William Isaac Chamberlain was born in Sharon, Connecticut in 1837. Shortly after hisbirth, his family moved to Ohio where he attended Western Reserve College (CaseWestern Reserve University) and upon graduation (1859) was appointed instructor inGreek. After six years, Dr. Chamberlain returned to his family’s farm and proceeded tostudy and conduct agricultural experiments related to farm fertilizers, drainage, and croprotation. He published his studies in agricultural journals and became widely known for his investigations of agricultural issues. Dr. Chamberlain was elected State Secretary of Agriculture of Ohio (1880-1886) and was instrumental in setting up Farmers’ Institutes inevery county of the state.Dr. Chamberlain’s reputation was well-known when he became the fourth President(1886-1890) of Iowa State College (Iowa State University). However, Dr. Chamberlain’spresidency was a turbulent one. He regularly defended the college’s curriculum whichwas often criticized by local citizens for not focusing enough on agriculture. Oncampus, many students opposed fraternities due to their secretive and exclusionarynature. Thus, his backing of student fraternities would eventually cost him the supportof most of the students. He never did gain the favor of the faculty. Dr. Chamberlainresigned in 1890 and moved back to his Ohio farm where he continued to conductagricultural experiments as well as write and lecture on agricultural issues. He servedon the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University and the Ohio Experiment Stationand became Associate Editor of the
National Stockman and Farmer
.William Chamberlain married Lucy Jones Marshall on July 16, 1863 and they had sixchildren. Dr. Chamberlain died on June 30, 1920, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The collection contains biographical information, correspondence, and inaugurationprograms. The correspondence includes letters between Chamberlain and Edgar Stanton, a member of Iowa State’s first graduating class (1872) as well as a facultymember of Iowa State. Also included are materials concerning the student disturbanceof 1888 resulting from student opposition to fraternities.
The collection is organized alphabetically.
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS DEPARTMENT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY