Herman Knapp was born in Vermont on December 28, 1863 to Seaman A. and Maria
Elizabeth Hotchkiss Knapp. In 1867 his family moved to Vinton, Iowa, where his
father became Head of the Iowa College for the Blind. Seaman Knapp as appointed
to head the agriculture program at Iowa State Agricultural College (Iowa State
University ) in 1879, and later became the second President of the College
In 1880, Herman Knapp entered Iowa State College as a freshman. He was appointed
deputy treasurer of Iowa State College on September 23, 1883. In November of
that same year he graduated with a bachelor's in scientific agriculture.
During 1884 Knapp became secretary to the president and agriculture assistant.
He was appointed to assistant professor of agriculture in 1885. November 26,
1885 he married Mary Woodruff McDonald. During 1886 he was placed in charge of
the department of agriculture. For the winter of 1890-91 he was in full charge
of the college farm.
1887 was the year Herman Knapp was appointed as treasurer, registrar, and
superintendent of the college bookstore, in addition to his duty as the director
of agriculture. In 1903 he was appointed purchasing agent and business manager,
dropping his duties as registrar.
During General James Rush Lincoln's absence in 1898 Herman Knapp was placed in
command of the college cadet corps. He became a captain and a major in the Iowa
From 1926-1927 he was acting president of Iowa State College until the
appointment of President R. M. Hughes. The State University of Iowa awarded
Herman Knapp a honorary doctor of laws degree.
July 1, 1933 he relinquished his duties as business manager. Iowa State College
celebrated Herman Knapp Day on November 19, 1933 in honor of his 50 years of
service to the College. At the age of 71 in 1935 Herman Knapp died from heart