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Stevens, John Cyprian, 1876-1970



  • Existence: 1876-1970


The eldest son of a Seventh Day Adventist preacher, John Cyprian Stevens was born near Moline, Kansas, in 1876 and moved to Knoxville, Iowa, with his family as a child.  Before attending the University of Nebraska in 1900, he worked as a teacher in Iowa and joined the 51st Iowa Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-America War.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1905, the equivalent of a master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1928, and an honorary Engineering doctorate in 1947, all from the University of Nebraska. 

Stevens’ career focused on hydrology.  He was employed by the U.S. Geological Survey from 1902 until 1910 when he began private engineering work. He invented water stage recorders capable of recording long term water level data and early in his career helped establish hydroelectric plants and dams in Spain.  From 1944-1945 he was national president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and he received the Norman Medal, ASCE’s highest award for technical publication, for an article he wrote on siltation behind dams.  Stevens served as president of the Oregon Museum Foundation from 1944-1951.

In 1905 Stevens married Nancy Canning.  Their children were Jane Canning, Martha Elizabeth, Robert John, and Nancy Lou Combs.  Stevens died March 29, 1970.


Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John Cyprian Stevens, Memoirs

Identifier: MS-0172
Scope and Contents

The collection consists of "The autobiography of a civil engineer by John Cyprian Stevens, 1876-1960" written by the University of Nebraska alumnus in 1959-1960. The autobiography spans from his childhood memories to his military service, college days at UNL, his career as an engineer, and much in between.

Dates: 1876-1960