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Charles S. Gwynne papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/8/12

Scope and Content

This collection (1892-1973, undated) contains biographical material, correspondence, and numerous reports on geology projects. Also included are conference material and geological photographs. In a map case are large maps and drawings of topography and geological surveys, along with road maps.


  • 1892-1973, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Charles Sumner Gwynne was born in New York City on December 23, 1885, to Alexander and Emily (Bishop) Gwynne. He received his A.B. (1907) in chemistry from Cornell University, his M.S. (1925) in geology from Syracuse University, and his Ph.D. (1927) in geology from Cornell University. Gwynne joined the Geology Department at Iowa State College (University) as Assistant Professor (1927-1931). He was promoted to Associate Professor (1931-1951) and Professor (1951-1970), serving for short periods as Acting Head (1931-1935) of the department. In the years immediately following World War II, he was the sole faculty member in the department.

Gwynne’s field of special interest was economic geology. He conducted research in a variety of fields such as the geology of coals and clay, structural geology, petrology, weathering, and glacial geology. His favorite object of study was a glacial erratic rock located about half a mile from campus. Students and faculty moved the boulder in 1956 to a permanent spot on the southeast corner of Science Hall. He conducted field summer courses in conservation for secondary teachers for many years. These courses were held in state parks in Iowa. Drawing from these experiences, he published a series of papers on the geology of more than 60 state parks in the “Iowa Conservation Review”.

Charles Gwynne married Elsie Wilson, a faculty colleague in Home Economics in 1933. He regularly attended the Geological Society of America Conventions and international geological conferences. He died on June 18, 1972 in Ames, Iowa, and is buried in the University Cemetery.


6.31 Linear Feet (5 document boxes, 1 half document box, 4 map case folders)


oversize materials are found in the Archives Map Case, in Drawer #2.

Items in related collections

RS 13/8. Iowa State University. Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences records, 1994-2014

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 13/8/12. Charles S. Gwynne papers, 1892-1973, undated
January 23, 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