IAGenWeb Project
Iowa History

       An IAGenWeb Special Project

Alumni and Ex-Students of Iowa State College

...with notes from 1917

Biographies, News Articles & Photos

Charles F. Curtiss, '87

Charles F. Curtiss, '87

Dean Charles F. Curtiss of the Division of Agriculture, Iowa State College, Ames, will give a lecture in the Toledo Commercial Club rooms next Tuesday evening, March 27, at 8 o'clock, on his recent trip to South America. His subject will be "South American Agriculture and Our Relations with the South American Republics." The address is one of the features of a series of lectures given this season under the auspices of the club and will be heard with the greatest of interest.

A cordial invitation is extended to the public in general to hear this important address. The farmers especially are invited. In all probability the roads will be bad, but the lecture by Dean Curtiss will many times repay the extra effort which must be exerted to attend. It will be the treat of the season and invaluable to all.

Dean Curtiss is perhaps the most widely known man in the live stock world. His correspondence concerning agriculture in general, and live stock in particular, comes not merely from all parts of the United States, but also from Europe, Australia and the leading live stock districts of South America. He is in demand beyond his time to comply with the calls to judge live stock at great expositions. Last year he responded to a repeated invitation to go to South American and there he judged in the great shows of the Argentine republic.

It is now just twenty-seven years since Chas. F. Curtiss became connected with Iowa State College and its agricultural experiment stateion at Ames. He was first made farm manager, a year or so after his graduation, and then in 1891 he bacame assistant director of the experiment station, when Iowa's famous "Tama Jim" Wilson went to the college as dean of agriculture. In 1897, when Mr. Wilson entered President McKinley's cabinet. Mr. Curtiss was promoted to succeed him, both as dean and as director of the experiment station. In the years that have followed, the growth of the agricultural work in the college and the experiment station have been extraordinary and the institution now ranks at the top in its field and has high standing throughout the world.

It is doubtful if any other agricultural college man has such wide relationships with practical agriculture as Dean Curtiss. Not so long ago a Chicago reporter referred to him, in a story of the International Live Stock Exposition, as "the busiest live stock expert in the world." He probably is, for he was at that time connected with the directing boards of eight or ten national and international agricultural organizations. In Iowa he is constantly in touch with farmers and their farms and that is why the work at Ames has always been kept close to the needs of the farmer, and why its motto, "Science with Practice," has been fulfilled.

Dean Curtiss, it may be guessed, is a busy man, and he is, but he manages to do a tremendous amount of work and also answer the call for such speaking engagements as his lecture in Toledo, by making use of every odd minute. He is as likely to be at his desk at 7 a.m. and at 10 p.m. as at midday. When at his desk, or in conferencee, he thinks and acts quickly. Those associated with him know that mere palaver doesn't get by him and they talk business straight from the shoulder when they confer with him about the college and its work.

Dean Curtiss is a forceful speaker. He always has something worth while to say and he says it clearly. Particularly interesting is his story of his trip to South America, where he had special opportunity for seeing and learning.

~Toledo Chronicle


Ira A. Williams, '98

Williams Compiles a Picturesque Treatise

Professor Ira A. Williams, '98, formerly connected with the department of Mines and Mining Engineering, of Iowa State College, is at present time, connected with the Oregon Bureau of Mines and Geology. He is the author of a splendid treatise on the Columbia River Geology, its geological history, interpreted from the Columbia River highway, Vol. 2, No. 3, of the series issued by the Bureau of Mines and Geological History of Oregon. the subjuect matter is taken up from the standpoint of scenic features, discussing the Cascade Range, the Columbia River gorge, Multnomah falls, and other falls, Larch Mountain, Basalt flows, Fossil bearing rock at mouth of Moffet creek, Beacon rock, Eagle creek gorge, Cascades of the Columbia, Shellrock and Wind mountains, Mitchell Point, etc.

The treatise contains not only the scenic description of the geology of the region, but it is accompanied with splendid illustrations. The work reflects credit not only on Professor Williams, but also on the Oregon Bureau of Mines and Geology.


Orfa Jean Shontz, Ex-'99

Former Ames Woman Making Good in Legal World

Orfa Jean Shontz, Ex-'99, is referee in the woman's department of the Juvenile Court at Los Angeles. She was appointed by Judge Sidney Reeve of the Juvenile Court and has the distinction of being the first woman referee. Miss Shontz is making a great record for herself and a recent issue of the Los Angeles Times devoted a full page, featuring her work.

