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Jay Brownlee Davidson papers

 Collection
Identifier: RS 9/7/11

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The collection (1905-1964, undated) includes correspondence, articles, papers, lectures and addresses, bibliographies, biographical information, citations and letters of tribute, photographs, and printed materials regarding agricultural machinery. The papers also include a pictorial record of Davidson's trips to the Soviet Union (1929-1930); Europe, including the International Congress of Rural Engineering (1935); and China (1947-1949). In addition, the collection contains correspondence from 1912-1917 relating to dynamometers. Correspondents include T. R. Agg, Robert Earle Buchanan, Charles E. Friley, Ernest W. Lindstrom, the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, J. I. Case Company, Caterpillar Tractor Company, the Committee on Transport Wheel Study (1937-1941), and Deere & Company.

Dates

  • 1905-2005, undated

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

Jay Brownlee Davidson was born February 15, 1880 in Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor's degree (1904) in mechanical engineering. After his graduation, Davidson worked a short while at his alma mater as an instructor in Farm Mechanics before coming to Iowa State College (University) in the summer of 1905. He joined the faculty as assistant professor in charge of agricultural engineering, filling the vacancy left by the departure of Clarence J. Zintheo.

Under Davidson's guidance, agricultural engineering grew from a supplemental program for engineering students to a full four-year curriculum by 1908. Davidson received full professorship in 1907 and served as head of agricultural engineering until 1915, when he left to take a similar position with the University of California at Davis. He returned to Iowa State in 1919 as head of agricultural engineering, continuing in this position until 1946. Davidson retired from the faculty in 1956. He passed away May 8, 1957.



In addition to his work for Iowa State, Davidson became an internationally acclaimed consultant on agricultural mechanization. He worked on projects throughout the United States, Russia, and China. He also was responsible for the organization of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, in 1907, and served as its first president. In addition, he received the second McCormick Gold Medal. For his achievements in advancing agricultural mechanization, Jay B. Davidson is considered to be the "Father of Agricultural Engineering".

Extent

20.16 Linear Feet (35 document boxes, 6 half-document boxes, and 10 photograph boxes)

Abstract

Jay Brownlee Davidson was born February 15, 1880 in Nebraska. He joined the faculty of Iowa State College (University) as Assistant Professor (1905-1907) in charge of agricultural engineering. Aside from several years spent teaching in California (1915-1919), Davidson spent the next 50 years at Iowa State as Professor (1907-1956) and Head (1907-1946) of the Department of Agricultural Engineering. Davidson became internationally renowned as an expert on agricultural mechanization and worked on projects throughout the United States, Russia, and China. He organized the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, in 1907, and served as its first president. For his achievements in advancing agricultural mechanization, Jay B. Davidson is considered to be the "Father of Agricultural Engineering". This collection includes correspondence, articles, papers, lectures and addresses, bibliographies, biographical information, citations and letters of tribute, photographs, and printed materials regarding agricultural machinery. The papers also include a pictorial record of Davidson's trips to the Soviet Union, Europe, and China. In addition, the collection contains correspondence relating to dynamometers.

Arrangement

The collection is comprised of eleven series:

Series 1: Biographical Information, 1904-2005, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1905-1946, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3: Articles, Speeches, and Writings, 1902-1950, undated (chronological)

Series 4: Research Subject Files, 1879-1931, undated (original order)

Series 5: Research Photographs, 1904-1940, undated (original order)

Series 6: Agricultural Engineering Photographs, 1904-1932, undated (alphabetical)

Series 7: American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1926-1957, undated (alphabetical)

Series 8: Research and Travel, 1904-1949 (alphabetical)

Series 9: Iowa State University and Departmental Files, 1905-1955, undated (alphabetical)

Series 10: Slides, undated (original order)

Series 11: Negatives, 1905-1915, undated (original order)



Series 4 and 5 have been arranged according to Davidson's decimal filing system, which can be used to relate articles and clippings with corresponding photographs of the same subject matter. For the most part, the other agricultural engineering photographs and documents have been arranged alphabetically. The slides and negatives have been left in original order.

Copies

Digital reproductions of a selection of materials from the Jay Brownlee Davidson papers are available electronically. Please see the Electronic Resources section for a link.

Items in related collections

RS 9/7. Iowa State University. Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering records, 1905-2013

Collection Files

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Title
RS 9/7/11. Jay Brownlee Davidson papers, 1905-2005, undated
Date
May 29, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672