Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Biographical Dictionary of Iowa: Ellison James Orr

Orr, Ellison James
(June 14, 1857 - January 25, 1951)
--farmer, teacher, businessman, naturalist, and archaeologist--is considered, in partnership with Charles R. Keyes, as a founding figure in Iowa archaeology. Orr's careful and prolific documentation of archaeological sites and collections bequeathed a legacy of indispensable descriptive data that continues to inform modern studies.

A self-described "pioneer boy," Orr, a first-generation Iowan, was born in 1857 in his uncle's log house three miles west of McGresloughs, and streams of the family farm near Postville fueled a natural curiosity and kindled a memory for detail about the natural world and pioneer life that stayed with Orr his entire life. Early recollections were documented in various newspaper features, occasionally in publication such as Iowa Bird Life, but most fully in his engaging "Reminiscences of a Pioneer Boy" (1933).

The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, edited by David Hudson, Marvin Bergman, Loren Horton

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