Agricultural Collections

   Sources for the History of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Iowa State University Library

The Special Collections Department published its Sources for the History of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Iowa State University Library in 1996. Compiled by the former Head of Special Collections, Glenn McMullen, the listing provided a comprehensive guide to the holdings at Iowa State University relating to agriculture.

This guide describes manuscript and archival resources documenting the history of agriculture and rural life held by the Iowa State University Library’s Special Collections Department. Since the Department’s beginnings in 1969, agriculture has been a central focus of its manuscript collections and the university archives. The Department collects nationally with regard to the records of agricultural and scientific organizations; its central core of collections documents agriculture in the Midwest, and more specifically in Iowa.

The Department currently holds over 700 collections (as of 2004) relating to agriculture and the majority are described in this guide. They are divided into fifteen categories: business, agribusiness, and marketing; cooperatives; engineering and technology; extension; farmers and farming; farmers organizations and protest groups; government agencies and public officials; historians and social scientists; journalism and broadcasting; producer and distributor organizations; professional and scientific organizations; scientists and scientific research; soil, water, and wildlife conservation; town and rural life; and veterinary medicine and animal welfare.

   USAIN Project:

The Iowa State University Library also participated in a U.S. Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) Preservation project to identify rural life literature in the state of Iowa.  Please see:

Iowa Agriculture and Rural Life: A Bibliography of Materials Published Between 1836 and 1945 (Published by the Iowa State University Library, 2004) (pdf)

   Digital Agricultural Collections:

Iowa State University:

University of Illinois: Farm, Field and Fireside Agricultural Newspaper Collection

Cornell University: Core Historical Literature of Agriculture (CHLA)