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Duane Isely papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/5/56

Scope and Content

This collection (1938-2000) contains 4 different series; biographical, correspondence, Iowa State University related documents, and written works. The biographical series includes articles and other documents concerning his life. The correspondence series contains mostly professional letters to and from Duane Isely. The Iowa State University series documents Isely's career at Iowa State and includes teaching files, departmental correspondence, research notes, and materials related to his work as editor of the Iowa State Journal of Science. Lastly, the written works series contains materials related to papers and published works written by Isely. Topics for these files include seed analysis, legumes, taxonomies, and vascular flora.


  • 1938-2000

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Duane Isely was born October 24, 1918 in Bentonville, Arkansas. He received a B.A. (1938) and an M.A. (1939) from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. (1942) from Cornell University.

Isely was named an Extension Associate (1944) when he came to Iowa State College (University) to help operate the fledgling seed laboratory. He served as Assistant Professor (1947-1948), Associate Professor (1949-1955) and Professor (1956-1981) in the Department of Botany. Isely was designated a Distinguished Professor in 1981 and briefly served as Director (1986-1989) of the Ada Hayden Herbarium at Iowa State University. He retired in 1989.

Isely's early publications reflect his early interest in seed technology. He published a textbook and more than 50 papers on the topic and received an award of merit for his work with the Association of Official Seed Analysts. In addition, Isely was an active weed scientist, publishing nearly 20 books and laboratory manuals on weeds including Native and Naturalized Leguminosae (Fabaceae) of the United States (exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii) in 1998. Isely also served as editor of the Iowa State Journal of Research.

Isely passed away on December 7, 2000.


5.41 Linear Feet (4 records center cartons and 1 half document box)


Duane Isely (1918-2000), a native of Arkansas, received his B.A. (1938) and M.S. (1939) from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D (1942) from Cornell University. He was named an Extension Associate (1944) when he began managing the Seed Laboratory at Iowa State College (University). He was also an Assistant Professor (1947-1948); Associate Professor (1949-1955) and a Professor (1956-1981) in the Department of Botany. Isely was named Distinguished Professor (1981-1989) and retired in 1989. This collection contains biographical information, publications, professional and personal correspondence, teaching materials, committee work, research materials and photographs. The subject matter includes topics such as creationism, evolution, metabolism, seed science and technology, legumes, and plant pathology, as well as information on botanists, such as George Washington Carver.


This collection is organized into four series:

Series 1, Biographical information, 1953-2000 (chronological)

Series 2, Correspondence, 1944-1994 (chronological)

Series 3, Iowa State University, 1938-1992 (alphabetical)

Series 4, Publications, research, and writings, 1941-1995 (alphabetical)

Items in related collections

RS 13/5. Iowa State University. Department of Botany records, 1886-2014

RS 13/5/56. Duane Isely papers, 1938-2000
April 8, 2019
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