After leaving Ames, Miss Shontz was the manager of the Columbia Lyceum Bureau at St. Paul, Minn., for several years. Later she went to California and studied law at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, from which she graduated about three years ago.


J.H. Frandsen, '02

Frandsen's Efforts Recognized

J.H. Frandsen '02, now head professor of dairy husbandry at the University of Nebraska, enjoys the distinction of having charge of the newest, largest and most costly college dairy building at any institution in the United States, and probably in the entire world. Professor Frandsen had done good work in helping to develop the dairy industry of Nebraska and the building is largely a recognition of his efforts. Its cost is $200,000. It includes the latest and best facilities for all branches of dairy instruction - buttermaking, cheesemaking, market milk, milk testing, research, class rooms, offices and a large hall with about 400 seats. The building is located on the main campus of the College of Agriculture in the outskirts of Lincoln. It is a monument to the dairy industry, as well as the enterprise of the state.


J.W. Hook, '05

J.W. Hook, '05

Hook's Example is Worthy of Emulation

While we hear much these days of college spirit and college loyalty, it would be hard to frame a set definition for either. Ths is due in a large measure to the fact that practically every individual would have a different conceeption of the significence of these terms. So while there are varying opinions as to the meaning of these common phrases, concrete evidences of them are readily accepted and fully appreciated. On various occasions Ames alumni have given evidence that they are not unmindful of the truest significance of these terms and that they are endowed to a marked degree with these most amiable and commendable qualities.

Many Ames alumni are in positions today where they need the assistance of men scientifically trained in the industries. The fact that they hold those positions is due, in a measure, to the thoroughness of their training at Ames. It should be natural for them in such cases to turn towards their alma mater for these technically trained men.

This has been done considerably in the past, but the Alumnus believes it can be carried to a greater extent in the future, to the mutual advantage of all concerned.

J.W. Hook, '05, who rendered such yeoman service as president of the General Alumni Association last year, has recently shown his faith in Ames men and his loyalty to alma mater by drafting a number of his fellow alumni into the service of his company.

Mr. Hook's rise in the commercial field has been rapid. For a few years after graduation he held positions with the Shoshone Electric Light and Power Co., Cody, Wyo.; the Des Moines Edison Light Co.; the Globe Machinery and Supply Co., Des Moines; and the National Vacuum Heating Co., Marshalltown, Ia., of which he was the manager. He then became affiliated with the C.A. Dunham Co. of Marshalltown, and soon rose to the important position of general manager. The wonderful growth of that company was due in a large measure to Mr. Hook's initiative and energy. While he was connected with this company he showed his faith in Ames men, and a larg number of them are now holding responsible positions with the Dunham Co.

In the summer of 1916 Mr. Hook went to New York City, to enter the employ of the American International Corporation, which is a part of the National City Bank. In about seven weeks Mr. Hook was made general manager of the Allied Machinery Co. of America, which is one of the affiliated companies of the American International Corporation. This company sells about $1,000,000 worth of machinery per month to foreign buyers, which gives some idea of the responsibility of Mr. Hook's position.

About two months ago Mr. Hook was given another advance by being made vice president of the Allied Machinery Co., and given the responsibility of forming two new companies, "The Allied Sugar Machinery Co." and "Allied Construction Machinery Co." Since this last promotion several Ames men have entered the employ of the company, with prospects of more following. It is an example worthy of emulation by other Ames alumni in responsible positions.


R.S. Fuhrmeister, '08

His Name Sounded Dangerous

Washington - In these days of additional caution by the United States government, some embarrassment ensues to innocent parties. An instance of this took place when R.S. Fuhrmeister of Cedar Rapids, accompanied by his bride of only a few days, for whose pleasure he was particularly solicitous, applied for admission to the State, War and Navy building. He told the guard at the door his name - and that was sufficient....

The bridegroom and his bride promptly were refuese admission.

The name Fuhrmeister is believed by guards at the State, War and Navy building to be too pronounced a German name to warrant admission of its owner to the federal building, and despite the positive assertion of Mr. Fuhrmeister that he was a native American citizen and would fight for President Wilson along with the first to go to the front, he was not admitted.

Mr. Fuhrmeister is a graduate of Iowa State College and a rancher. His family has been in this country for three generations. Fuhrmeister graduated in agriculture in 1908.

~Cedar Rapids Gazette


J.E. Kirstein, Ex-'10

Mr. Kirstein, after spending 3 years at Iowa State College, was so anxious to get into the harness as a breeder of Polled Hereford cattle, that he decided to stop his college life and begin his big field of activities as a live stock breeder. Having been reared upon a 760 acre Wright county farm, Mr. Kirstein had a very thorough knowledge of farm work and the live stock business. However, he had had no experience in handling pure bred cattle.

