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Henry Montgomery and Bernice Bernard Black Family papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/8/12

Scope and Content

This collection (1850-1990, undated) contains correspondence, papers, records, and photographs for the multiple generations of the Black Family, the Drips Family, the Bernard Family, and the Redington Family. The collection documents Ransom Drips Bernard's service in World War I, including photographs, scrapbooks, and correspondence; Henry Montgomery Black's service in World War II, including correspondence, maps, and illustrations; Bernice Bernard (Black)'s time at Northwestern and New York Universities, documented through scrapbooks and photographs; and Alice Redington's scrapbooks from her work for the United States Government in Puerto Rico. The collection also includes other pieces of memorabilia from the family's many years in Iowa. The collection contains numerous pieces related to Iowa State University, as Bernice Corlette Bernard, Henry Montgomery Black, and Bernice Black Durand all received degrees from the institution. Included are papers documenting the naming of Black Engineering Building after H.M. Black in 1987. The collection also contains older family histories and genealogies, including correspondence from the Civil War era. H.M. Black compiled the family histories of the Black Family and the Drips Family, records of which are filed within the collection.

The collection also contains a series of 35 mm photographic negative strips with no corresponding prints which are housed in the vault. The negative series are: Neg. #0103348-0103351.


  • 1850-1990, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Henry Montgomery Black was born in Reinbeck, Iowa to Alexander Melvin and Sarah Montgomery Black in 1907. He was one of seven siblings, the others being Beulah Black, Avis Black Hardt, Charlotte Black Mitchell, John Black, Jean Black Knepel, and Ethel Black, who died in childhood from the 1918 influenza epidemic. Mr. Black graduated from Reinbeck Consolidated High School in 1925 and earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree (1929) from Iowa State College (University). He taught engineering at Iowa State College for three years, then went on to earn a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree (1934) from Harvard University.

Mr. Black married Bernice Bernard in 1936. They had two children, Bruce Black and Bernice Black Durand. Bernice Bernard Black passed away in 1961, and Mr. Black married Alice Redington Black in 1969.

Mr. Black served in the United States Army from 1941-1946 during World War II. He was chief engineer for the landing at Utah Beach during the Normandy invasion. He was awarded a Bronze Star, a Legion of Merit, and the Croix de Guerre. He retired 30 years later at the rank of colonel.

After serving in the military, Mr. Black was appointed the Head of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State College in 1946. He held this position until 1972, and continued teaching until his retirement in 1977. He belonged to numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Iowa Engineering Society, and the Iowa State Board of Engineering Examiners. He was also affiliated with other civic organizations, such as the Ames Rotary Club, the Ames Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts of America. He was active in the Congregational Church, sitting on the Church Council and serving as Dean of Deacons. He received the Boy Scouts' Silver Beaver Award, an Iowa State University Faculty Citation and numerous other awards during his long career. Mr. Black passed away in 1989.

Bernice Bernard Black was born in Clarion, Iowa to Ransom Drips Bernard and Bernice Corlette Bernard in 1910. She graduated from Clarion High School in 1927 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree (1931) from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a Master of Science degree (1932) from New York University. She worked for four years in retail in both New York and Chicago.

Mrs. Black married Henry Montgomery Black in 1936. They had two children, Bruce and Bernice.

Mrs. Black was very active in many organizations, including the Delta Delta Delta Sorority, the Faculty Women's Club, and the Tuesday Club. She was a lifelong member of the Congregational Church and was the president of the Women's Fellowship there. She also participated in the women's activities of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University, the Campfire Girls, and the PTA. She served as the first secretary of the Ames Community Chest. Mrs. Black passed away in 1961.

Ransom Drips Bernard was born in Elkader, Iowa to H.H. Bernard and Madge Drips Bernard in 1882. He earned his bachelor's degree (1904) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and earned his medical degree (1907) at Rush Medical College in Chicago. After serving his internship in Chicago, Dr. Bernard moved to Clarion, Iowa where he practiced for 40 years. He was a founder of the National Conference on Medical Service, a Fellow of the American Medical Association, a member of the American Association of Railroad Surgeons, and was one of the founders of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Iowa.

After Dr. Bernard retired from practice in Clarion, he became the general manager of the Iowa State Medical Society. He served in this position for three years.

Dr. Bernard married Bernice Corlette in 1909. They had one daughter, Bernice. He served with the Army medical corps in France during World War I, where he attained the rank of Captain. Dr. Bernard passed away in 1961.

Bernice Corlette Bernard was born in Monona, Iowa (date unknown). Her family moved to Ames in 1900 where she attended Iowa State College and graduated in 1904. She married Ransom Drips Bernard in 1909. They had one daughter, Bernice.

Mrs. Bernard was active in the Congregational Church and took part in many organizations, including the American Legion Auxiliary, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Monday Club, and the Clover Club. She passed away in 1958.

Alice Redington Black was born in Waterloo, Iowa to Henry Ray and Anna Rayman Redington in 1908. She graduated from West High School, Waterloo in 1926 and attended Cornell College, Iowa State Teacher's College (University of Northern Iowa), and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Black worked for the Federal Communications Commission in both Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico in the 1930s. She then worked as a copy writer and editor in Chicago and Denver. She returned to Waterloo and worked as a librarian at the Waterloo Public Library for 18 years.

Mrs. Black married Henry Montgomery Black in 1969. She passed away in 1982.


49.05 Linear Feet (40 document boxes, 37 oversized boxes, and 2 map case folders)


Henry Montgomery Black was Professor and Head (1946-1972) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. During World War II, he served as chief engineer for the Utah Beach landing during the Normandy Invasion, and retired from the military with the rank of Colonel. This collection contains papers, memorabilia, and photographs of the Black family, and the families of his first and second wives, Bernice Bernard Black and Alice Redington Black. The materials include papers, records, photographs, scrapbooks, and other pieces of memorabilia from the Black family, including military service records, photographs, and maps from both Ransom Drips Bernard (Bernice Black's father) and Henry Black; photographs and scrapbooks chronicling the lives of Bernice Bernard Black, her mother, Bernice Corlette Bernard, and the children of Henry and Bernice Black, Bruce and Bernice; family correspondence dating back to the Civil War; and genealogy done by Henry Black on the Black and Drips families. The collection also contains artifacts, such as Henry Black's World War II medals, assorted pins from Bernice Corlette Bernard's many associations, and various awards earned by all members of the family.


The collection is organized into five series:

Series 1, Henry Montgomery Black and the Black Family Papers, 1863-1990, undated (chronological)

Series 2, Bernice Bernard Black Papers, 1911-1962, undated (chronological)

Series 3, Ransom Drips Bernard, Bernice Corlette Bernard and the Bernard, Corlette, and Drips Families Papers, 1850-1968, undated (chronological)

Series 4, Alice Redington Black and the Redington Family Papers, 1907-1983, undated (chronological)

Series 5, Artifacts, 1901-1989, undated

Items in related collections

RS 11/10/19. Henry Montgomery Black papers, 1889-1989, undated

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/8/12. Henry Montgomery and Bernice Bernard Black Family papers, 1850-1990, undated
January 23, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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