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Alden J. Erskine papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0085

Scope and Content

The collection (1923-1977, undated) contains correspondence, reports, financial records, minutes, newspaper clippings, photographs, subject files, copies of bills, and printed materials. The bulk of the collection documents Erskine's involvement with the Izaak Walton League of America and his legislative career. Correspondents include Jay N. "Ding" Darling, Ira Gabrielson, Jack Horn, Harold E. Hughes, Hubert H. Humphrey, Carroll Lane, Frank H. Mendell, Sigurd F. Olson, Robert D. Ray, and Bruce F. Stiles.

The conservation materials mainly include documents related to the Izaak Walton League of America, but there are also documents related to the Floyd Valley Watershed Association, Woodbury County Conservation Board, Iowa State Conservation Education Conference, and the Waterfowl Conference. Much of the Izaak Walton League materials document Erskine's involvement in the organization, both locally and nationally; also included is general information such as meeting minutes, newsletters, reports and publications. In addition, there are investigations and reports on water pollution and flood control.

Legislative materials include correspondence, subject files, committee files, conservation materials, reports, bills, news releases, and testimonies. Most of the subject files are a part of the committee materials, but also include topics related to conservation and other issues. Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing constituent correspondence and correspondence with other legislators and organizations.

Biographical information on Erskine (including his legislative, organization and conservation activities) can be found in the news clippings folders (Box 29, Folders 1-4).


  • 1923-1977, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Conservationist and state legislator, Alden J. Erskine was born May 2, 1901 in Ticonic, Iowa to Arthur and Effie Erskine. He attended the Nebraska School of Agriculture (1920-1921), and then went into the automotive business in Sioux City, Iowa where he owned and operated the United Motors Automobile Maintenance Company for thirty-nine years.

His interest in conservation and environmental preservation began around 1936, and he was a member and leader in many different conservation and environmental groups including the Soil Conservation Society of America, the National Forestry Association, the Sioux City Bird Club, the Iowa Conservation Education Committee, and a founder and board member of the Floyd Valley Watershed Association (Iowa). He also served on the Iowa Governor's Committee on Outdoor Resources (1964-1976). Erskine was very active in the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), serving as president of the Woodbury County (Iowa) chapter (1950-1953); president of the Iowa Division (1954-1955); National Treasurer (1956-1960); National President (1960-1961); and President of the IWLA Endowment, Inc. (1966).

Erskine received numerous awards for his work in conservation and wildlife preservation including the Distinguished Service Award from IWLA (1955); the Outdoor Sportsman Award for Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota (1959); and the Iowa Wildlife Society Award of Merit (1968).

Erskine, a Republican, served as an Iowa State Senator (1966-1972). He was Chair of the Senate's Conservation and Recreation Committee during the 64th General Assembly and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources (circa 1970). Erskine served on the following committees as state senator:

62nd General Assembly (1967-1968):

Conservation and Recreation, Government Subdivisions, Safety and Law Enforcement

63rd General Assembly (1969-1970):

Conservation and Recreation, Appropriations, Cities and Towns, Law Enforcement

64th General Assembly (1971-1972):

Conservation and Recreation (Chairman), Constitutional and Reapportionment, Iowa Development, Ways and Means, Assistance Grant Programs Study

Alden Erskine died January 13, 1991.


11.76 Linear Feet (27 document boxes, 2 half-document boxes)


The collection is organized into three series:

Series 1, Conservation, 1929-1976 (alphabetical)

Series 2, Legislature, 1925-1976, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3, Personal, 1923-1977, undated (topical)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Index of bills Erskine sponsored or co-sponsored

Bill SF 61. Issue: Conservation of soil and water resources of the state and the control of water pollution (Sponsor: Laverty, Erskine, Curran, Smith, Potgeter, Schaben/Committee: In Environmental 1-20, on calendar 3-9)

Bill SF 85. Issue: Creating Department of Environmental Quality, specifying its powers, duties, and providing penalties for violations thereof (Sponsor: Laverty, Erskine, Curran, Milligan, Smith/Committee: In State Government 1-25)

Bill SF 99. Issue: Scheduling of football games between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University (Sponsor: Van Drie and 25 others (including Erskine)/Committee: In Higher Education 1-27)

Bill SF 125. Issue: Renal disease program and to provide and appropriation therefore (Sponsor: Smith, Erskine, Sullivan, Coleman, Conklin, Doderer, Schaben/Committee: In Appropriations 1-29)

Bill SF 150. Issue: Administration and maintenance facility for county conservation boards (Sponsor: Erskine, Palmer, Carlson, Briles)

Bill SF 161. Issue: Annual inspection of motor vehicles (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: In Transportation 2-4)

Bill SF 162. Issue: Provide financial sources for development and maintenance of recreational facilities of state (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: In Ways and Means 2-4)

Bill SF 172. Issue: Authorizes cities, etc. to impose local taxes and establish penalty for violation (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: In Ways and Means 2-8)

Bill SF 213. Issue: Maximum net income persons 65 or older and disabled may have to qualify for additional homestead credit (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: In Ways and Means 2-15)

Bill SF 214. Issue: Liability for costs resulting in contest of election results (Sponsor: Erskine and 11 others/Committee: In State Government 2-15)

Bill SF 240. Issue: Powers and duties of State Board of Regents and its authority to employ and discharge faculty members (Sponsor: Messerly and 25 others (including Erskine))

Bill SF 259. Issue: Annual registration fee on boats in lieu of personal property taxes and providing penalties for violations (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: In Ways and Means 2-19, on calendar)

Bill SF 267. Issue: Vacancies in district court judgeships (Sponsor: Erskine and 7 others/Committee: In Jud. 2-24)

Bill SF 273. Issue: Relating to merit system (Sponsor: Mowry and 23 others (including Erskine) Committee: In State Government 2-24)

Bill SF 328. Issue: Prohibits sewage into open ditches and penalty (Sponsor: Laverty, Erskine, Curran, Smith/Committee: In Environ. Pres. 3-4)

Bill SF 346. Issue: Entry fee - state parks (Sponsor: Erskine/Committee: Conservation and Recreation 3-9)

Bill SF 404. Issue: Appropriation to executive council for College of Osteopathic Medicine, Polk County (Sponsor: 23 including Erskine/Committee: Appropriations 3-22)
MS-0085. Alden J. Erskine papers, 1923-1977, undated
December 12, 2018
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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