New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations in New Brunswick Records
Scope and Content Note
The records of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations in New Brunswick consist of material from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the College Experiment Station. The records date from the period 1889-1962, with the bulk of the material from the period 1916-1933. The records consist of three series: Minutes and Reports, Administrative Files, and Research Notes. The boxes are arranged by series, with folders arranged alphabetically. Correspondence precedes the subject files. The majority of the documents relate to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. However, at times it is difficult to distinguish between the two stations, since the stations overlapped in responsibilities, research experiments, and staff from the establishment of the College Station in 1887 to the merger of the two Agricultural Experiment Stations in 1945.
In the first series, Minutes and Reports, the two bound volumes of Minutes of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations (1918-1934) contain the proceedings of the Council meetings held at the College Farm. These council meetings took place monthly to discuss the business of the station. There existed committees of the Administration, Outside Relations, Building and Grounds, Investigations, Publicity, and a special subcommittee for Ag Field Day held every spring.
The two bound volumes of Reports of Committees of the Agricultural Experiment Station (1918-1933) are the printed reports of individual committees as submitted to the Council. Each report was assigned an "E" number and deals with one committee's discussion of and decision concerning a particular topic. This "E" number would be the cross-reference number that appeared in the Council Minutes. There is one folder of loose items containing the Director's Reports for the College Experiment Station (1904-1912). These are the reports written by Edward B. Voorhees as director of the College Experiment Station, and they deal with the status of the station at that time.
Finally, in the folder of loose items, there are the Minutes of the Cooper Club (1917-1918). The club was housed in the former residence of Drury W. Cooper on George Street in New Brunswick. The club was to provide social rooms and lodging for men interested in agriculture at Rutgers College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1918, the house and land were used for the New Jersey College for Women.
The Administrative Files contain correspondence, memoranda, agreements, leases, and miscellaneous items. The correspondence contains the general concerns of the Experiment Stations, as well as letters from State agricultural associations regarding work at the Station. There is substantial amount of incoming correspondence surrounding the 75th anniversary of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in 1955, and the majority of letters are of a congratulatory nature. There are several agreements between the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the Federal Government; for example, the United States Department of Agriculture. Many projects were on the subject of soil conservation and plant research. There are also agreements on mosquito control experiments.
The Research Notes are mainly those of Dr. Byron Halsted's experiments in bean and pea plants. Byron Halsted came to the Agricultural College Experiment Station in 1889. His area of expertise was botany and plant pathology. Much of his work was in plant breeding. The research notes contained here deal with Halsted's work on bean and pea plants at the College Farm from 1916 until his death in 1918.
1.2 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
The records of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations in New Brunswick consist of material from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the College Experiment Station . The records date from the period 1889-1962, with the bulk of the material from the period 1916-1933. The records are contained in three series: Minutes and Reports, Administrative Files, and Research Notes.
Administrative History of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations in New Brunswick
With the passage of the Morrill Act in 1864, Rutgers College was designated the Land-Grant college for New Jersey. As a land-grant college, it developed the State College for Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts for a scientific program of study, as well as an experimental farm known as the College Farm. This act provided federal aid to colleges through land grants. The college developed courses in civil engineering and mechanics, as well as chemistry and agriculture. George H. Cook, a Rutgers professor, was named Professor of Chemistry and of Theory and Practice of Agriculture in 1862. Much of the early experimentation at the College Farm was in chemical fertilizers for crops of corn, potatoes, wheat, and other crops.
As the decade passed, more experiments were conducted on the College Farm for the benefit of state farmers. Additional aid was sought for these experiments from the State government. In 1880, Cook, with the support of the State Board of Agriculture, succeeded in securing State funds for agriculture experimentation with the passage of legislature establishing the New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Stations.
These New Jersey Stations were governed by a Board of Directors, which consisted of the Governor, the Board of Visitors of the State Agricultural College that was appointed by the Governor, the President, and a Professor of Agriculture. The Board was to appoint a director for the Station, as well as select a primary location and any branch Experiment Stations in the State. The main location for the State Experiment Station was quickly decided upon, and it was the College Farm in New Brunswick. Dr. Cook was selected to be the first director of the College Farm.
The Trustees of Rutgers College offered two rooms in Van Nest Hall to be used for the Experiment Station office and laboratory. In 1887, New Jersey Hall was constructed for the laboratory and offices for the State Experiment Station on Hamilton Street, across from Rutgers Queens Campus. After the turn of the century, many buildings were constructed on the College Farm for use by the Experiment Stations.
In 1887, again with the influence of Dr. Cook, federal legislation was passed for the establishment and support of experiment stations at each State agricultural college. The Hatch Act, as it was called, was accepted by the New Jersey legislature and in March 1887, the Agricultural College Experiment Station at Rutgers Scientific School was established. The act appropriated $15,000 annually to the College Experiment Station for original research on plants and animals, including research on diseases and remedies that affected both; it also included soil analysis, chemicals to aid growth, and, basically, everything of interest to agriculture.
An Experiment Station was also established at New Brunswick, but it was under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers and the State Board of Visitors. At its establishment, Dr. Cook was appointed director to enable coordination between the two stations. The work of one station was to supplement the other's work.
With the death of Dr. Cook in September 1889, the directorship of both Experiment Stations and the Chair of Agriculture all needed to be filled. For over a three-year period, the Stations had a series of acting directors until Edward B. Voorhees' appointment in April 1893. Voorhees was the Director of the State Experiment Station, while the Presidents of Rutgers College became the Directors of the College Experiment Station (Merrill D. Gates from 1889, and Austin Scott from 1891.) It was not until 1896 that Voorhees was appointed as the Director of the College Experiment Station, as well. It was at that time that he also took over the directorship of the College Farm.
To aid the farmers of the whole State of New Jersey, it was decided early in the 1890s to direct Experiment Stations' investigations to those that benefited the most farmers in the State. With Federal funds providing for endowment and maintenance from the Adams Act in 1906, scientific investigation and research into plant breeding, soil chemistry, and bacteriology were furthered at the College Experiment Station. The Station also gave instruction to farmers directly through the Short Courses it offered every year. A weather station was also established at the College Farm.
Jacob G. Lipman succeeded Voorhees as Director of both Experiment Stations in 1911, as he had been working in the Department of Soil Chemistry and Bacteriology at the Station since 1901. Lipman built several new departments at the Stations, including the Extension Program in 1912.
In an effort to reduce excess and redundancy in State funding, the College Agricultural Experiment Station was merged with the State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1945. For years, the Experiment Station and the State Agricultural Experiment Station had been working alongside one another, cooperating on many experiments and agricultural research projects.
The records of the New Jersey Agricultural Stations in New Brunswick are arranged into three series:
- I. Minutes and Reports
- II. Administrative Files
- III. Research Notes.
- Inventory to the Records of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations in New Brunswick, 1889-1962 RG 18/E0
- Edited Full Draft
- Karen A. Detig
- May 1995
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.
- March 23, 2004: ag_station converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163