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Wentworth, Edward N.

Published onNov 08, 2021
Wentworth, Edward N.

(January 11, 1887 — April 27, 1957)

Quick Facts

Director of the Livestock Bureau for 35 years and chair of the portrait committee. This committee was established to create portraits of presidents, distinguished faculty, accomplished division heads, and heralded alumni at Iowa State.

Edward N. Wentworth was born at Dover, New Hampshire. The family moved to Iowa and lived at Marshalltown and State Center, where young Edward graduated from State Center High School. Wentworth received his Bachelor of Science in animal husbandry at Iowa State College (now University) in 1903 and his Masters of Science degree in 1909.

Wentworth was associate professor of animal breeding at Iowa State College from 1907 to 1913, then professor of animal breeding at Kansas State (1914-1916). Wentworth married Alma Bessie McCulla in 1909 at St. Ansgar, Iowa. They had two children, Edward Norris Wentworth, Jr, and Raymond Howard Wentworth, who preceded them in death. Wentworth was associate editor of Breeders' Gazette (1913-1914).

Following service in World War I, Colonel Wentworth joined Armour and Company in the Public Relations Department in 1919. Beginning in 1920, he began a long association with the International Live Stock Exposition as ringmaster. His lifetime was filled with judging at livestock shows and fairs throughout the country. He was professionally acquainted with most of the leading figures in agriculture from his college days forward.

In 1923 he became director of the Livestock Bureau, serving for 35 years until 1954. Col. and Mrs. Wentworth made their home in Chesterton, Indiana, with a 1,000-volume library, original paintings and etchings on the walls, and statuettes above the fireplace, all with a western theme. Each work of art had to pass the test for accuracy, as well as for artistic appeal in order for Wentworth to consider the object worth acquiring.

Wentworth was an accomplished speaker and lecturer and made talks in practically every state of the Union and several foreign countries. As an avid art collector and authority on the old West, he was active in many professional, historical and military societies, and was a distinguished historian of American livestock. While serving as the Vice President of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Wentworth charged himself with commissioning paintings and portraits for the club and became familiar with significant regional and national portrait artists. Utilizing his knowledge of art and livestock, Wentworth chaired the Iowa State College Alumni Association Portrait Committee in the 1930s, which was established to create portraits of presidents, distinguished faculty, accomplished division heads, and heralded alumni. In an effort to recognize historically significant campus individuals, portrait subjects were often commissioned posthumously. The resulting portraits established the longstanding campus tradition of commissioning significant Iowa State individuals.

In 2021, the ISU Portrait Collection numbers over 330 portraits.

Writing for numerous agricultural and historical journals, Wentworth also authored numerous books including The Portrait Gallery of the Saddle and Sirloin Club (1920) and America's Sheep Trails (1948). Wentworth was made Honorary American Farmer (F.F.A.) in 1948, and was given an Honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree at Iowa State College in 1951.

Selected Sources

From University Museums’ personnel files on Wentworth: correspondence regarding portraiture.

From the guide to the Edward N. Wentworth papers, 1805-1959, 1925-1954, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 27302693

Department of Animal Science, profile.

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