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Robert William Dyas papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 26/5/51

Scope and Content

This collection (1913-1993, undated) contains papers, articles, blueprints, plans, class notes, lectures, talks, correspondence, and maps. A number of landscape designs, both residential and non-residential, and client correspondence are included. Materials related to the Department of Landscape Architecture and his teaching at Iowa State include alumni directories, class field trip information, course materials, extension-related files, historical information about the department, lectures, and teaching helps.


  • 1913-1993, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Robert William Dyas was born to Roy W. and Mary Elizabeth (Weirick) Dyas on May 4, 1919, in Maquoketa, Iowa. He graduated from Andrew (Iowa) High School and received his B.S.L.A. (1950) and his M.L.A. (1954) in landscape architecture from Iowa State College (University). Dyas served in the military during World War II, having entered into service in December 1940. He served as a Captain (1944-1945) charged with command of a combat infantry unit in Europe and was released from active duty in February 1946. He earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and several other combat medals.

After the war, Dyas enrolled at Iowa State and received his undergraduate degree. He then returned home to start a private landscaping practice. After several years, Dyas went back to school, this time to teach. He was hired by Penn State University as an Instructor (1954-1957) of landscape architecture. He then spent a year as an Instructor (1957-1958) at the University of California, Berkeley, and then joined the Kansas City landscape design firm Hare and Hare as a landscape architect (1958-1960).

Dyas joined the faculty of Iowa State's Department of Landscape Architecture as an Instructor (1960-1961). He was quickly promoted to Assistant Professor (1961-1964), Associate Professor (1964-1966), and Professor (1966-1989). Dyas showed particular interest in landscape design, design of outdoor educational and recreational facilities, and graphic communication of landscapes.

During a faculty improvement leave he was granted (1970-1971) Dyas completed a field study of "The Landscape Design Implications Inherent in the Midwest Savanna and its Component Species." This study included observation, study, and recording of data in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The results of this study were displayed in the "Spirit of the Savanna" graphic exhibit which included photographs, maps, and diagrams. He also created an audiotape and slide show of the savanna.

Dyas was an active member of a number of professional societies and received many awards for his teaching and efforts to promote landscape design. He was a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and served as President (1969-1971) of the National Conference of Instructors in Landscape Architecture. Dyas was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award (1969) from Iowa State University, the L. C. Chadwick Award (1978) from the American Association of Nurserymen, the Horticulture Merit Award (1979) from the Iowa State Horticultural Society, the Faculty Citation (1986) from the Iowa State University Alumni Association, and the Silver Medal (1987) from Tau Sigma Delta for distinction in design education.

Robert Dyas married Lorraine Roden of Paris, Texas, on August 29, 1956. They had no children.


11.8 Linear Feet (6 records center cartons, 1 document box, and 3 oversize boxes)


Landscape architect. Robert William Dyas received his B.S. (1950) and M.L.A. (1954) in landscape architecture from Iowa State College (University). He joined the staff of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University in 1960. During his nearly 30 years at Iowa State, Dyas conducted studies in landscape design, design of outdoor educational and recreational facilities, and graphic communication of landscapes. One of his largest studies involved a field study of the Midwest savanna, a region stretching from Canada to Texas. This collection contains papers, articles, blueprints, plans, class notes, lectures, talks, correspondence, and maps, many of which were created by Dyas. Photographic materials and other information related to the Midwest savanna project are also included in the collection.


This collection (1913-1993, undated) is loosely organized into the following series: biographical information, alumni, publications, correspondence, designs and plans, lectures and talks, Iowa State materials, field trips, Midwest Savanna project materials, plant and vegetation information, teaching helps, drawings maps, organizations, Iowa prairies, photographs, and oversize materials. Each series is sorted chronologically.

Items in related collections

RS 26/5. Iowa State University. Department of Landscape Architecture records

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 26/5/51. Robert William Dyas papers, 1913-1993, undated
March 27, 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