Famous Iowans

See a full list of famous Iowan's museums and birthplace homes you can visit.


President Herbert Hoover, 31st president
Visit the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library/Museum in West Branch.

Henry A. Wallace, U.S. vice president, U.S. secretary of agriculture, U.S. secretary of commerce and founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred International
The Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center in Orient is his birthplace farmstead.

First Lady Mamie Doud Eisenhower, Wife of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Her birthplace home in Boone is restored and open to the public.

Dr. Norman Borlaug, Founder of the World Food Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s work in agriculture saved hundreds of millions of people from famine and starvation. His boyhood farm in Cresco is undergoing restoration.

George Gallup, American pioneer of public polling techniques
He founded the Gallup Poll. Make an appointment to tour his birthplace and boyhood home in Jefferson.

Carrie Chapman Catt, Suffragist leader
Her efforts resulted in women’s right to vote. Visit her childhood home and museum in Charles City.

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Frontier scout/Wild West showman
See his childhood home in Le Claire.

John Froelich, Inventor
Froelich invested the first successful gasoline tractor able to propel itself backward and forward in 1892. This tractor was the forerunner of John Deere & Company. Visit the Froelich Historic Site in the town of Froelich to learn more.




Natasha Kaiser Brown, Olympic silver medalist - track
From Des Moines, she was a member of the 1992 Olympic silver-medalist 4 x 400 relay team and is currently Drake University’s head track coach.

Bob Feller, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher
Called "The Heater from Van Meter," he played 18 seasons with the Cleveland Indians.

Dan Gable, Olympic gold medalist - wrestling
Learn about his accomplishments and those of other Iowa wrestlers at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo.  

Frank Gotch, World Heavyweight Champion - wrestling
Hailing from Humboldt, Gotch was the first American professional wrestler to win the world heavyweight freestyle championship.

Shawn Johnson, U.S. and world champion and Olympic gold and silver medalist - gymnastics
Learn more about her accomplishments at the Iowa Hall of Pride in Des Moines.

Zach Johnson, PGA golfer/2007 Masters champion
Hails from Cedar Rapids.

Lolo Jones, NCAA and Olympic Trials champion
Celebrated 60-meter hurdler won gold medals in the 2008 and 2010 World Indoor Championships.

Nile Kinnick, Iowa Hawkeye quarterback/1939 Heisman Trophy winner
Grew up in Adel. The University of Iowa team now plays in Kinnick Stadium.

Kurt Warner, Professional football player
Two-time NFL Player of the Year and MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV. The four-time Pro-Bowler was born in Burlington and raised in Cedar Rapids.



American Pickers, Mike Wolfe & Frank Fritz
These lifelong Iowans host a popular series about the search for rare antiques. The show originates from the Antique Archaeology in Le Claire.

Johnny Carson, Late-night television host
His Corning birthplace is open to the public.

Simon Estes, World-renowned opera singer
Estes grew up in Centerville and has thrilled audiences around the globe as a preeminent bass-baritone.

Ashton Kutcher, Actor
Born in Cedar Rapids, Kutcher starred on That ’70s Show and currently stars in Two and a Half Men.

Cloris Leachman, Actress
The Des Moines native has won eight primetime Emmy awards and one Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show.

Glenn Miller, Musician
Big Band leader and popular musician of the Swing Era. Attend the festival in his honor, and visit his birthplace and museum in Clarinda.

Donna Reed, Actress
Academy Award-winning actress and star of It’s a Wonderful Life. See her Oscar and celebrate her legacy in Denison.

Jane Smiley, Author
This Pulitzer Prize-winning author earned her M.F.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa.

John Wayne, Actor
Oscar-winning actor remembered for cowboy and combat-hero roles. Visit his birthplace in Winterset.

Andy Williams, Entertainer
His birthplace in Wall Lake has been restored to reflect the 1930s era.

Meredith Willson, Composer
Composer of the Broadway musical The Music Man. His work is celebrated at The Music Man Square in Mason City.

Elijah Wood, Actor
Movie star and Cedar Rapids native best known for his role as Frodo Baggins in the blockbuster trilogy Lord of the Rings.

Grant Wood, Artist
Leader of the Regionalist art movement and painter of American Gothic. Cedar Rapids is home to several significant sites.