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

MS 152
Conrad Samson (1918-1991)
Papers, 1983, n.d.

Descriptive summary


Samson, Conrad (1918-1991)




1983, n.d.


0.21 linear ft. (1 half-document box)

collection number:

MS 152


Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

Conrad Samson Papers, MS 152, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

Conrad Samson was born on a farm near Honeyford, North Dakota on May 28, 1918. His parents moved to Iowa in the 1920s. He attended public schools through the ninth grade, which was the extent of his formal education.

His interest in political and economic affairs came from listening to his father. As an isolationist, his father was opposed to the American entry into World War I. This was a mistake which his father believed led to the Great Depression, World War II, and other problems.

Early in his life, Samson was made aware of the importance of private land ownership, a belief which was reinforced by the purchase in 1933 of eighty acres of unimproved land by his father. The work in improving it "seemed to give life [a] direction that it did not have before," Samson wrote. In his adult life he worked as a factory and newspaper production worker as well as a part-time farmer.

Later in his life, Samson promoted his Land Use Tax proposal, which he believed would change the "current system of taxing agricultural land and buildings on the basis of dollar valuation to a system of taxation based on land use." As Samson noted, "...the Land Use proposal had been in my mind for several years. I thought it was a viable solution to the social, economic, and environmental problems being encountered by the family farm in America."

Samson died May 12, 1991.


Collection description

This collection (1983, n.d.) includes correspondence and writings of Conrad Samson.

The correspondence mainly concerns Samson's Land Use Tax proposal. Correspondents include fellow farmers, the South Dakota Rural Project, and journalists who requested copies of his proposal for their use in writing articles. Included also are letters from the Lieutenant Governor, the Office of the Governor, and Iowa's senator, Chuck Grassley.

About half of Samson's writings in this collection are informational pamphlets and papers informing the public about his agricultural Land Use Tax proposal. He includes information about the differences between the current system and his proposed system, reasons why the current systems fail, and statistics about taxes, crops, and costs. He encourages those who support his position to write to their legislators. The rest of the papers are satires by Samson about the government he believes "could be so much and is so little." Through his very pointed humor, he demonstrates the ineffectiveness of government and how the government's rules are restricting the freedoms of farmers and their families. Titles of Samson's writings contained in this collection are: Agricultural Land Use Tax Proposal (pamphlet), Another Day, The Bed Pan Session, The Birth of a Monster, Conrad Samson Land Use Tax Proposal, Land Use Tax, Low Land Taxes – High Unemployment, The New Breed: Genetic Engineering Gone Awry, and Zoning Monster Marches On.


Container list












1980s ca.,