Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

RS 13/9/14
Theodore W. Schultz (1902-1998)
Papers, 1933-2011, undated

Descriptive summary

creator: Schultz, Theodore W. (1902-1998)
title: Papers
dates: 1933-2011, undated
extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box)
collection number: RS 13/9/14
repository: University Archives, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information

access: Open for research
publication rights: Consult Head, Special Collections Department
preferred citation: Theodore W. Schultz Papers, RS 13/9/14, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

Theodore William Schultz was born in Arlington, South Dakota on April 30, 1902. He was the oldest of eight children. During the labor shortage of World War I, he sacrificed high school to work on the family farm. Schultz received a bachelor's degree in economics from South Dakota State College in 1926. He then went on to graduate school and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1930.

Schultz began his teaching career after graduation offering classes in agricultural economics at Iowa State College in 1930. He held a variety of positions at Iowa State, including head of the Department of Economic Sociology. He held this position from 1934 until his departure in 1943 when he and several others resigned in protest of the administration's handling of the oleomargarine controversy.

In 1943, Dr. Schultz accepted a position at the University of Chicago, soon becoming department chairman. He became a Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in 1952 and gained emeritus status in 1972 upon his retirement. He remained an active researcher until 1990.

His work on developing the idea of "human capital" and the perception that agriculture was an active contributor to a nation's economic development led to Schultz co-receiving a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979.

Schultz authored several books and edited others during his long career, and he gained worldwide recognition for his investigations into investment in human resources as a means toward economic progress. He won the Francis A. Walker Medal in 1972, which is given only once every five years by the American Economics Association.

Schultz was also active in several prominent organizations, and a fellow to four: The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1956), The American Farm Economic Association (1957), The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1958), and The American Philosophical Society (1962). His long and varied career has also included serving as adviser and consultant to some of the nation's largest foundations, numerous federal agencies, the White House, and branches of the military.

Theodore Schultz married Esther Werth, a native of Frankfort, South Dakota and a graduate of South Dakota State University. They had two daughters, Elaine and Margaret, and one son, T. Paul.

Theodore W. Schultz died February 26, 1998 in Evanston, Illinois.


Collection description

This collection (1933-2011, undated) consists of publications, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and reports. These materials date primarily between 1933 and 1943 and relate to Schultz's tenure as professor of agricultural and industrial economics at Iowa State College (University).

Among these papers are documents concerning Schultz's management of the Department of Economic Sociology, biographical materials, and clippings monitoring Schultz's research and administrative activities, including the 1943 oleomargarine controversy that resulted in his resignation.


Container list







Biographical information








Newspaper clippings




Meeting minutes





1933-1979, undated







Writings about Schultz: "Academic Freedom or Political Maneuvers: Theodore W. Schultz and the Oleomargarine Controversy Revisited" by Paul Burnett


1 8 Writings about Schultz family: "Town and Country Linked Together" 1993