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Iowa History Daily: July 31 - Thomas Huston Macbride

Iowa History Daily: On July 31, 1848, Thomas Huston Macbride was born. A notable naturalist and botanist, Macbride served as the 10th president of the University of Iowa. Founder of Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Okoboji, Macbride helped shape Iowans’ views on the natural world and public education.

Born in Tennessee, Macbride moved to New London at 9-years old when his abolitionist minister father alienated his congregation. After a brief stint at Lenox College in Hopkinton, Iowa, Macbride graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, in 1878, Macbride arrived at the State University of Iowa.

Working closely with his good friend Samuel Calvin, Macbride contributed immensely to knowledge of Iowa’s natural history. His 1899 book, “North American Slime Moulds,” became a standard text in many college classrooms. In addition to research and later administrative duties, Macbride helped develop the university extension program and lectured in many Iowa towns while promoted the concept of the university as a public service to benefit the citizens of the state.

In 1914, following the resignation of university president John G. Bowman, the university named Macbride acting president, and soon the ‘acting’ title was dropped. He retired from university service in 1916. The Hall of Natural Science, as well as Lake Macbride State Park near Coralville, were named in his honor following his death in 1934. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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