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Walter Gormly papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/7/66

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, writings, subject files, and other miscellaneous Items Gormly collected. Subjects include conscientious objection (WWII), the anti-fluoride movement, the Society for Social Responsibility in Science, and Humanism.


  • Creation: circa 1940s — circa 1990s, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Walter Ford Gormly was born February 7, 1915, the middle son of Will J. and Anna L. Gormly of Mount Vernon, Iowa. After transferring from Colorado State College, he received his B.S. (1939) from Iowa State College (University) in Mechanical Engineering. While a student, Gormly was active in the Collegiate Presbyterian Church and the local chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Because he was a conscientious objector, and because he refused to serve in government-sanctioned work camps, Gormly was incarcerated for three years during World War II in the federal prison at Sandstone, Minnesota. While in prison he staged a hunger strike, which lasted for four months and four days (during which time he was fed intravenously) before he was freed without parole.

Gormly, believing that federal tax dollars funded the military, continued his anti-war activities by refusing to pay federal income tax during the 1950s. In 1962, he staged another hunger strike in front of the Internal Revenue Service building in Des Moines, Iowa, and was once again jailed for a short time. During this period, Gormly also became very interested in food and drug issues and was a vocal opponent of fluoride. He published “Newsman’s Gadfly” during the 1960s and authored a column, “Voice from the Woods”. He was a member of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science (SSRS) and the Humanists of Iowa. Gormly died February 26, 2000.


6.5 Linear Feet (5 records center cartons)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/66. Walter Gormly papers, circa 1940s — circa 1990s, 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