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LaVerne and Ida Noyes collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 21/7/235

Scope and Content

This collection (1894-2007, undated) includes biographical information, newspaper clippings, articles on windmills, and documents related to the LaVerne Noyes Foundation scholarships. Biographical materials for LaVerne and Ida Noyes consist of newspaper clippings, memorials, and excerpts from publications such as the University of Chicago publication, University Record. The collection also contains a photocopy of LaVerne Noyes' will. The collection includes files on the Aermotor Company as well as related articles on windmills.


  • 1894-2007, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


LaVerne Noyes was born on January 7, 1849, to Leonard R. and Jane Noyes of Genoa, New York. Noyes enrolled at Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University) in 1868 and graduated with a B.S. (1872) in general science as a member of Iowa State's first graduating class. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Iowa State for the success of his inventions and the promotion of higher education.

Ida Noyes was born Ida E. Smith on April 16, 1853, to Joel W. and Susan M. Smith in Croton, New York. Ida received her B.S. (1874) from Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University). Following her graduation Ida became a teacher. Ida and LaVerne married on May 24, 1877. She and LaVerne moved to Chicago where Ida was able to pursue her interests in the arts. Ida was an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, president of the North Side Art Club for many years, and studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ida died on December 5, 1912.

In 1879, LaVerne sold his hay-tool business and started a book holder manufacturing company. He continued to patent farming machinery, which he sold to implement manufacturers, and his Noyes Dictionary Holder sold modestly well. However, he became interested in manufacturing windmills and in 1887 he started the Aermotor Company in Chicago, Illinois. The Aermotor Company manufactured some of the first steel windmills and became the leading manufacturer of windmills in the country. The company also manufactured the first steel towers used for electrical transmission lines.

During his successful career as an inventor and businessman, Noyes was able to acquire a modest fortune. Using this money, Noyes created a scholarship fund for World War I veterans and their descendants and he also funded the construction of a hall at the University of Chicago, which he named after his late wife, Ida. Noyes enlisted the help of landscape gardener O.C. Simmonds to help beautify the campus of his alma mater. This project resulted in the creation of Lake LaVerne on the Iowa State campus. LaVerne Noyes died on July 24, 1919.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half-document box)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/235. LaVerne and Ida Noyes collection, 1894-2007, undated
January 22, 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