The original portion of Iowa State's main library was completed in 1925. In the 1930s it was decided to add some murals designed by none other than Iowa's own celebrity artist Grant Wood. Inspiration came from Daniel Webster's 1840 quote: 'When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.' The resulting murals are quite impressive and depict 19th-century farming practices. Fans of Wood's American Gothic will immediately recognize his style.
Being part of the university, two years were spent on historical research to ensure that the murals would stand up to any scholarly scrutiny.