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Walter M. Rosene, Sr. papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0589

Scope and Content

This collection (1871-2008, undated) contains lantern slides, photographs, photographic negatives and glass plate negatives created by Walter Rosene, Sr. The collection also contains the bird watching records of Rosene, which include journals, writings, correspondence, and photographs. There are also several publications and bulletins regarding birds and Iowa’s state parks. The collection is grouped into the following series:

Series 1, Lantern Slides contains black and white and color lantern slides, the majority of which were taken by Rosene; showing birds, animals, plant life, Rosene and his colleagues, natural phenomena and maps of bird migration routes.

Series 2, Photographs and Negatives contains black and white photographic stills of birds taken by Rosene and corresponding black and white negatives. This series also contains a few photographs of Rosene’s family and the corresponding negatives. This series also contains images of the McGregor Wildlife School (McGregor, Iowa), locations near the Mississippi River, the Meskwaki Pow Wow in Tama, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, California, animals, fish, flowers, and scenery.

Series 3, Bird Watching Records contains a collection of Iowa Ornithologists’ Union Daily Field Checking Guides completed by Walter Rosene, 1931-1941; a journal compiled by Rosene during a bird watching trip to Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, June 14-30, 1924; photographs of the Ledges, McGregor, Iowa, and of a mother opossum with a baby opossum on her back, a hand colored black and white photograph of Pease Creek at the Ledges in Boone County Iowa; a personal reminiscences typescript (photographic scrapbook) documenting Rosene’s trips to the Ledges to bird watch, 1921-1941; and a folder of writings including correspondence related to his writing and bird watching activities, inspirational poetry, and descriptions of his bird watching excursions, 1925-1941. The majority of the objects in this collection date from 1921-1941 and document Rosene’s fieldwork with birds in Iowa and the Dakotas. A number of different species are depicted at various stages of nesting and growth. There are also a few images of Rosene himself, working in the field.

Series 4, Glass Plate Negatives contains black and white pictures of Rosene’s hometown of Ogden, Iowa, his family’s house and farm, and many of his family members (circa 1893-1907), as well as images of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Series 5, Bulletins, Publications, and Correspondence contains Rosene’s personal daily journal, bulletins regarding Iowa State parks, guides and publications regarding bird life and snakes, and Rosene’s correspondence with the Los Angeles Times.


  • 1871-2008, undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Restricted: Series 1, lantern slides; Series 4, glass negatives, due to fragility; must have permission of Manuscript Archivist for access. Open for Research: Series 2, photographs and negatives; Series 3, bird watching records; Series 5, bulletins, publications, and correspondence.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Walter M. Rosene, Sr. (1880-1941), a native of Ogden, Iowa, first worked with his father in the harness business (Ogden, Iowa, 1896-1901) and then in a wholesale saddlery house (Chicago, IL, 1901-1902). He then was employed by the State Bank of Ogden (1902-1935) in various positions and eventually became its president, as well as selling insurance (1937-1941). His special interest was the study of birds. He was one of the founders and a president of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union and was also involved with the Wilson Ornithological Club. Rosene was director of bird-study at the Wild Life School at McGregor (Iowa) and gave lectures on the subject of birds throughout Iowa.


9.38 Linear Feet (6 document boxes, 4 index card file boxes, 1 oversize box, and 5 glass negative boxes)


The collection is organized into five series:

Series 1, Lantern Slides, circa 1930s, undated (original order)

Series 2, Photographs and Negatives, 1871-1941, undated (original order)

Series 3, Bird Watching Records, 1921-1941, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Glass Plate Negatives, 1893-1916, undated (original order)

Series 5, Bulletins, Publications, and Correspondence, 1922-2008, undated (chronological)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0589. Walter M. Rosene, Sr. papers, 1871-2008, undated
February 12, 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