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Iowa History Daily: January 29 - Iowa's Historian Benjamin Shambaugh

Iowa History Daily: On January 29, 1871, Benjamin Shambaugh was born. The first Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI), Shambaugh helped to turn the organization into one of the leading state historical organizations in the country.

Born as the youngest of seven to a farming couple near Elvira, Clinton County, Iowa, Shambaugh attended country school before eventually finding his way to the Iowa City Academy for two years in order to prepare for college. Shambaugh entered the State University of Iowa (University of Iowa) in 1888. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Shambaugh headed east to the University of Pennsylvania where he completed a PhD in Political Science.

Even before graduating from Penn, Iowa offered Shambaugh the opportunity to return to Iowa City to teach history and political science. Shambaugh helped form a productive partnership between the UI and SHSI. As a member of the SHSI's Board of Curators, he voluntarily assumed the duties of editor and set scholarly standards for the society's publications.

Shambaugh launched the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, a scholarly journal that became a vehicle for publishing policy studies and substantive digests of state legislation. Shambaugh’s concept of ‘applied history’ helped pair historians with purpose, and his work set the foundation of historical study in Iowa and beyond. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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