A Pictorial History: The University of Iowa Libraries – Theodore S. Parvin

THEODORE S. PARVIN
Curator and Librarian

February 1859 – 1862

Theodore Parvin was a professor of natural history, and assumed the office of librarian when the library was located in Central Hall (Old Capitol), where the west half of the former Senate Chamber had been made into a library room.  Parvin graduated from Woodworth College, Ohio, received his M.A. from Miami University, and studied law at the Cincinnati Law School.  After moving to Iowa, he became a private secretary to Iowa territorial governor Robert Lucas, and served later as a clerk in the US District Court and in the Register of the State Land Office.  Parvin also had the distinction of being one of the first trustees of the State University, an organizer of the State Historical Society, and a founder of the Masonic Order of Iowa where, as secretary, he built an extensive Masonic library.

While at Iowa, Parvin was able to secure such free copies of national and state publications as were available to libraries, including the ten volumes of publications of the Smithsonian Institution, and the promise of future works from that organization.  As Curator, Parvin also went on trips to collect geological specimens for the Collection in Natural History, and had great interest in meteorological studies.  Parvin died in Cedar Rapids in 1901.