University Museums

Title: Dean Charles F. Curtiss
Name: Portrait
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 34 1/4 × 27 1/2 in. (87 × 69.9 cm) Frame: 26 1/4 × 19 1/4 in. (66.7 × 48.9 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Gift of David Shugart. In the Farm House Museum Collection, Farm House Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: 80.22.3
More Information
Charles F. Curtiss grew up on a farm 10 miles north of the Iowa State campus. He earned his bachelor’s degree from there in 1887 and joined the faculty in 1891. At that time, there was one course and one instructor in agriculture. He formulated a four-year curriculum, which was adopted in 1892. He received his master’s from Iowa State College in 1894, one of three granted before the turn of the century. Curtiss was the first professor of animal science in 1896 and first head of the animal science department in 1898. When James “Tama Jim” Wilson left Iowa State in 1897 to begin a 16-year stint as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, he chose Curtiss as his successor. Curtiss served as director of the Experiment Station and acting dean. In 1902, Curtiss was named Dean of Agriculture and remained in that position until he retired in 1932.

Fast fact: Curtiss and his family moved into the Farm House, the first building on campus, in 1897. He lived there until his death in 1946. A year later, Ag Hall south of the Farm House, which was completed in 1901, was renamed Curtiss Hall.