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Wesley Fisher and Mary Jagger Buchele papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/7/52

Scope and Content

This collection (1887-2012, undated) contains materials related to the research accomplishments, teaching efforts, and consulting work of Wesley F. Buchele. The materials include biographical information, correspondence, photographs and slides, published papers, research notes, lecture notes and course materials, audiovisual materials, and patent information.

Buchele's professional and personal activities are documented by biographical material, correspondence, and other records. Biographical information is found in news clippings, curriculum vitae, oral history interviews, biographical sketches, and autobiographical writings. Correspondence includes letters sent and received by Buchele pertaining to his academic business and personal affairs. The information regarding Buchele's professional activities consist of records related to his duties at Iowa State and Michigan State and also the many professional organizations he was associated with. Materials related to his consulting work are also found in the collection.

A note-worthy aspect of the collection is the documentation regarding Buchele's research and patent claims. This material includes notes on inventions and other experiments, published scientific articles authored or co-authored by Buchele, and copies of patent claims. Notes on the development of the tandem tractor, blade guards for rotary lawnmowers, and harvesting devices are included in this material. These files also contain photographs, notes, diagrams and news clippings.

Course-related materials and general information on agricultural topics are included in the collection. These consist mostly of curriculum syllabi, but also include lists of classes taught and students receiving advanced degrees under Buchele’s guidance. The subject files on agricultural topics were collected by Buchele. Subjects include farm safety, harvesting, agriculture in developing countries, and agricultural machinery. Photographs, slides, and audio recordings related to agriculture and agricultural machinery can also be found in these files.

The collection also contains the papers of Mary J. Buchele, Buchele's wife. These papers contain her curriculum vitae and documents detailing her involvement in the Agricultural Engineering Women’s Club, World Food Conference of 1976, and the American Home Economics Association’s Family Planning Project.


  • Creation: 1887-2012, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research. This collection is stored offsite and can take up to seven business days to retrieve. Please email to request material and schedule your visit.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Wesley Fisher Buchele was born March 18, 1920, in Cedar Vale, Kansas. He received a B.S. (1943) in Agricultural Engineering from Kansas State University; a M.S. (1951) in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Arkansas; and a Ph.D. (1954) in Agricultural Engineering and Soil Physics from Iowa State College (University).

Buchele served in the U.S. Army (1943-1946), and worked as an engineer at the John Deere & Company Waterloo Works (1946-1948). While at the University of Arkansas he was an Assistant Professor (1948-1951). When he came to Iowa State, Buchele worked for the Agricultural Engineering Department as a Graduate Assistant (1951-1954) and an Assistant Professor (1954-1956). In 1956, Buchele took a position as an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. He returned to Iowa State University in 1963 as a Professor in Agricultural Engineering. Buchele retired from Iowa State on June 30, 1989.

Agricultural safety is one of Buchele’s research interests. In addition to designing many safety devices, he originated several agricultural engineering safety courses at Iowa State, the first courses of this kind taught in the United States. Buchele is revered as an expert in agricultural machinery safety and has consulted in numerous cases regarding farm equipment accidents through his consulting firm, Buchele and Associates, Ltd. He also served on the board of directors for Farm Safety 4 Just Kids.

Another of Buchele’s interests is the agricultural development of African and South American countries. He taught in the capacity of Visiting Professor at the University of Ghana (1968-1969). He and his wife, Mary J. Buchele, were also organizers of the 1976 World Food Conference, which was held in Ames, Iowa.

In addition, Buchele received numerous patents from the U.S. government. His most well-known patent was for a device that would form and handle large round bales of a fibrous material. He also designed blade guards for rotary lawn mowers, a tandem tractor, and devices for harvesting crops like strawberries and alfalfa. Another of his noteworthy accomplishments was the development of a ridge-till farming procedure that, in addition to saving farmers time and fuel expenses, also helps the environment by conserving topsoil and soil moisture and decreasing the need for herbicides.

Buchele was also an active member of many prominent international, national, and state organizations. These organizations include the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), International Association on Mechanization Field Experiments (IAMFE), Society of Automotive Engineers, the International Society on Terrain-Vehicle Systems, and the National Institute of Agricultural Engineers in England. In 1988, he received the Cyrus Hall McCormick Jerome Case Gold Medal Award from ASAE.

In 1945, Buchele married Mary Jagger. Mary was born September 3, 1923, in Minneapolis, Kansas. After marrying Buchele, she became a homemaker and raised their four children: Rodney, Marybeth, Sheron, and Steven. Mary received a B.S. (1964) in Home Economics Journalism and a M.S. (1972) in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University. In addition to her duties as a homemaker, she held a variety of positions outside of the home, including teaching English and news writing, editing the Iowa Home Economics Association News, and being the editor and communications assistant for the Iowa State University International Family Planning Project. She was an active member of several organizations, such as American Home Economics Association, Agricultural Engineering Women’s Club, Iowa Press Women, and Iowa State University Faculty Women’s Club. Mary also assisted Buchele with his research and writing. She passed away in April 2000. Buchele passed away September 2017, in Ames, Iowa.


71.92 Linear Feet (54 records cartons, 1 document box, 7 small photo boxes)


Wesley Fisher Buchele was born March 18, 1920, in Cedar Vale, Kansas. He received his formal education in agricultural engineering from Kansas State University, the University of Arkansas, and Iowa State University. Buchele was a Professor (1963-1989) of agricultural engineering at Iowa State. Buchele originated several agricultural safety courses, the first of their kind in the country, and is a renowned farm safety expert. He also developed several patents, including one for the large round baler. This collection contains biographical information, correspondence, photographs, published papers, research notes, patent information, and information on the development of the tandem tractor, blade guards for rotary lawnmowers, and agricultural harvesting devices. The collection also includes materials related to the work of Buchele's wife, Mary, including her involvement in the 1976 World Food Conference.


The collection is organized into ten series:

Series 1, Correspondence, 1946-1996, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2, Professional Activities, 1947-1999, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3, Patents and Research, 1954-1996, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Papers and Publications, 1953-2012, undated (alphabetical)

Series 5, Consulting, 1961-1999, undated (alphabetical)

Series 6, Subject Files, 1887-2006, undated (alphabetical)

Series 7, Teaching and Course Materials, 1951-1988, undated (alphabetical)

Series 8, Photographs and Slides, 1958-1996, undated (alphabetical)

Series 9, Biographical Information, 1947-2008, undated (alphabetical)

Series 10, Mary J. Buchele Papers, 1968-1988, undated (alphabetical)

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite and can take up to seven business days to retrieve. Please email to request material and schedule your visit.

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 9/7/52. Wesley Fisher and Mary Jagger Buchele papers, 1887-2012, undated
January 27, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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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