George Washington Carver
On June 16, 2022, Governor Reynolds signed a bill (SF 2380) that designates February 1 of each year as George Washington Carver Day.
”The governor of this state is hereby authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating the first day of February as George Washington Carver Day and to encourage all governmental entities, civic organizations, schools, and institutions of higher education in the state to observe the day in a manner that emphasizes the meaning and importance of the scientific and agricultural accomplishments and global humanitarian achievements of professor Carver and to acknowledge the Iowa educational institutions, Simpson College and Iowa State University, that allowed George Washington Carver to persevere through racial barriers and fulfill his potential as a human being.”
In honor of George Washington Carver, explore some resources that share Carver’s influence on Iowa and beyond.
State Historical Society of Iowa Resources
Iowa History 101
Iowa History 101 is an online learning series that focuses on the past lives of Iowans. The webinars share Iowa stories and the history of the state through a cultural history lens.
- George Washington Carver in Iowa - This webinar, led by Linda Griffith Smith, explored how Iowa was a turning point in George Washington Carver’s life. Happenstance brought him to Iowa with a here-and-there education, but he was a determined, educated young man when he left for Tuskegee University.
Goldie's Kids Club
Goldie’s Kids Club introduces children aged 12 and under to Iowa history – starting with Goldie the eastern goldfinch, the state bird. Each month, a new Storytime and Innovative Iowan activity with a hands-on component and Iowa connection is released.
- Storytime - A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki
- Innovative Iowans - Etta Budd
The Annals of Iowa
The Annals of Iowa is a thought-provoking history journal. Published quarterly, the Annals of Iowa examines the deeds, misdeeds, and accomplishments of our predecessors and demonstrates how those actions fit into the larger mosaic of Iowa's past.
- Brown, W. L., (1983) “H. A. Wallace and the Development of Hybrid Corn”, The Annals of Iowa 47(2), 167-179
- Kleinman, M. L., (1994) “Searching for the "Inner Light": The Development of Henry A. Wallace's Experimental Spiritualism”, The Annals of Iowa 53(3), 195-218
- Morain, T., (2021) “To Rattle Dry Bones”, The Annals of Iowa 80(3), 245–258
The Palimpsest was a historical magazine published by the State Historical Society of Iowa beginning in 1920 until it was renamed Iowa Heritage Illustrated in 1996.
- Ginalie Swaim, "Iowans at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition: What They Took to the Fair, What They Did There, and What They Brought Back Home," (1993), 160-187
Iowa Heritage Illustrated
Iowa Heritage Illustrated was a quarterly historical magazine published by the State Historical Society of Iowa between 1996 - 2014.
- Harold S. McNabb, Jr., "George Washington Carver: Holistic Scientist for the American South." (2003), 52-57
- Matthew Schaefer, "Four Iowans Who Fed the World." (2003), 50-51
- Ginalie Swaim, "George Washington Carver: A Life Wrapped Up in Flowers." (2007), 184-185
The Goldfinch: Iowa History for Young People was published quarterly by the State Historical Society of Iowa from 1975 - 2000. Each issue focused on a theme and includes articles, games, photos, and fiction.
- "George Washington Carver," The Goldfinch, Vol. 2, no. 3 (February 1981)
Primary Source Sets
Through the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources grant, the State Historical Society of Iowa developed free and downloadable Primary Source Sets to help K-12 educators meet the Iowa Core Social Studies Standards. The Sets address national and international history as well as Iowa-specific history.
Other Iowa Resources
In 1890, George Washington Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, before transferring to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University). Explore Carver’s legacy through art owned by University Museums at Iowa State University.
- Celebrating George Washington Carver, University Museums, Iowa State University
George Washington Carver’s life has been captured in film and radio. Both Iowa PBS and Iowa Public Radio have explored different aspects of Carver’s life and work.
- George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life, Iowa PBS
- The Voice of George Washington Carver, Rick Fredericksen, Iowa Public Radio
Archives, Research & Articles
Much research has been done about George Washington Carver. Both Simpson College and Iowa State University have special collections dedicated to the work and legacy of Carver. Scholars have used the research materials from the archives to write about Carver's legacy.
- Iowa State University Archives, Special Collections Department, George Washington Carver Digital Collection
- Simpson College Archives, George Washington Carver Collection
- "George Washington Carver - Iowa education sowed the seeds of his Success", John Skipper, Iowa History Journal Jan/Feb 2023
- Connection Between Norman Borlaug and George Washington Carver, Tom Morain, AgBioWorld
Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), one of the largest historically Black universities in the United States, is a private university located in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was officially founded on July 4, 1881, by Booker T. Washington, who recruited George Washington Carver in 1896 to be the Agriculture Director.
- Tuskegee University Archives, George Washington Carver Collection
- The Legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University
- National Historic Chemical Landmark at Tuskegee University, American Chemical Society
Archives, Museums & National Parks
George Washington Carver’s legacy has been honored through museums, archives and national parks dedicated to his rich agricultural, historical and cultural contributions.
- The G.W. Carver Interpretive Museum, Dothan, Alabama
- George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center, Austin, Texas
- George Washington Carver National Monument, National Parks Service, Diamond, Missouri
- George Washington Carver: Agricultural Scientist, Social Activist, The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Dearborn, Michigan
- The Unwritten Record: George Washington Carver on Kodachrome, National Archives
Books & Websites
Throughout time, authors have captured the different aspects and facets of George Washington Carver’s life in print.
- Gary Kremer, "George Washington Carver: In His Own Words," (University of Missouri Press, 1991)
- Christina Vella, "George Washington Carver: A Life," (LSU Press, 2015)
- George Washington Carver, Historic Missourians
- George Washington Carver: Peanut Products, National Inventors Hall of Fame