Skip to main content


Identifier: CONS11


The Irwin T. Bode Papers contain items from the years 1918 to 1970. Correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, articles, presentations, and various ephemera form part of the collection. The items pertain to Bode's work in the Iowa and Missouri state conservation efforts. Bode's personal interests are also reflected in the scrapbooks, correspondence, programs, and items from his membership in a foresters' group.

This collection provides insight into Bode's professional conservation efforts. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, memos, and reports provide both the public and internal views of Bode's sometimes-controversial tenure in Iowa and Missouri. The various articles and presentations provide insight into Bode's writing style and personal opinions on the issues of his day. The research notes, scrapbooks, correspondence, and personal records that are part of the collection reflect Bode's meticulous nature. The papers as a whole provide a picture of Bode as a very detail oriented, opinionated, respected professional conservationist whose first priority was the preservation and protection of the wildlife and wilderness of the Midwest.


Bode’s employment with the states of Iowa and Missouri are covered in this series. He served as state extension forester and taught history during his time in Iowa. Bode was also the head of the American School for Wildlife Protection. All of these positions are reflected in this series in correspondence, newspaper clippings, and programs. While in Missouri, Bode served as director of the Missouri Conservation Commission until his retirement in 1957. Correspondence from both his move to Missouri to his retirement, newspaper clippings, memos, and ephemera all cover this time in Bode’s professional life.


While he was working in various conservation positions, Bode was also writing various articles and giving presentations on conservation topics. Many of these articles and speeches were not titled, and are in the form of a draft or notes. These items are arranged chronologically and separated by type of item. Those articles that were titled are arranged by title.

SERIES 3 PERSONAL 1921-1970, n.d. BOX 3-5, OVBOX 1-2

Also included in this collection are items that do not directly deal with Bode’s official duties. Correspondence to friends and family are part of this series. Information about the purchase and sale of homes in Ames, Iowa and Jefferson City, Missouri are also included in this series. Correspondence to and from Bode dating from his retirement years is part of this series. Bode’s scrapbooks of conservation-theme newspaper clippings are included, and are divided by topic. Bode was a contemporary of J.N. “Ding” Darling, who was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, and later director of the U.S. Biological Survey. Correspondence and scrapbooks of cartoons by Darling are part of this series.

Bode was also involved in the Brotherhood of Venery, which was a foresters organization. Meeting minutes, correspondence, and publications from the group are included in this series.


  • TBD


The collection is open for research.


The Irwin T. Bode Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


Irwin T. Bode is widely respected for his lifelong work on behalf of Midwestern wilderness and wildlife. He served in several positions with the federal government and the states of Iowa and Missouri. Bode's greatest contribution may be his work to keep the Missouri Conservation Commission separate from state politics. He worked tirelessly to hire and promote the most qualified candidates rather than political appointees. This led to a strong Commission, headed by Bode, which was able to implement a strong conservation program. The strength and independence of the Commission has continued to the present day.

Irwin T. Bode was born in Keokuk, Iowa in 1891. He attended Iowa State College, where he earned his Master's degree in Forestry in 1921. He served as a professor of Forestry Extension at Iowa State from 1922 to 1932, when he was appointed Secretary of the Iowa Fish and Game Commission. Bode was later appointed head of the Iowa Commission of the State Game Warden, and held that position until 1935.

In 1937, Bode took the position of head of the Missouri Conservation Commission. He worked in this capacity for twenty years. His tenure was marked by an attempt to have him removed because of his politics, and another because he did not originate from the state of Missouri. Bode worked to streamline the Commission and keep it separate from state politics. He retired from the Missouri Commission in 1957 and moved to Whittier, California. He resided in Whittier until his death in 1970.

Information obtained from obituary in The Journal of Wildlife Management vol. 35, July 1971, p. 589.


7 Boxes


The Irwin T. Bode Papers were donated by Irwin Bode, and later the executor of his estate, in 1966 and 1972.


Number of Boxes: 7




Robert Russell

July 2003


Claudia Jensen

September 2004


Ellen Zazzarino

September 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States