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James V. Risser papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0438

Scope and Content

The collection (1963-1983, undated) contains trial documents, copies of laws and regulations, correspondence, articles, news clippings, court documents and Risser's notes and rough drafts related to his Pulitzer Prize winning articles. Also included are some copies of the prize winning articles. Most of the collection consists of Risser's research materials of the grain inspection scandals, but also includes material from his research on farming and the environment.


  • 1963-1983, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


James V. Risser, Jr. was born on May 8, 1938 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He received his B.A. in psychology from the University of Nebraska (1959), a Juris Doctor (J.D.) (1962) from the University of San Francisco's law school, and then returned to the University of Nebraska for a professional certificate in journalism.

Risser was an investigative reporter who worked for the Des Moines Register for twenty years beginning in 1964. In 1969 he transferred to the Register's Washington bureau, and was the Register's Washington bureau chief (1976-1985). While working for the Register, Risser won two Pulitzer Prizes for National Reporting, one in 1976 for articles exposing corruptive practices of the grain exporting industry in the United States, and the other in 1979 for a series of stories on how modern American agricultural practices harm the environment. Risser accepted the directorship of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University, which he held until his retirement (1985-2000).


5.88 Linear Feet (14 document boxes)


The collection is organized into two series:

Series 1, Grain Inspection Scandals, 1963-1980, undated (alphabetically)

Series 2, Agriculture-Environment Series, 1971-1983, undated (alphabetically)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0438. James V. Risser papers, 1963-1983, undated
December 12, 2018
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