Amos Currier


1867 – 1879

Amos Currier, professor of Latin, is given credit for “first putting the university in shape to make available the material upon its shelves.”  He introduced both a classified and alphabetic catalog, instituted a reserve book system, regularly presented lectures on “Books and Reading” to undergraduates, and encouraged students to meet with him for suggested readings to supplement their course work.  Currier implemented collection development policies that supported the purchase of contemporary works rather than “nothing but text learning” and which augmented class room instruction.  Over several years, Currier recommended to the Board of Regents that a full-time librarian should be appointed, and this advice was taken in 1879 when Ada North was hired as the first full time professional librarian.

Originally from New Hampshire, Currier graduated from Kimball Union Academy, received an A.B. at Dartmouth College in 1856 and an A.M. degree in 1859. He moved to Iowa in 1857, becoming Professor of Languages at the University of Pella.  In 1861 he joined Co. C of the 8th Iowa Infantry as a private; he was captured at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.  He finished out the war in Missouri, and was re-instated at Pella after the war.  In June 1867, the Board of Trustees elected him to serve at the University of Iowa as Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature.