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Arthur C. Trowbridge Papers

Identifier: RG99.0089

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Scope and Contents

These papers reflect the professional career of professor Arthur C. Trowbridge. They include field notes dated 1912 to 1947 written by Trowbridge and others while working with the U.S. Geological Survey Bureau. The collection also includes Trowbridge's writings, professional correspondence, University of Iowa course instruction, maps, photographs of geological formations, and committee work.

Materials are arranged in chronological and alphabetical order. Correspondence includes letters to and from Trowbridge under the name of the correspondent. General correspondence organized by year follows correspondence organized alphabetically.


  • Creation: 1873-1970


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

Arthur Carleton Trowbridge was born March 4, 1885, in Glasgow, Missouri. He received his B.S. degree in geology at the University of Chicago in 1907 and his Ph.D. there in 1911. While enrolled at the University of Chicago, he was in charge of the university geology laboratory.

Trowbridge joined the faculty of the State University of Iowa in July 1911. He taught general geology courses and introduced summer field courses and laboratory methods to the curriculum. To aid in teaching the geology laboratory courses, Trowbridge and Rollin Salisbury published three manuals in 1912 and 1913. His areas of research were physiography and glacial geology. Later his focus was on stratigraphy and sedimentation. He wrote numerous research papers about the driftless area of the Upper Mississippi Valley.

In 1922 Trowbridge worked with the U.S. Engineer Corps of the War Department to study sediment deposition problems on the Mississippi Delta. From 1928 to 1930 he made geographical surveys which were used to determine locations for navigation locks and dams on the Mississippi River. In 1925 and 1926 Trowbridge worked as a consultant for the Turkish Petroleum Company of London in an international effort to survey Iraq. During the early 1930s he consulted with various petroleum companies in efforts to locate oil fields.

Trowbridge was named head of the department, as well as director of the Iowa Geological Survey and geologist for the state of Iowa in 1934, succeeding George F. Kay. He resigned from the Geological Survey in 1947 in order to devote time to teaching and administrative duties. He retired from the State University of Iowa in June 1952. Trowbridge continued to teach part time until 1965. He worked as a consultant for Gulf Research and Development Company in Houston from 1952 to 1955. Trowbridge received the Neil A. Miner award from the National Association of Geology Teachers in 1960 and was awarded the L.H.D. from Augustana College in 1963.

During World War I, Trowbridge was granted a military leave from the University. He served as educational director for the U.S. Army YMCA at Camp Dodge from 1917 to 1918 and at the New York City YMCA from 1918 to 1919. During World War II, Trowbridge and Professor Arthur K. Miller conducted geology classes while other geology professors served in the military.

Trowbridge married Sue Estelle Bussey in August 1911 and had two children, Charles Lambert and Carolyn Frances. Sue B. Trowbridge died March 28, 1968. Arthur C. Trowbridge died November 16, 1971. The Dental Science building was renamed Trowbridge Hall in 1973 when the Department of Geology occupied the building.


12.50 Linear Feet


Geology professor, department head, director of the Iowa Geological Survey, geologist for the state of Iowa, consultant for oil companies. His research centered on stratigraphy, sedimentation, and glacial geology. Maps, field notes, instruction, correspondence, committee work, papers and reprints of articles.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were transferred to the University Archives from the Department of Geology in May 1998. Guide posted to the Internet in September 2008.

Related Materials

Folder, "Trowbridge, Arthur C.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Papers of George F. Kay (RG99.0086)

Papers of Frank A. Wilder (RG99.0090)

Papers of Samuel Calvin (RG99.0083)

Salisbury, Rollin D. and Arthur C. Trowbridge. The interpretation of topographic maps; a laboratory manual for use in connection with the topographic maps of the United States Geological survey. To accompany beginning courses in physiography. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1912.

Salisbury, Rollin D. and Arthur C. Trowbridge. Studies in geology; a laboratory manual based on topographic maps and folios of the United States Geological survey, for use with classes in physiographic and structural geology. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1912.

Salisbury, Rollin D. and Arthur C. Trowbridge. Laboratory exercises in structural and historical geology; a laboratory manual based on folios of the United States geological survey; for use with classes in structural and historical geology. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1913.

Trowbridge, Arthur Carleton. "Tertiary and Quaternary Geology of the Lower Rio Grande Region, Texas." U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, Report: B 0837(1932): 260 pp.

Denise Anderson, September 2008
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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