Curator, Iowa State Herbarium, 1934-1950
Ada Hayden was the first woman to receive a doctorate at Iowa State College (now called Iowa State University). She was born on August 14, 1884, in rural Ames, the only child of David and Christina Hayden. Dr. Louis Pammel, a professor at Iowa State College, encouraged her to study botany at the college. After receiving her bachelor's degree in 1908, she first became a graduate assistant at the Shaw School of Botany in Missouri, and then, in 1910, obtained a master's degree in botany from Washington University in St. Louis. She returned to Iowa State as both a botany instructor and a graduate student in 1911. Her doctorate was earned in 1918, making her the fourth student, male or female, to obtain a Ph.D. at Iowa State College. Read more
The Ada Hayden Herbarium has the largest collection of Iowa plants and fungi, containing over 600,000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes, fungi, and lichens. Functioning primarily as a research facility important for taxonomic studies (occurrence, distribution, and relationships of plants), it is also used for identifying unknown plants. Specimens are loaned to specialists at other institutions around the world to support research. Loans from other institutions allow our researchers access to other herbaria. Recently, herbaria have become a source of materials to use in molecular studies and to support basic research on biodiversity.