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Day, H. Summerfield

Published onJul 30, 2021
Day, H. Summerfield

(February 22, 1910 – September 2, 1986)

Quick Facts

Former University Architect, Day completed a comprehensive history of Iowa State University’s campus and ground from 1859-1979.


H. Summerfield "Pete" Day was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 22, 1910, to parents Herbert J. and Eda Rundstrom Day. Herbert J. Day was an artist.1

Day attended Main Township High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, and after graduation went on to University of Illinois to earn a bachelor of arts degree in archaeology2 in 1933. Day completed graduate work at Harvard University during the 1933-1934 school year3 on a scholarship.4

Day started his career in the National Park Service as an archaeologist. From 1934-1935, he managed excavations at Historic Jamestown in Virginia. Then he worked on the excavation of Native American burial mounds and village sites, including those at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia, and Hobbs Island in Madison County, Alabama.5

Day then worked as a draftsman and designer for chemical warfare arsenals in Huntsville, Alabama, and Denver, Colorado, from 1941-1943. Afterwards he served as a stress engineer for Douglas Aircraft in Chicago until 1945. Then he worked for various architects in the Denver area from 1945-1949 Soon after that Day ran his own architectural company in Grand Junction, Colorado, until 1959.6

In 1959, Day became the Associate Architect at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, then the Supervising Architect at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1964. In 1966, he became University Architect, succeeding Walter Hotchkiss,7 at Iowa State University until 1975. In addition, he served as Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, was a member of the Physical Facilities Committee, the Traffic Committee,8 and the Campus Planning Committee.9 From 1975-1980, Day was the Program Assistant in the Architect's Office. During this time Day was completing his book, The Iowa State University Campus and Its Buildings, 1859-1979, a comprehensive history of Iowa State's buildings and grounds. Day retired in 1980, the same year his book was published.10 Day spent twelve years researching and collecting data for the book and two years writing it.11

Day's professional memberships included the American Institute of Architects, the Association of University Architects, the Society for College and University Planning, and the Ames City Planning and Zoning Commission and City Zoning Board of Adjustment. In addition, he was a member of the United Church of Christ-Congregational;12 Triangle Fraternity (Illinois Chapter) where he served as Vice President in 1933; the Grand Junction (Colorado) Kiwanis Club where he served as Vice President in 1958;13 the Ames Kiwanis Club; and Mesa Lodge #55, AF and AM, Grand Junction, Colorado. Through his life, Day's interest in archaeology continued. He was also a stamp collector and enjoyed traveling.14

Day married Martha Elizabeth "Betty" Vinje on January 4, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois.15 Vinje earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Illinois and was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority.16 They had two sons, Herbert Vinje and Russell Peter.

Day died September 2, 1986, in Ames, Iowa. Betty Vinje Day died September 2, 1993, in Ames, Iowa.17 Both Day and his wife18 are entombed at Mount Hope Cemetery Mausoleum in Urbana, Illinois.19

Selected Sources

The Iowa State University Campus and Its Buildings 1859-1979 by H. Summerfield Day, publication online at

In the Facilities Planning and Management records. H. Summerfield Day Papers, 4/8/11, University Archives, Special Collection, Iowa State University Library.

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