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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Amos Dean
RG 05.01.01
Collection Dates: 1855-1860
1.0 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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Acquisition and Processing Information: These papers were given to the University Libraries by the Office of the President; date undetermined. Guide posted to the Internet October 2006.


Amos Dean
Amos Dean, first president of the
State University of Iowa

Biographical Note

Amos Dean served as the University of Iowa's first president, from 1855 to 1859.

The University of Iowa was established in 1847 by an act of Iowa’s first General Assembly. Classes, however, did not begin until 1855, the year Amos Dean was selected to be its first president. A Vermont native, Dean graduated with honors from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1826. He practiced law in Albany, New York, after his admission to the state bar in 1829. In 1833 he organized the Young Men’s Association of Albany for the purpose of mutual benefit and education, believed to be the first organization of its type in the U.S.

An early advocate of professional training, Dean founded, or helped to found, law and medical programs in Albany over a 15-year period, beginning in 1838. He was also an accomplished writer who published numerous works addressing legal, social, and historical subjects.

During his four years as University of Iowa president, he attempted to place the fledgling institution on a more financially sound basis. However, the University was forced to close temporarily in April 1858 because of a lack of funds.

Dean was born in Barnard, Vermont, on January 16, 1803, and married Eliza Joanna Davis in 1842. He died on January 26, 1868, at age 65.

[D. McCartney, 10/2006]

Related Materials

Catalogs of the University, 1855-1859 (RG 01.08)

Records of the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents, 1847-1909 (RG 04.01)

Manuscript File Collection (RG 01.01.01)

Box Contents List

Publications; 0.75 ft.

Lectures; 0.25 ft.