientific Monthly, and the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America. Carroll Lane Fenton died in 1969.

Mildred Adams Fenton, was born near West Branch, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa, where her interest in geology and fossils had been aroused. She met her husband Carroll Lane Fenton while they were both undergraduates and they were married in 1921.

The Fentons spent the next ten years as students and research workers, devoting their summers to field trips on which they studied modern animals as well as ancient rocks and fossils. When Carroll began to write popular books for children and adults, Mildred acted as critic, research assistant, typist, and photographer. The next step was co-authorship, which began with a volume for adults and was soon followed by one for children.


3.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by the Fentons in the early nineteen-sixties.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)