When a lad of sixteen, Ed's father, Mr. John Kirstein, started him as a Hereford booster by giving him a white faced calf for a birthday gift. This animal grew faster than the other calves and Ed still attributes this to the white faced blood she carried, but some of us who know something of Mr. Kirstein's tendencies, think it was partly due to his faithful feeding of the animal, as feeding is one of Mr. Kirstein's strong factors as a successful breeder of Polled Herefords.

Soon after Mr. Kirstein's departure from Ames, "he took unto himself a wife." While on their honeymoon trip in the State of Missouri in 1911, Mr. Kirkstein purchased 15 of the choice cows and heifers from the famous Wyant herd at Blythdale, Missouri. Mr. Kirstein had his own good judgement and his good wife's consent to back this undertaking. His father discouraged the deal and so did his father-in-law, but Mr. Kirstein knew he had the chance of a lifetime and so the cattle were landed upon the Pine Grove Farm in Wright county, Iowa.

The herd now consists of 75 head of Polled Hereford cows and heifers, headed by the great bull, King Jewel 4th, which cost Mr. Kirstein $1,000 in cold cash, besides several hundred miles of traveling to locate the animal. Mr. Kirstein says, "My first crop of calves including seven bulls, sold for $125 per head before they were 1 year old; my next crop averaged over two hundred dollars per head, and in three years from the date I bought my 15 head of foundation cattle they had paid for themselves. The herd had doubled in number with six to spare and I had $1,000 in cash to the good." Mr. Kirstein has sold a few of his bulls at $500 and above, and the 1915 and 1916 crop of calves looks like an average of at least $500 and should bring more on the present selling valuation of such stock.

Since starting in this field of live stock breeding, Mr. Kirstein has converted the whole neighborhood around him into Polled Hereford enthusiasts. He has started his two younger brothers, George, who is now a partner, and Fred, in the game. To drive past the Kirstein farms as they are located all together on the same road, one can enjoy the beautiful sight of the red bodies and white faces grazing upon the old bluegrass pastures, or snugly sheltered from the winter's storms on the south side of good, comfortable cattle barns and wind brakes.

The Kirstein brothers do not confine their efforts to the cattle raising business alone. They are prodcing big crops of corn, oats, clover, and alfalfa hay. Some 400 pigs are raised and marketed annually.

These pigs are fed with self feeders containing corn and tankage from the very first. Should you be interested in knowing what it costs the Kirsteins to produce pork by this method they can give you the exact cost of the production on their hog raising operations for the years 1914, 1915, and 1916. Business principles are applied to every branch of the Kirstein farms. They know what it costs to produce stuff on their farms. No guess work goes with these men. They are alive to the possibilities of making or loosing upon their farm operations.

In addition to all these business duties, Mr. Kirstein has time to devote to other activities along with his farm work. He is fourth vice president of the American Polled Hereford Association and was chosen by this association to inspect the animals that go into their annual sale January 31 at Des Moines, Iowa. He traveled several thousand miles, visited 70 herds in twelve different States and selected the animals that make up the offering of the association this month.

He is also a director in the Wright County Pure Bred Live Stock Breeder's Association, director and a member of the executive committee of the Wright County Farm Improvement Association, and besides these lines of work, he is a very active member of the various township clubs and rural organizations for which Wright county is noted.

At Mr. Kirstein's home you will find a wholesome hospitality, housed in a modern, up-to-date structure, that speaks of interest in home life. The family now consists of Virginia, four years of age, and a baby boy six months old, who, Ed says, has already developed a preference for Polled Hereford cattle.

~Iowa Agriculturist, Jan. 1917


Ames Iowa, Alumni Dine Their Guild in Portland

Graduates of Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, now prominent in the dairy industry, who were in Portland for the Western Dairy Products Show were entertained at dinner at the Hazelwood Friday night by the Ames Alumni Association of Oregon, of which Judge Thomas Carrick Burke, collector of customs, is president.

Among the guests were: Ed H. Webster, former chief of the dairy division bureau of animal industry, department of agriculture, who is now assistant general manager of the California Central creameries; G.E. Frevert, a government milk specialist, who served as manager of the Western Dairy Products Show; Professor E.F. Goss, head of the dairy department of the University of Idaho; and Professor G.L. Martin, head of the dairy department of Montana Agricultural College.

