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John Gowen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/15/12

Scope and Content

This collection (1915-1982) contains biographical information, a bibliography of Gowen’s writings, and materials on graduate genetics courses dealing with irradiation, serological genetics, human inheritance, and sex ratios and sex determination. Reference materials are also included, documenting silkworms, gene crossing, radiobiology, bird and animal antigens, and mutation rates in bacteria.


  • 1915-1982

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


John Whittemore Gowen was born to Charles Hayes and Gertrude Whittemore Gowen on 5 September 1893 in Evinston, Florida. He received his B.S. (1914) and M.S. (1915) from University of Maine and his Ph.D. (1917) in zoology from Columbia University. Gowen was a biologist (1917-1926) at the Maine Agricultural Experimental Station and later worked for the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1926-1937) as a research associate.

Gowen came to Iowa State College (University) as Professor (1937-1964) in the Department of Genetics. He became Head of the Department (1948-1959). After his retirement from Iowa State, he served as Professor (1964-1967) of radiation biology and genetics at Colorado State University.

Gowen excelled as a researcher and as an instructor. He taught courses on elementary and advanced genetics at Iowa State. His research explored the factors involved in the expression of the inheritance found in the fertilized egg and he also studied disease resistance in genes. Gowen also did extensive research with irradiation.

He was a member of the Biometric Society, American Genetic Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, American Association for the advancement of science, and American Naturalists and served as the President of the Genetics Society of America in 1952 and Vice President of American Society of Zoologists in 1950. Gowen was also a member of Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Gowen married Marie Helena Stadler on September 10, 1917. Together they had two children, Elaine Stadler and Helen Marie. John Gowen died on 14 September 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado.


1.26 Linear Feet (3 document boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized Chronologically.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/15/12. John Gowen papers, 1915-1982
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