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Ralph M. Hixon papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 6/3/12

Scope and Content

The collection (1917-1978, undated) contains biographical information, addresses given to the Graduate College faculty while dean of the college, and reprints of published articles. The collection is arranged in alphabetical order.


  • Creation: 1917-1978, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Ralph M. Hixon was born May 7, 1895 in Crown Point, Indiana. He received his B.S. (1917) in chemistry from Iowa State College (University). After serving in the armed forces, Dr. Hixon became an instructor (1918-1919) at the University of Maine. He was then awarded a fellowship (1919-1921) by the American-Scandinavian Foundation to study at the Nobel Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied the role of pH in biological systems and conducted studies on plant germination and growth under the supervision of Dr. Svante Arrhenius.

Dr. Hixon returned to the United States and received his Ph.D. (1922) in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He then returned to Europe to study at the Karlsruhe Technische Hochschule (1922-1923) with Professor Karl Freudenberg where he helped develop the Freudenberg-Hixon method for the methylation of carbohydrates.

Dr. Hixon was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State College (University) in 1923. He was soon promoted to Associate Professor (1927-1929) and Professor (1929-1964). Dr. Hixon was also appointed Research Professor (1934-1939) and Head (1939-1940) of the Plant Chemistry subsection of the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station. He was promoted to Head (1944-1948) of the Department of Chemistry and then named Dean (1948-1960) of the Graduate College. Dr. Hixon returned to teaching chemistry (1960-1964) until his formal retirement. He was named Dean Emeritus of the Graduate College in 1963.

Dr. Hixon published numerous articles and received several awards during his tenure at Iowa State. He conducted research on topics including starch chemistry and technology, chemistry and the industrial potential of organic agricultural products, the electron-sharing ability of organic radicals, and basic carbohydrate chemistry. Dr. Hixon received the Midwest Award (1945) of the St. Louis section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Kenneth A. Spencer Award of the Kansas City section of the ACS (1955). He received the Iowa State University Faculty Citation in 1958. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Chi, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, and the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Hixon married Stella Sadler in 1921 and had four sons and a daughter: Ernest, Elizabeth, Walter, Raymond, and James. Dr. Hixon died on November 15, 1978 in Phoenix, Arizona.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 document box)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 6/3/12. Ralph M. Hixon papers, 1917-1978, undated
January 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