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Early Days of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station

Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1886, the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was located on the 283 acre campus of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC) (later named Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), and today - Virginia Tech).

Station Entomologists - Agricultural Experiment Stations - 1880s

Early station entomologists learned entomology from various teachers, institutions, experience and the like. They were hired in many states when the agricultural experiment station was officially established by the Hatch Act of 1887. They eventually organized, establishing the American Association of Economic Entomologists. That group was the precursor of the current day Entomological Society of America.

The first state agricultural experiment station was established in Connecticut in 1875. Several others were founded in 1888. [The Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in 1886.] Some entomological work was conducted there, but the real impetus to economic entomology in the United States was the Hatch Act of 1887, which resulted in the organization of the State experiment stations throughout the Nation.

 

With the organization of the additional stations in 1888, the demand for trained entomologists far exceeded the supply, and many men were appointed who for one reason or another seemed qualified for the work. The appointments resulted in the development of many who became prominent as economic entomologists. Among those who were appointed as station entomologists in the first few years of the establishment of the State agricultural experiment stations and who became prominent in the science of entomology were:

 

J. M. Aldrich (South Dakota, 1889)

W. B. Alwood (Virginia, 1888)

C. F. Baker (Colorado, 1890)

Lawrence Bruner (Nebraska, 1888)

T. D. A. Cockerell (New Mexico, 1888)

J. H. Comstock (Cornell, 1888)

A. J. Cook (Michigan, 1888)

C. J. Fernald (Massachusetts, 1888)

S. A. Forbes (Illinois, 1888)

C. P. Gillette (Iowa, 1890)

H. A. Gossard (Iowa, 1890)

F. S. Harvey (Maine, 1888)

A. D. Hopkins (West Virginia, 1888)

G. D. Hulst (New Jersey, 1888)

Otto Lugger (Minnesota, 1888)

C. L. Marlatt (Kansas, 1887)

H. A. Morgan (Louisiana, 1889)

E. A. Popenoe (Kansas, 1890)

W. J. Sirrine (New York, 1894)

H. E. Summers (Tennessee, 1888)

C. H. T. Townsend (New Mexico, 1891)

J. Troop (Indiana, 1888)

F. M. Webster (Ohio, 1891)

C. M. Weed (Ohio, 1888)

C. W. Woodworth (Arkansas, 1888)

 

These individuals worked closely with each other and with the federal entomologists under the USDA Bureau of Entomology. Early USDA Entomologists included: C. V. Riley and L. O. Howard. Some of these individuals gained their training working with these two men at USDA as Assistant Entomologists and continued to work with USDA when they started working in the states. They were often referred to as USDA special agents. W. B. Alwood carried this title.

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American Association of Economic Entomologists, 1909

American Association of Economic Entomologists, 1909

 
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