E.E. Faville, editor of the Western Farmer, acted as toastmaster.

~Oregon Daily Journal, March 3, 1917


Meeting of Chicago Alumni Association

Chicago alumni, about one hundred strong, gathered at the City Club on the evening of March 10, for their 20th annual banquet. It is the custom of the association to have a dinner in March of each year and an outing and picnic early in September.

The tables were arranged in the form of a huge A. Miss Maria Roberts, of the College, was the honored guest of the occasion. It was quite fitting that a woman member of the faculty should represent the college at this annual meeting, as the association has been presided over during the past year by an active suffragette - Mrs. Cora Van Velsor Lambert '90 - who, in her inimitable manner, actied as toastmistress.

Miss Roberts told a most interesting and informing story of the work and progress of the college. Statistical comparisons were made of the college of 1890, when Miss Roberts was a student, and of the institution as it now is. It amazed the older graduates to learn there are more teachers now than there were students in those days. And the money they get and spend at Ames - O, my! Our native state has certainly grown much in wealth and liberality in twenty-five years!

After Miss Roberts had made everybody proud of his alma mater and impressed with the idea that his diploma had grown in value, speeches were made by Donald M. Carter '91, Mrs. Helen Kepner Barber '90, J.F. Brown '03, Mrs. Grace Viall Gray '04 (by marriage), Philip J. McGuire '93, Charles W. Lamborn '89 and J.W. Bradford '86.

Officers for the coming year were elected as follows: President, A.L. Evans '04; vice president, C.H. Cooley '11; secretary-treasurer, C.E .Harris '09.

A proposal was made to form something in the nature of an employment bureau to assist graduates who come to Chicago in finding suitable positions. E.C. Higgins '02, who has given thought to the subject, was appointed to act with the new officers in formulating a plan. Many of the Chicago alumni, especially in engineering lines, hold positions that enable them either to furnish employment or render assistance in this direction. The idea is to get in touch with young graduates who come to Chicago and give them friendly aid in finding good positions and pleasant social surroundings. The committee will later have something to say on this subject through channels that will reach the graduating classes.

There are now about three hundred alumni in or near Chicago, the majority of whom have a growing interest in the welfare of the college and its graduates.


Pittsburgh Holds Annual Banquet

The thirteenth annual banquet of the Pittsburgh Branch of the Iowa State College Alumni Association was held at the Fort Pitt Hotel in Pittsburgh on March 3, 1917. Following the dinner, Pres. C.M. Canady introduced the guest of honor, Mr. M.J. Riggs '83, of Toledo, Ohio. Mr. Riggs then spoke to those present, recalling early days at I.S.C. and calling attention to the important work that school is now doing. Mr. Riggs is a very enthusiastic alumnus of I.S.C. and his talk was very much enjoyed by all.

Mr. Hendrix responded to Mr. Riggs' talk, also speaking on other subjects of interest to the alumni present. He concluded his remarks with an appeal for loyalty to our country in the present crisis, and proposed a toast that we pass through the next twelve months honorably without war.

Mr. Schantz was then called on to suggest ways to increase interest in the association. One suggestion made by mr. Schantz was that those alumni who work in the city arrange to lunch together occasionally. It is quite likely the idea will be taken up by some of th emembers of this association.

An interesting feature of the evening's entertainment was a program of music and readings. A short business session was held and the following officers elected for the next year:
President, Wm. H. Jackson '91
Vice president, G.N. Mereness '04

Those present at the banquet were:
M.J. Riggs '83
C.M. Canady '87, wife and daughter
J.C. Banks '89, and wife
Geo. L. Christy '91, and wife
Fay Nichols '99, and wife
W.W. Hendrix '03, and wife
G.N. Mereness '04, and wife
H.S. Ayers Ex-'06, and wife
John Lage '07
A.A. Canady '08, and wife
L.C. Schantz '08
F.G. Schworm '09, and wife
J.W. Mason '10, and wife
Mrs. B.L. Palmer
J.C. Group '12
Miss Pringle
H.X. White '13
E.M. Bouton '14, and wife
Prof. C.B. Stanton and wife

Additional photos from the 1917 Alumnus

Interior of the ISC Machine Shop, 1917
Interior of the Machine Shop, 1917
View of Central from Margaret Hall, 1917, ISC
View of Central from Margaret Hall, 1917

General Transcription notes
~Transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for the IAGenWeb Iowa History Project
1) The Alumnus of Iowa State College, April, 1917, Vol XII, No. 7

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