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Frank F. Riecken papers

Identifier: RS 9/9/55

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

This collection (1934-1983, undated) contains biographical information, correspondence, college work, research data, publications, and reports of Frank Riecken. The biographical information includes news clippings, faculty information forms, and some personal notes from family members. The collection also contains several files related to Riecken's college work including statistics notes, notebooks, and a copy of his thesis.

Correspondence files include letters to and from others mostly regarding research and travel plans. Some organizations Riecken corresponded with include the Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture; Soil Science Society of America; and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy. Most of the correspondence with these groups discusses policies, agreements, and research projects.

The portion of the collection devoted to documenting Riecken's research consists of published and unpublished works by Riecken, soil survey analyses, and reports. The collection includes several lists of published works by Riecken and reprint copies of many of them. Several unpublished reports are also in the collection. Most of these works are on the subjects of soil classification, soil genesis, and soil surveys. A number of files contain research data related to these publications and reports as well as soil survey data for a number of Iowa counties.

Riecken also served as an international advisor and researcher for several countries helping organize and implement soil surveys of their own. The collection contains several files of correspondence and data related to his soil survey work in Uruguay and India.


  • 1934-1983, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Frank Frederick Riecken was born on October 4, 1908, in Girvin, Saskatchewan. He received a B.S (1930) and a M.S. (1934) from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He earned his Ph.D. (1941) in agronomy from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Dr. Riecken was a soil chemist (1930-1933) with the University of Saskatchewan; a research assistant (1934-1936) at the University of Illinois; a soils specialist (1936-1938) at the Dominion Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada; and a research associate (1938-1942) in soil survey at the University of Illinois. In 1942, he joined the Agronomy Department at Iowa State College (University). He served as an Assistant Professor (1942-1943), as an Associate Professor (1944-1946), and as a Professor (1947-1979). After his retirement on April 30, 1979, he was named Professor Emeritus and served in that capacity until his death.

Riecken's chief research interests were in soil survey, soil genesis, and classification. He was an advisor (1953-1954) to a soil survey program in India under U.S. Government sponsorship; he was an advisor (1957-1958) to the government of Uruguay and its soil survey program under auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; he examined lateric soils of northern Ghana under a Rockefeller grant (1968); and in that same year he taught and did soil survey research at the University of California, Riverside. He was a consultant to Iowa counties on the use of soil surveys in tax assessment programs and he assisted in conducting training programs for county assessors. He was the author of numerous publications in his field, and is co-author of the book Understanding Iowa Soils (call no. S599.I8 Si57u).

Riecken received several awards in honor of his efforts as a soil scientist. He was honored by the Iowa Academy of Science with its Award of Merit (1976) and the American Society of Agronomy established the Frank Riecken Soil Science Award (1975) in his honor. The award provides support for a student majoring in soil science at Iowa State University. He was also a member of Sigma Xi, the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Indian Soil Science Society, and the Iowa Academy of Science.

Frank Riecken married Freda Heeney of Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1939. They had two children, Fern Marie and Craig. Riecken died on September 11, 1983, in Ames, Iowa, after a battle with cancer.


3.57 Linear Feet (8 document boxes and 1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

RS 9/9. Iowa State University. Department of Agronomy records, 1903-2013

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/9/55. Frank F. Riecken papers, 1934-1983, undated
January 22, 2019
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