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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Eva Donelson Wilson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1994
Creator: Wilson, Eva Donelson (1905-2007)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0355
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Native of Ogden, Iowa, and professor of nutrition at colleges in the United States and Brazil.

Access: The papers are open for research with the exception of the correspondence which is closed until January 15, 2041.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers were donated by Eva Donelson Wilson (donor no. 497) and Kenneth Donelson (donor no. 408) in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Eva Donelson Wilson papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Eva Donelson was born August 8, 1905 on a farm near Ogden in Peoples Township, Boone County, Iowa.  She graduated from Ogden High School in 1922 and entered Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) in 1923, graduating in 1927. Donelson worked in 1927-28 at the Merrill Palmer School in Detroit, a school involved in the study of early childhood.  After a brief stint in the University of Iowa dietetics department Donelson returned to the Merrill Palmer School in 1930-32.  There she did her dissertation research, studying the vitamin G content of human milk.  In 1932 she entered the University of Chicago, acquiring her Ph.D. in 1934.  She taught nutrition courses at the University of Minnesota until 1946 when she became head of Food and Nutrition at Ohio State University. 

Donelson married H.K. Wilson December 22, 1947 and joined him at State College, Pennsylvania, where Wilson was Dean of Men at Pennsylvania State University and Eva Donelson Wilson became Head of the Food and Nutrition Department.  H.K. Wilson died in 1958.  In 1959 Eva Donelson Wilson published Principles of Nutrition.

Wilson returned to Ohio State, where she carried on research funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.  In 1965 Wilson joined the USAID program in Brazil to help initiate a program in Home Economics at the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luis de Queiroz (ESALQ).  This is the Agriculture College of the University of Sao Paulo, located in Piracicaba.  She retired from this program in 1972.

The Eva Donelson Wilson papers consist of an autobiography completed in 1994.

The autobiography presents vivid detail about a rural childhood, the maintaining of a farm and its household.  Wilson carefully delineates the steps involved in such domesticities as gardening, canning, threshing, butter-making, soap and vinegar processing.  She also describes holidays, church customs, the music, magazines and newspapers found in the home.  She discusses common diseases and their treatment, changes in transportation, games frequently played and the coming of the Chautauqua.

Wilson was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, and Penn State University.  In addition she taught in Brazil.  Wilson describes college jobs, rules, dormitories and classes; portrays professors' personalities and teaching styles; and lists each school's intention, architecture, and traditions. Four editions of Wilson's Principles of Nutrition, first published in 1959, are cataloged and shelved in the printed works section of the Iowa Women's Archives.
Ellen Mowrer Miller (IWA): Miller was Eva Donelson Wilson's grandmother.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Eva Donelson Wilson

  • Series 1: Eva Donelson Wilson
  • Box 1:
  • Eva D. Wilson, "Autobiography" - 1994

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Ogden
United States -- Iowa -- Boone County