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Joe L. Robinson papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 9/9/57

Scope and Content

The collection (1914-1990, undated) contains biographical information, publications, radio talks and speeches of Joe Robinson. Biographical materials consist of faculty information forms, news clippings, press releases, and a memorial resolution submitted to the Faculty Senate by Kenneth Frey.

The rest of the collection consists of Robinson’s writings in the form of published works, radio scripts, and speeches. The radio talks and speeches offer a good representation of the work Robinson performed at Iowa State. Topics include distribution of new seed varieties, hybrid corn, Iowa Corn and Small Grain Growers Association activities, Iowa Corn and Small Grain Shows, Iowa Corn Yield Tests, and seed certification. The collection also contains several speeches presented by Robinson while on the debating team at Oklahoma A&M College (Oklahoma State University) and several other speeches presented at a meeting of the International Crop Improvement Association.


  • 1914-1990, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Joseph Lee Robinson was born on July 10, 1893, to John and Mary (Becker) Robinson in Omega, Oklahoma. He received his B.S. (1916) from Oklahoma A&M College (Oklahoma State University), and his M.S. (1918) and Ph.D. (1933) in plant physiology and crop production from Iowa State College (University). Prior to coming to Iowa State, Robinson was an Assistant Professor (1917-1920) of agronomy at the University of Wyoming. He also served in the United States military (1918) during World War I, achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant.

Robinson was hired by Iowa State as Superintendent (1920-1932) of cooperative experiments. He was promoted to Assistant Professor (1932-1938) of farm crops, Associate Research Professor (1938-1946) of agronomy, and Research Professor and Extension Professor (1946-1959) in agronomy.

Research into hybrid corn was in the early stages when Robinson came to Iowa State. His interests in crop production and seed multiplication and his position in the College gave him a great opportunity to be at the forefront of establishing hybrid corn in Iowa. Robinson served as Secretary-Treasurer (1920-1959) of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) and its predecessors the Iowa Corn and Small Grain Growers Association and the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Association. In this capacity, Robinson was responsible for the State Corn and Small Grain Shows (1921-1941). He also developed and directed the Iowa Corn Yield Test. This was the first time such tests were developed on a statewide basis and became the model for other states to follow. Robinson was also involved in the establishment of seed certification services and during his years of involvement with ICIA was instrumental in introducing numerous varieties of small grains, soybeans, and forage crops to Iowa farmers.

Robinson was author of more than 90 publications and Extension bulletins. He also wrote a book on the history of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association (call no. SB21 Io8r). Robinson was a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta, and the International Crop Improvement Association. He was inducted into the ISU Ag Hall of Fame in 1982.

Joe Robinson married Ruth Nash of Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1919. They did not have any children. Robinson died on January 8, 1990, and was buried in Ames, Iowa.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

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

Related collection materials

For related information, see the Iowa Crop Improvement Association Records, RS 9/9/3.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/9/57. Joe L. Robinson papers, 1914-1990, 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