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Ervin L. Denisen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/16/21

Scope and Content

The collection (1932-1993, undated) contains notebooks, research, data, and reports on small fruit breeding; reports from the North Central Region research committees on agriculture; information about the Iowa State Horticulture Farms; and meeting minutes and information from various groups in which Denisen participated. There are photos and slides of different types of berries, mechanical harvesters, and research farms. Notes, syllabi, exams, and quizzes from courses taught by Denisen are included. A copy of Denisen's book, Principles of Horticulture, is also available, both in English and Spanish.


  • 1932-1993, undated

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Ervin Loren Denisen was born November 10, 1919, in Austin, Minnesota. He received his B.S. (1941) in Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Force (1942-1946). He received an M.S. (1947) in Horticulture and a Ph.D. (1949) in Horticulture and Plant Physiology from Iowa State College (University).

Denisen began his professional career at Iowa State College as a Graduate Assistant (1946) and Instructor (1947-1949) in the Department of Horticulture. He proceeded through the teaching ranks as Assistant Professor (1949-1959), Associate Professor (1959-1966), and Professor (1966-1989). He also held the title of Chair (1967-1973). Denisen retired in 1989.

Denisen's career focused on strawberry and raspberry breeding, mechanical harvesting of berries, chemical weed control, and air pollution.

He belonged to number societies and organizations including the American Society of Horticultural Science, the American Society of Plant Physiology, the Weed Science Society of America, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Psi, and Gamma Sigma Delta. Locally, he was a member of the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association, the Iowa Horticulture Society and the Iowa Arboretum.

Ervin Denisen and his wife Virginia (Peyton) had three children: Kathryn Ann, Margaret Jane (Peggy), and Mary Clare. Denisen died on March 8, 1993.


7.13 Linear Feet (14 document boxes and 2 photograph boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into three series:

Series 1, Biographical information, coursework, and published works, 1936-1993

Series 2, Research, 1932-1989

Series 3, Iowa State administrative work and professional affiliations, 1949-1988, undated

Related collection materials

Ervin Denisen's Principles of Horticulture, 2nd edition (SB418 D4 1979), is available in the Parks Library general collection and in the University Archives. Both his M.S. thesis (C O 1947 Denisen) and Ph.D. thesis (C O 1949 Denisen) are available in the University Archives.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/16/21. Ervin L. Denisen papers, 1932-1993, undated
April 10, 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