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Ada Hayden papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/5/55

Scope and Content

The Ada Hayden Papers (1864-2007) include biographical information, diplomas and certificates, illustrations, list of publications, and a small amount of general correspondence and correspondence concerning the Hayden family as well as a bibliography of early botanists. The collection also contains photographs of the Hayden Prairie, animals, plants, Ledges State Park, the Mississippi River, Hayden's family, self-portraits, prairies, and the Skunk River. In addition, the papers include Hayden's scripts of her radio talks regarding different state parks, botany, history, and prairie restoration. There are also writings by and about Ada Hayden, which include articles, poems, and memorials. This series contains Hayden's family and personal correspondence, as well as Hayden Prairie photographs, illustrations, and a list of publications.


  • Creation: 1864-2007, undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Ada Hayden (1884-1950) was born on August 14, 1884 in Ames, Iowa. She earned a Bachelor of Science (1908) and Doctor of Philosophy (1918) degrees at Iowa State University. Hayden also earned a Master of Science degree (1910) from Washington University in St. Louis. Hayden was the first woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Iowa State University.

She was an Instructor (1910-1918) in Botany, an Assistant Professor (1919-1950) of Botany, and named Curator of the Herbarium (1947-1950). Photographing and illustrating plants was a specialty as well. During her time at Iowa State she added more than 40,000 specimens to the herbarium.

In 1988, the Iowa State University herbarium was named the Ada Hayden Herbarium in honor of its former curator. Hayden was an avid conservationist who worked to have natural prairies in the state set aside as preserves. After her death a prairie preserve in Howard County, Iowa, was named the Ada Hayden Prairie Preserve by the Iowa Conservation Commission. Ada Hayden was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.


4.86 Linear Feet (2 document boxes, 3 small boxes, 1 oversize box, 2 lantern slide boxes, and 1 map case folder)


This collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Papers, 1864-2007, undated (Alphabetical)

Series 2: Lantern Slides, 1918-1950, undated (organized by slide number)

Physical Location

Negatives (nos. 123651-123692, 83860-83880) and the two boxes of lantern slides are stored in the vault.


Digital reproductions of a selection of materials from the Ada Hayden papers are available electronically. Please see the the Electronic Resources section section for a link. This digitized collection also includes materials from the Louis Hermann Pammel papers, RS-13-05-13. Please see Related Materials for a link to that collection.

Items in related collections

RS 13/5. Iowa State University. Department of Botany records, 1886-2014 RS 13/5/13. Louis Hermann Pammel papers, 1856-2011

Related collection materials

Seven of Ada Hayden's lantern slides depicting plants are held by the Ames Historical Society. These had been found in a desk for sale at the Iowa State University Surplus store, and brought to the attention of the Ames Historical Society curator who transferred most of the slides to ISU.

Collection Files

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 13/5/55. Ada Hayden papers, 1864-2007, undated
June 15, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672