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John M. Dobson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 6/1/52

Scope and Content

This collection (1972-1999) contains materials mostly related to Dr. Dobson’s years as Associate Vice Provost. The collection includes correspondence, reports, and general information on the Ames Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, the ISU Bioethics Institute, the Center for Transportation Research and Education at ISU, the Iowa Department of Transportation, conflict of interest policies and issues, and other topics related to activities of the ISU Graduate College. The collection also contains biographical information on Dr. Dobson.


  • 1972-1999


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


John McCullough Dobson was born to Donald and Carolyn Dobson on July 20, 1940, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He received his B.S. (1962) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in humanities and sciences and his M.S. (1964) and Ph.D. (1966) from the University of Wisconsin in American history.

Upon graduation, Dr. Dobson became Assistant Professor (1966-1967) at California State University at Chico, California, and then served as Foreign Service Officer (1967-1968) in the United States Department of State. Dr. Dobson joined the staff at Iowa State University as Assistant Professor (1968-1972) in the Department of History. He was promoted to Associate Professor (1972-1978) and Professor (1978-1999). Dr. Dobson also served the University in an administrative capacity as Assistant Dean of the Graduate College (1988-1991), Assistant Vice Provost for Research and Advanced Studies (1990-1991), Interim Vice Provost for Research and Interim Graduate Dean (1991-1992), Associate Vice Provost for Research and Associate Graduate Dean (1991-1999), and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (1998-1999). He retired from the University in 1999.

Dr. Dobson actively pursued his research interests in American history. He wrote four books on the subject: America’s Ascent (call no. E661.7 D62), Politics in the Gilded Age (call no. E661 D6), A History of American Enterprise (call no. HF3021 D6 1988), and Reticent Expansionism: the Foreign Policy of William McKinley (call no. E713 D63 1988). Dr. Dobson also wrote Two Centuries of Tariffs (call no. HF1753 D6) for the United States International Trade Commission which documents the history of the Commission.

Dr. Dobson served on numerous University committees and had membership in several professional societies. He served on the Faculty Council (1981-1984), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Strategic Planning Committee (1987-1988), President’s Cabinet (1991-1992) and many others. He had membership in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

Dr. Dobson married Cynthia Davis of Redwood City, California. Cynthia Dobson is an Emeritus Professor of the Iowa State University Library. Together they have two children: David and Daniel.


3.02 Linear Feet (2 records center cartons and 1 document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

RS 6/1. Iowa State University. Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development records, 1905-2015

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 6/1/52. John M. Dobson papers, 1972-1999
April 22, 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