National Poetry Month: Ada Hayden

Ada Hayden in College pasture, 1926. RS 13/3/33, Box 4, Folder 4.

Ada Hayden in College pasture, 1926. RS 13/3/33, Box 4, Folder 4.

If you are from Ames, chances are you’ve heard of Ada Hayden. You’ve probably taken a walk through Ada Hayden Heritage Park, or you may have visited the Ada Hayden Herbarium on ISU campus. “But Poetry Month?” you may be thinking. “Ada Hayden?”

Hayden was born in 1884 in Ames, IA, and attended Iowa State College (University), where she worked closely with Professor of Botany Louis Pammel. She graduated in 1908 with a B.S. in Botany and later became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Iowa State in 1918. She spent her career at ISC as an Assistant Professor of Botany and was named Curator of the Herbarium from 1947 until her death in 1950. As curator, she collected and preserved plant specimens, but she also had spent much time drawing many botanical illustrations and photographing plants in their native habitats. She spent much of her later career working for the preservation of the few remaining native prairie areas in the state, and Hayden Prairie in Howard County is named in her honor.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose), Ada Hayden Digital Collection.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose), Ada Hayden Digital Collection.

While she is best known for her work in prairie preservation, she also did quite a bit of writing. Most of her writings were articles on botany or prairie preservation, but in her Papers here in the University Archives is one rather lovely poem titled “The Iowa Rose.” It begins,

Beyond the Mississippi

Where the slow Missouri flows,

In the land of the Des Moines river

There blooms the Iowa Rose;

Not in the early springtime,

Not when the gold leaves fall,

But the summer’s radiant sunshine

The rose from the rosebud calls.

You can read the entire poem by clicking on the image below.

"The Iowa Rose" by Ada Hayden, undated. RS 13/5/55, box 1/folder 22.

“The Iowa Rose” by Ada Hayden, undated. RS 13/5/55, box 1/folder 22.

You can see slides of Hayden’s plant specimens in our Digital Collections. To see what else can be found in her papers, check out the collection’s finding aid.

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