Melvin Franklin Arey Papers

Archives record series:  15/02/19

Melvin Franklin Arey (1844-1931).  Papers, (1862-1930), .5 linear feet.


Melvin Franklin Arey was a distinguished, long-time member of the faculty of the University of Northern Iowa.  He was born in Hampden, Maine, on January 19, 1844.  He entered Bowdoin College at the age of eighteen, but soon left to enlist in Company A, 22nd Maine Infantry, Union Army.  Following his military service, he returned to Bowdoin College, where he received his bachelor's degree, with Phi Beta Kappa honors, in 1867.  He received his master's degree from Bowdoin College in 1870.

Professor Arey taught in Maine and New Hampshire schools before coming to Iowa in 1873.  He was superintendent of Cedar Falls (Iowa) schools for four years and then served in the same capacity in Fort Dodge for thirteen years.  In 1890 Professor Arey joined the faculty of the Iowa State Normal School as head of the Department of Natural Sciences.  He held that position until he retired from active teaching in 1917.  He then served as Curator of the Museum and supervisor of the college garden.  He died in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on March 20, 1931.

Professor Arey was an excellent classroom teacher and a productive scholar.  He took part in the Bahama expedition organized by the University of Iowa in 1893.  He published geological studies of at least six Iowa counties.  He was also active in local government and in veterans' associations, such as the Grand Army of the Republic.


Some of the papers in this collection accumulated gradually over the years in the University Archives.  However, most of this collection came from the UNI Museum in 2010.  This included: a journal kept by Professor Arey during a portion of his military service during the Civil War; a journal kept by Professor Arey during the 1893 Bahama expedition and publications relating to that expedition; and tributes to Professor Arey on his retirement from teaching in 1917.  University Archivist Gerald Peterson decided to combine this material into one collection in order to enhance research possibilities.

Container inventory

Box 1

  • Biographical information, including 1917 retirement tributes
  • Tribute to Professor Arey by Roger Leavitt
  • History of geology in Iowa over the last twenty-five years
  • Geology of Black Hawk County, 1906
  • Typescript of journal kept by Professor Arey during a portion of his military service, October 21-December 7, 1862
  • Typescript of journal kept by Professor Arey during the University of Iowa expedition to the Bahama Islands, May 1-July 28, 1893
  • Pubications relating to the University of Iowa expedition to the Bahama Islands (written by members of the expedition other than Professor Arey)

Collection processed and inventory written by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, June 2010; last modified, April 8, 2013 (GP).

Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913