Roy Linn Abbott Papers, 1930-1964

Collection Overview

Title: Roy Linn Abbott Papers, 1930-1964

Record Series: 14/12/02/04

Record Group:

14/12/02 Faculty & Staff Papers

Creator: Abbott, Roy L.

Date: 1930-1964

Extent: 4 boxes (3.63 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Some of the papers in this collection accumulated gradually over the years in the SC&UA. The scrapbooks came to SC&UA from Lela Mae Ping Abbott, Professor Abbott's widow in about 1970 and the scripts in Box 4, from Professor Abbott's "Everyday Science" radio program, came from the UNI Museum in 2010.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access. Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Historical Note

Roy Linn Abbott (1886-1968) was a distinguished, long-time member of the science faculty of the University of Northern Iowa.  He was born in Muscatine, Iowa, on May 5, 1886.  He graduated from Conesville (Iowa) High School and, after teaching in rural schools, received a bachelor's degree from the Iowa State Teachers College in 1915.  He received his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1917 and joined the faculty of the Iowa State Teachers College in September of that year.  He received the Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1925.

Professor Abbott was a fine teacher, but he was probably best known as a naturalist who could explain the natural world to a wide and general audience.  He published hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines across the United States.  When the Teachers College inaugurated its radio service, Professor Abbott contributed over eight hundred programs in the following twenty-two years, including many programs after his retirement from classroom responsibilities in 1954.

Professor Abbott died in Bradenton, Florida, on December 8, 1968.  


Scope and Content

Both the scripts and the scrapbooks give a good picture of Professor Abbott's popular style of nature writing.



Box 1

  • Scrapbooks of Professor Abbott's newspaper and magazine articles

Box 2

  • Scrapbooks of Professor Abbott's newspaper and magazine articles

Box 3

  •  Articles written by Professor Abbott; radio scripts

Box 4

  • "A Scientist Looks About Him" radio scripts, 1944-1945
  • "A Scientist Looks About Him", study guide, 1945
  • "Everyday Science" radio scripts, 1955-1958, 1959-1962
  • Biographical information

Processing Information

Collection processed by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, June 2010. Updated by Gerald Peterson, July 2, 2010 and Library Associate Dave Hoing, January 2018 and April 2018. Linear feet updated on September 15, 2017.