Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station Records
Scope and Content Note
The records of the Storrs Agricultural Experiement Station provide information on one of the oldest agricultural experiment and research stations in the United States. The records provide substantial information on the early years of the Experiment Station from 1888 to 1920.
The records provide valuable insight into the relations between the station and the farming communities in Connecticut, the interactions between agricultural stations and the relationship of the station to the state and federal government. The records also describe the agricultural problems of the times, the solutions and suggestions that were offered, and many of the farming implements and methods that were used in Connecticut during the period covered by the materials.
The records span the first sixty years of the experiment station's history (1888-1950), but the bulk of the records cover the period from 1888-1920. The majority of the records consist of correspondence to and from the executive and administrative staff of the station and local farmers and business organizations interested in obtaining information about the station's experiments and research findings. Significant correspondents include: W. O. Atwater, W. H. Leslie, F. E. Singleton, Clarence Atkins, Fred Chadwick, C. S. Phelps and W. B. Young. The records also contain detailed records of the station's financial condition from 1888 to 1899. The records do not contain the actual research findings or publications and bulletins of the Experiment Station.
- Majority of material found within 1888-1920
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
The creation of an agricultural experiment station in Connecticut was first suggested by Professor Wilbur Olin Atwater of Wesleyan University in an address before the State Board of Agriculture in December 1873. Due to Atwater's persuasive powers, the Connecticut General Assembly appropriated $5,600 for the establishment of a temporary, two-year experiment station at Wesleyan University. The station, the first of its kind in America, was started in 1875 with Atwater as its director.
In March 1877, the General Assembly granted $5,000 annually for the creation of a permanent agricultural experiment station at Yale University, then the land grant college of Connecticut. The station was established at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale in New Haven. Its first director was Professor Samuel Johnson of Yale.
In March 1877, Congress passed the Hatch Act which authorized to each state a grant of $15,000 for the creation of agricultural experiment stations in connection with the land grant colleges. Both Yale University and the Storrs Agricultural School, created in 1881, claimed the grant as the legitimate land grant college in Connecticut. The Storrs Agricultural School's claim was supported by the Connecticut State Grange. The Connecticut General Assembly settled the dispute by splitting the grant between the two claimants.
The Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station was formally established in April 1888, with Professor W. O. Atwater of Wesleyan University (Class of 1865) as its director. The purpose of the station was to conduct research and experiments to further agricultural progress. The results of investigations were published in the bulletins which were made available to Connecticut residents upon request. The station was directed from Wesleyan University. Field experiements were conducted at the Storrs Agricultural School, while laboratory experiements were conducted at the chemistry lab at Wesleyan University.
The General Assembly finally granted an annual appropriation of $1,800 for the Storrs Experiment Station in 1895. Professor Atwater remained the director until 1903 when he resigned and the station was reorganized under the sole control of the Storrs Agricultural College, completely severing its ties with Wesleyan University.
In 1912, the Connecticut Agricultural School at Yale and the Storrs Experiment Station were joined under the direction of Dr. E. H. Jenkins of Yale. The purpose of this joint directorship was to ensure harmony of purpose and to prevent duplication of effort. Professor Jenkins remained the director of the station until 1922, when he was succeeded by Professor William L. Slate, Jr., a Professor of Agronomy at the Connecticut Agricultural School. Professor Slate served as director until 1949. Members of the Station staff devoted the majority of their time to research while others taught and conducted research depending upon the needs of the Station, In 1925, Congress passed the Purnell Act which granted to Connecticut an annual sum of $60,000 in support of its two experiment stations. The Connecticut Agricultural School specialized primarily in plant work, while the Storrs Experiment Station focused on animal industry.
The achievements of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station during its first fifty years of existence were notable. Investigations were conducted in numerous areas such as poultry disease and breeding, animal parasites, calf-feeding, pasture management and other subjects. The station was the first to describe and classify the bacteria of milk and milk products. It contributed greatly to the knowledge of the role of legumes in soil fertility, helped to establish practices for the feeding and management of dairy cattle and it worked out the correct practices for the incubation of eggs. Measures for controlling stomach worm in sheep were also developed at the Station.
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Language of Materials
The records of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station provide information on one of the oldest agricultural experiment and research stations in the United States. The records provide substantial information on the early years of the Experiment Station from 1888 to 1920. The majority of the records consist of correspondence to and from the executive and administrative staff of the station and local farmers and business organizations interested in obtaining information about the station's experiments and research findings.
The records of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station were given to the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station by the Olin Library of Wesleyan University on 28 June 1966. The records were then transferred to the University of Connecticut Library Special Collections Department. In 1973, the records were removed from Special Collections due to lack of storage space and placed in the College of Agriculture vault.
Provenance and Acquisition
The records were transferred from the College of Agriculture to the University Archives in 1981.
Existence and Location of Copies
The entirety of Series I has been digitized and is available
The following materials have been separated from the records:
List of State Directors of Farmers' Institutes and Farmers' Institute Lecturers of the United States, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Experiment Stations Circular No. 51 Dodd C13312
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- Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2012 July
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