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Papers of Ivan D. Wood

Identifier: WIDW

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Ivan D. Wood consists of documents dated 1907 to 1973, with the bulk falling from 1940 through 1970. Most of the materials were collected or created by Wood in relation to his research and work as an agricultural engineer. The collection documents irrigation practices and projects, particularly in the western United States, through the work and writings of Wood and his colleagues. Major irrigation topics are conservation, equipment, land preparation, and water resources. The collection also includes documents related to Wood's personal interests, especially national parks, history and geology of Colorado and Nebraska, public speaking, drainage, and soils. Predominant material types include essays, articles, drawings, speeches, catalogs, brochures, reports, maps, photographs, and slides.


  • Creation: 1907-1973
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1970


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Ivan Daley Wood (1888-1978) was a distinguished agricultural engineer, whose work focused on the many aspects of irrigation, including soil, water application, and conservation. He was employed in both state and federal capacities for over forty years, until he retired in July 1957. After retiring, he held the position of vice president of the former Watersaver Company of Denver, Colorado, for nine years (January 1959-January 1968).

Wood was born October 17, 1888, in La Platte, Nebraska. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1912 as one of three in the first agricultural engineering class graduating from the University of Nebraska. In 1914, he received his Masters of Science in agricultural engineering from the University of Nebraska, making him the first in the United States to graduate with this degree. Later in his career, in 1954, Wood was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska.

For four years after graduation, Wood served on the faculty at the University of Nebraska as the first Extension Agricultural Engineer, specializing in irrigation and land reclamation. His work was postponed during World War I, while he served for the U.S. Army Air Service (February 1918-January 1919) at Gerstner Flying Field in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he was involved in aviation training.

He rejoined the University of Nebraska in 1919 as an Extension Engineer focusing on irrigation, drainage, and erosion control. He served in this position until 1934. According to the University, most of his early work was devoted to tractor operation, as well as work with drainage and pit silo projects and harvesting operations.

During the next decade, Wood held many different positions including State Director of Emergency Conservation Camps in Nebraska, Chief of Engineering for the U.S. Plains Shelter Project, and the District Engineer to seven states for the Farm Security Administration.

In 1945, Wood became the irrigation engineer for the Soil Conservation Service. As part of the Research Division, he was in charge of interpreting the research data used in field work and for conducting inter-agency training schools on irrigation and soil conservation. In 1951, he moved to Denver where he continued in the same position until July 1957. During his tenure in Denver, he served as president of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE; 1952-1953) and as a member of the executive board of the U.S. National Committee, International Commission of Irrigation and Drainage (1953-1958).

Wood was awarded the John Deere Medal in 1952 for contributions to improving use and conservation of soil and water resources. He also was an advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Benson while he was on a tour of western states with President Eisenhower in 1954. Wood's wife Dorothy survived him when he died in 1978.


19 linear feet (11 record cartons, 3 document boxes, 4 slide boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



Ivan Daley Wood (1888-1978) was an agricultural engineer whose work focused on the many aspects of irrigation, including soil, water application, and conservation. He was employed in state and federal capacities for over forty years and held an industry position for another nine years. The collection documents irrigation practices and projects, particularly in the western United States, through the work and writings of Wood and his colleagues, as well as Wood's personal interests. Predominant material types include essays, articles, speeches, catalogs, brochures, photographs, and slides. A portion of the collection is digitized and online.


The collection arrived in a somewhat disorganized state, but original order based on Wood's filing key was recovered to the extent possible.

The collection consists of 3 series in 18 boxes and 1 flat file.

Series 1: Writings, 1919-1971 and undated

Series 2: Subject files, 1907-1973 and undated

Subseries 2.1: Irrigation, 1907-1971 and undated

Subseries 2.2: General, 1909-1973 and undated

Series 3: Visual materials, 1920-1967 and undated

Subseries 3.1: Photographs and negatives, 1920-1965 and undated

Subseries 3.2: Slides, 1938-1967 and undated


The Papers of Ivan D. Wood was donated to the University Archives by Dorothy C. Wood, wife of Ivan D. Wood, in May 1978. The collection was transferred to the Water Resources Archive in 2006. The oversize drawings in the collection were transferred from the Colorado Agricultural Archive in 2004.

Online Materials

Most slides and negatives have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.


Processing was completed in August 2010. The collection, including oversize materials, was rehoused in acid-free containers. Metal paperclips were removed and replaced with plastic ones as necessary; all rubber bands were removed. Acidic papers and taped documents were interleaved with acid-free paper. Tape was removed from documents as possible without damaging the materials. Materials removed from the collection include duplicates beyond two copies, a set of graded quizzes from a class, textbooks and common federal government publications without annotations by Wood, and subject files with little relevance, such as those on home improvement, home appliances, health issues, and meteorites. One artifact, appearing to be a small model of a weir, was not retained.

For photographs, negatives, and slides, up to two duplicates were retained. Negatives without accompanying photographs but that appeared to be similar to other photographs and negatives were sleeved with the related negatives. Slides were removed from existing holders and sleeved according to Wood's filing key.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy.

Guide to the Papers of Ivan D. Wood
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Alan Barkley, Vanessa Baca, and Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA