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Joseph Charles Arthur papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/7/30

Scope and Content

The collection contains biographical information and correspondence. The bulk of the collection consists of numerous publications mostly on plant rust fungi (Uredinales), including the manuscript for The Plant Rusts (1929).


  • 1876-2002, undated

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Joseph Charles Arthur was born January 11, 1850 in Lowville, New York. When he was a young boy the family moved to Charles City, Iowa. In 1869, Arthur enrolled at the Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University), where he received a B.S. (1872) in Botany and was a member of the first graduating class of the college. He also earned an M.S. (1877) in Botany, the first M.S. degree conferred at the Iowa Agricultural College. He received his Sc. D. (1886) in plant pathology and mycology from Cornell University.

Dr. Arthur studied at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University before becoming an instructor (1879-1881) at the University of Wisconsin and instructor (1882) at the University of Minnesota, and botanist (1884-1886) at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. Shortly after he graduated from Cornell University, Arthur accepted a position to form and head the Department of Botany (1887-1915) at Purdue University.

Arthur devoted his career to studying plant rust fungi (Uredinales). On this subject, he published numerous articles and books, including The Plant Rusts (1929) and Manual of the Rusts in the United States and Canada (1934). While at Purdue University, Arthur founded the university’s herbarium (the Arthur Herbarium), which continues to be a leading research institution for the study of plant rust fungi.

Dr. Arthur belonged to several scientific organizations, including the Indiana Academy of Science (president, 1893), the Botanical Society of America (president, 1902;1910), the American Phytopathological Society (president, 1933), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Society. He was also active in the International Botanical Congresses.

In 1901, Joseph Charles Arthur married Emily Stiles Potter, of Lafayette, Indiana. He passed away April 30, 1942 in Brook, Indiana.


1.05 Linear Feet (2 document boxes and 1 half-document box)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/30. Joseph Charles Arthur papers, 1876-2002, undated
January 15, 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