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Maria M. Roberts


Posted By: IAGenWeb History Project
Date: 3/2/2009 at 14:37:19

A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
Volume IV
Chicago and New York

MARIA M. ROBERTS, dean of Iowa State College at Ames, has distinguished herself by rare gifts as an administrator and educator. She is also a scientist, and it was her attainments as a mathematical scholar that brought her to the Iowa State College faculty.

Miss Roberts is a native of Ohio, born at Dunlap, and represents a family of culture that left its impress on the early traditions of the state. She is a daughter of Benjamin F. Roberts, who came from Connecticut to Iowa in 1857, traveling by train as far as Iowa City and then walked, guiding the ox teams that hauled wagons containing household goods, women and children. He and seven brothers settled on adjacent farms in Harrison County, Iowa. He was engaged in farming there until 1908, when he removed to Ames and spent his last years in the college community, where he died in 1921. He was a Union soldier; in Company C of the Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry. It was shortly after his discharge at the close of the war that he married Ellen Rogers, who had come to Iowa from Michigan in 1860. She was one of the early school teachers of Harrison County. The father and mother of Benjamin F. Roberts established in Harrison County in 1861 the Farmers Wives Society, which was probably the first woman's club in the state. Dean Roberts has one brother, O. W. Roberts, who was born in Harrison County, attended high school at Dunlap, and graduated from Iowa State College, and is now head of the weather bureau at Bismark, North Dakota.

Maria M. Roberts attended the common and high schools of Dunlap, Iowa, graduated from high school in 1884, and in 1890 took the Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State College at Ames. The following year she taught at Des Moines and in 1891 returned to Ames as an instructor in mathematics in the State College. Besides her many years of work as teacher of mathematics Dean Roberts is known among mathematicians for her contributions as joint author with Julia T. Colbert on the text book on Analytic Geometry, published in 1918 by John Wiley & Son, and now used as a text book by many of the leading institutions of the country, including the state universities of Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Miss Roberts is a member of the American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America.

Her special gifts in work of administration caused Miss Roberts a number of years ago to be appointed vice dean, and on the death of Dean Stanton, in 1920, she was made acting dean, and a year later was given her present title as dean of Junior College at Iowa State College. She now has fifteen faculty assistants besides several secretaries and stenographers, and has full charge of all the scholastic work of the freshman and sophomore years, with a more or less general supervision of the activities of 2,500 students. Dean Roberts has done graduate work in Columbia, Cornell and Chicago universities, and is a member of many learned and civic organizations. She is a member of Chapter 99 of P. E. O., also of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and a member of the Congregational Church.


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