New acquisitions in the sciences

A “herbarium,” a plant specimen book, was recently discovered in a lab in CNS. This book has significance for IWU’s history: it was compiled by Alfred O. Coffin, the second African-American to graduate from IWU. Coffin received an M.A. in 1888 and a PhD. in 1889 from IWU’s non-resident degree program. He was first African-American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D in Biology.

Alfred O. Coffin, Ph.D., 1889

Alfred O. Coffin, Ph.D., 1889

A. O. Coffin signature



Plant speciman page







A text that belonged to former Biology faculty member (1958-1978) William M. Darlington was also donated this winter. It bears an inscription dated 1898 and contains notations on plant varieties.

These two volumes and other material related to the sciences are now on display in The Ames Library. The exhibits, titled “The Sciences in Special Collections” will remain in two exhibit cases on the entry level until the end of January. After that, as is the case with all archives and special collections holdings, they will be available for use in Tate Archives & Special Collections on the library’s 4th floor.


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