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Norval J. Wardle papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/7/51

Scope and Content

This collection (1929-1985, undated) consists of Wardle’s professional career and includes cases dealing with farm implement safety and accidents, and Wardle's role in consulting or executing depositions concerning these cases. Cases dating to 1965 are included, largely dealing with individuals and major farm related corporations. The collection also includes depositions, safety manuals, handbooks, additional consultations, blueprints, and photographs.


  • 1929-1985, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Norval Junius Wardle was born in Victor, Idaho on March 21, 1909. In 1929, he graduated from high school at the age of 21, having taken extra time to help his father work on the farm. That same year, he won the "Top Physics Student in Idaho" Award. In an effort to earn money for college, he worked as a partner on an irrigated and dry land farm in the Rockland Valley, southwest of Pocatello, Idaho, with his father and brother‑in‑law for six years in the 1930's. He took an electrical engineering program by correspondence while he worked on the farm. Wardle attended the Southern branch of the University of Idaho (precursor to Idaho State University) at Pocatello for one year, and then transferred to the University of Idaho at Moscow, where he completed the Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1937. Between 1937 and 1944, he taught vocational agriculture at the high school level in Idaho. Wardle worked toward the Master of Arts degree, also in Agriculture, at the University of Idaho and Colorado State University, while he was on the staff of teacher training at the University of Idaho. Although he completed the requirements for the M.A. in 1945, the University of Idaho conferred upon him the M.A. degree in absentia in 1946, because in 1945, he moved to Ames, Iowa, so that he could complete a Ph.D. Even though Wardle taught in the Agricultural Engineering Department, he earned his Doctorate in Vocational Education with a minor in Agricultural Engineering (1949).

In 1947, Jay Brownlee Davidson, colleague of Wardle and a leader in agricultural engineering, convinced ISU to establish a new position of agricultural safety engineer. Wardle accepted this role and its three fold responsibility: to study the safety problems of the agricultural population of the State of Iowa; to act as executive secretary of the University Safety Council, one of nine governing councils of the university, which supervised and developed safety measures in all phases of the university and; to develop safety procedures by researching every method possible to improve safety within the State of Iowa. Dr. Wardle retired from ISU in 1970, only to continue in the field of agricultural safety as a private consultant. He died in Logan, Utah at the age of 79 on January 28, 1989. He is survived by his wife, five sons, one daughter, and twenty‑one grandchildren.


37.7 Linear Feet (29 records center cartons)

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives at least 3 working days in advance.

Items in related collections

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

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/7/51. Norval J. Wardle papers, 1929-1985, 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