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During 1890 to 1891, Simpson College, located in Indianola, Iowa was endowed by Matt Simpson, a friend of Abraham Lincoln and an advocate of equal rights for all men. Carver, therefore, was accepted and allowed to attend Simpson College where he completed one year. Carver was one of the first African American students to attend Simpson College

Simpson College in the late 1800s
Photo Curtesy of Simpson College
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FACT: While attending Simpson College Carver created a laundry business to make money while taking classes.


Carver attended Simpson College as a talented artist. There, he met one of his professors named Etta Budd. Professor Budd believed Carver was a talented painter, but she did not think there was much of a future for an African American painter. Because of Carver’s love of nature, Etta Budd talked to an Iowa State agricultural professor who happened to be Etta Budd’s father. She encouraged Carver to transfer to Iowa State because she thought an African American man could have a better career with a science background rather than an art background. Carver took Budd’s advice and transferred to Iowa State because Carver wanted to help African Americans in the south by teaching the southern African Americans the new scientific techniques of the time.

Carver painting at Simpson College
Photo curtesy of the George Washington Carver National Monument

"During my six years in college, her interest in me never waned"

- George Washington Carver about Miss Budd -

"(She) helped me whatever way she could"

- George Washington Carver about Miss Budd -


Family portrait of the Budd family. Miss Etta Budd (bottom center) was Carver’s professor at Simpson College, while her father (middle left) was Carver’s professor at Iowa State.

Photo courtesty of the Special Collections, Parks Library, Iowa State University



Questions: Email Catherine Stewart
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Created on November 19, 2007
Made by Kyle Backman, Rosanna Caponi, Casey Korn and Kayla Snively For His260 at Cornell College