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Harold S. McNabb papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 9/18/55

Scope and Content

The collection (1937-2011, undated) contains research and project files, publications, correspondence, notes, grant applications, and biographical information. Much of the collection is related to McNabb's work on tree diseases, focusing on Dutch elm disease infection, possible cures, and consequences. McNabb's correspondence covers seven decades (1942-2002) and is mostly regarding his work, research, and related subjects. McNabb also wrote several papers and presentations on the life and career of George Washington Carver.


  • 1937-2011, undated


Access Restrictions

Open for research. This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the department at least 3 working days in advance.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Harold Sanderson "Sande" McNabb, Jr., was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 11, 1927. He graduated from Lincoln High School (1945) before attending the University of Nebraska where he received a B.S. (1949) in Botany/Chemistry. He pursued advanced degrees at Yale University, where he received an M.S. (1951) in Plant Science and a Ph.D. (1954) in Forest Pathology/Plant Physiology.

McNabb began his professional career as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Biology (1949-1952), then as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Forest Pathology (1952-1953), both at Yale. He came to Iowa State College (University) as an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology and Forestry (1953-1956) and was promoted to Associate Professor (1956-1964), Professor (1964-1995), and University Professor (1995-2000). Upon his retirement McNabb was named Professor Emeritus (2000).

His work at Iowa State University focused on Dutch elm disease (DED) and oak wilt research. At the time, DED was sweeping across the Midwestern United States and McNabb researched the methods of infection, transmission, and potential cures. He also worked with the development of hybrid poplar trees. McNabb was responsible for maintaining the Boyce Index for World Forest Pathology Literature, a resource for information on trees and plants from around the globe.

McNabb received many honors and awards over the course of his career. The Iowa Academy of Science honored McNabb with the Distinguished Service Award (1995). He was given the Faculty Citation Award from Iowa State University (1992). The American Phytopathological Society honored him with its first Excellence in Teaching Award (1989). McNabb was voted President (1993-1994) of the Iowa State University Faculty Senate. An additional list of honors and awards can be found in folders 1/1 and 1/2.

McNabb held memberships in many professional societies, including the American Phytopathological Society, the Society of American Foresters, the Botanical Society of America, and the Iowa Academy of Science. He was a member of several honor societies, including Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Delta Kappa, and Xi Sigma Pi. McNabb was active in the Boy Scouts of America as a Scoutmaster, himself having been an Eagle Scout. He belonged to the Delta Upsilon social fraternity. He participated in local politics and supported groups that promoted opportunities for youth and minorities.

McNabb married Marguerite (Margo) Louise Nootz (1949). Together, they have two children, Peter James (1950) and Genene Louise (1954). McNabb died on May 12, 2011, and is buried in the Iowa State University Cemetery.


2.94 Linear Feet (7 document boxes)

Language of Materials



Harold Sanderson "Sande" McNabb, Jr. was a forest pathologist and professor of plant pathology and forestry at Iowa State University (1953-2000). Nearly all of McNabb's professional career was spent at Iowa State University, where he conducted research related primarily to Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. For many years he was also responsible for maintaining the Boyce Index for World Forest Pathology Literature. This collection contains correspondence, research notes, grant applications, journal articles, and presentations, much of it related to McNabb's work with Dutch elm disease, oak wilt, and the development of hybrid poplar trees.


The collection is organized Alphabetically with biographical information placed first.

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives at least 3 working days in advance.


Sande McNabb papers

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 9/18/55. Harold S. McNabb papers, 1937-2011, undated
July 1, 2020
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