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Iowa State University. Department of World Languages and Cultures records

 Record Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 13/11

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials related to the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Records include news clippings, annual reports, newsletters, brochures, subject files, biographical files, and faculty papers.


  • 1901-2013

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Foreign language studies began at Iowa State with the founding of the College. During the early years, course offerings in foreign language were not very consistent from one year to the next and were quite often optional. Lillie Beaumont, President Welch's sister-in-law, was the first instructor teaching French and German from 1868-70. Thereafter, several professors taught foreign languages and curriculum changes occurred almost yearly. This situation changed in 1899 when the Department of Modern Languages was organized with Lizzie May Allis as its first head. During her tenure, the department grew and prospered. Although she was the only member of the department in 1899, by 1909 the department totaled seven members and one student assistant. Spanish was added to the curriculum in 1906. In May 1909, Lizzie May Allis resigned from the department and left Ames. Fletcher Briggs was hired to take her place. Professor Briggs was Head of the Department from 1909 to 1920. From 1910 to 1920, the Department was called the Department of Modern Language. In 1921, Louis DeVries was appointed Head of the Department, which became known once again as the Department of Modern Languages. There were fewer members of the Department in the 1930's but this situation changed with increasing student enrollments after 1945. In 1950, DeVries resigned as head of the department and Alfred P. Kehlenbeck was hired to take his place. While Kehlenbeck was head, the teaching staff increased from five members in 1950 to twenty-five members in 1969. In 1967, the name changed to the Department of Foreign Languages. Kehlenbeck died in 1969 and Osvaldo N. Soto was appointed Interim Head of the Department for that year. In July 1970, Walter D. Morris was appointed Head of the Department and held that position until September 1973. At that time he resigned, largely because of an intradepartmental controversy over his attempts to upgrade the staff in the Department. After Morris' resignation, Thomas Turnage was appointed Acting Chair of the Department. In July 1975, Orrin Frink was appointed Chair of the Department for a three year term. The Departmental name changed again in July 1977 to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and in 2006, to the Department of World Languages and Cultures.


Lizzie May Allis (1899-1909) Fletcher Briggs (1909-1920) Louis DeVries (1920-1950) Alfred P. Kehlenbeck (1950-1969) Walter D. Morris (1970-1973) Thomas W. Turnage (1973-1975) Acting Orrin Frink (1975-1985) James Ruebel (1985-1991) James R. Dow (1991-1997) Madeleine Henry (1997-2002) Dawn Bratsch-Prince (2002-2008) Mark Rectanus (2008- )


3.36 Linear Feet (6 document boxes and 4 half document boxes)

Items in related collections

RS 13/11/14. Alfred P. Kehlenbeck papers, 1927-1971 RS 13/11/18. James R. Dow papers, 1889-2009, undated

RS 13/11. Iowa State University. Department of World Languages and Cultures records, 1901-2013
December 22, 2020
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