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Samuel Calvin Papers

Identifier: RG99.0083

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Scope and Contents

This collection includes the professional correspondence, speeches, and publications of Samuel Calvin, dated 1884 to 1910. Three boxes contain material relating to his family, including correspondence, photographs, and travel journals. A detailed inventory of this collection, created by a bookseller, is housed in box 13.


  • Creation: 1862-1980


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 or Historical Information

Samuel Calvin was born February 2, 1840, in Wigtownshire, Scotland. Calvin's parents immigrated to the United States in 1851, and lived first in New York, and then moved to Iowa in 1855. On April 30, 1864, he enlisted in the service of the Union Army, 44th Regiment of the Iowa Infantry Volunteers, as a private in Company C, for a period of 100 days. At the time of his enlistment, Mr. Calvin was working as a carpenter. On September 5, 1865, he married Mary Louise Jackson of Hopkinton, Iowa. They had one child, Alice, born in 1866.

Calvin took his M.A. degree at Cornell College in 1874, and his Ph.D. at Lenox College in 1888. He received the LL.D. degree at Cornell College in 1904. He was professor of Natural Sciences at Lenox College in Hopkinton from 1864 to 1869, and served as the principal of a Dubuque, Iowa school from 1869 until 1873.

Calvin joined the faculty of the State University of Iowa in January 1874 as professor of Natural Science and curator of the University Cabinet. He was the first head of the SUI Geology Department, and served as geologist for the state of Iowa, with his focus on paleontology. His other areas of research and instruction were zoology and botany. In addition, he had a keen interest in environmental conservation, and was an accomplished photographer. Calvin made photographs of geological formations, as well as the architecture and people of the Iowa City area. Samuel Calvin died April 17, 1911.


15.50 Linear Feet


University of Iowa professor of geology, and first head of that department. Instructor in paleontology, zoology, botany. Geologist for state of Iowa. Photographer of the Iowa City area.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were donated to the University Archives by Ray Anderson in December 1997 and the Iowa Geological Survey Bureau in 1998.

Related Materials

Folder, "Calvin, Samuel," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Samuel Calvin photographs, within Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes digital collection

Records of the Dept. of Geoscience (RG06.0015.001)

Manuscript File Collection on Early University History (RG01.0001.001)

Papers of George F. Kay (RG99.0086)

Denise Anderson, September 2007
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242