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Althea R. Sherman collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0462

Scope and Content

The collection (1913-1952, undated) primarily contains reprints of published articles written by Althea Sherman. The articles present Sherman's studies on the house wren, sparrow hawk, hummingbirds, bird conservation, and other topics of related interest. Also included is an article by Margaret Morse Nice reflecting on correspondence between Sherman and herself and a copy of Iowa Bird Life (June 1943) containing a thorough biography of Sherman written by Mrs. H. J. Taylor.


  • 1913-1952, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Althea Rosina Sherman was born in 1853. Eight years later her family arrived in northeast Iowa and settled near Farmersburg. She received her B.A. (1875) and M.A. (1882) from Oberlin College in art. During that time she also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. After receiving her master's degree Sherman taught art at Carleton College and was supervisor of art in the Tacoma, Washington, schools.

Sherman was a self-taught ornithologist, but it wasn't until she was over fifty years of age that she fully immersed herself in the study of birds. She moved back to the family homestead in 1895 to take care of her ailing parents. After her parents' death she began recording observations of birds on her farm. She eventually filled 60 notebooks with meticulous observations, joined 15 scientific societies, and wrote numerous papers for professional journals. Sherman became a leading ornithologist in her day despite having any formal scientific training.

Birds of an Iowa Dooryard (call no. QL684.I6 S5) was published after her death in 1943. The book includes Sherman's observations on the chimney swift, phoebe, house wren, short-billed marsh wren, catbird, screech owl, flicker, and several other species of bird.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0462. Althea R. Sherman collection, 1913-1952, undated
July 1, 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