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Copyright, 2011, M. J. Weaver. All rights reserved and protected under the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention.

This gallery is dedicated to pioneers of the early agricultural experiment station in Virginia. Much of it currently focuses on those who worked with pest management, because we started with disciplines associated with our own department. Therefore, it is not a comprehensive record. This will change as new information is processed from the archives. Many of these individuals were responsible for saving a fledgling American agricultural industry during the Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914).

W. B. Alwood

William Bradford Alwood was an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture. He was referred to by his peers during his era as father of Virginia horticulture, the savior of the Virginia fruit industry, and a worldwide expert in pomology, viticulture, enology, and pest management. At Virginia Tech he is regarded as the father of our horticulture and pest management disciplines and as one of the University's greatest scientists.

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Walker Bowman

Chemist, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, 1889-1891

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W. S. Hough

Entomologist, employed by the Crop Pest Commission in 1921. He was a leader in fruit pest management research in Virginia.

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H. M. Magruder

Henry Minor Magruder was both a critic and a friend of the newly organized land grant institution in Blacksburg. Over a period of four years he wrote a series of articles in the Southern Planter agricultural journal (1886 to 1890) criticizing the new experiment station at the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. He eventually convinced the state board of agriculture to appoint him as superintendent of the farms at VAMC. His tenure was cut short when he died of a heart attack in June 1891.

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D. O. Nourse, B.S.

Professor of Agriculture

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J. L. Phillips, Jr.

Assistant to W. B. Alwood, Phillips was appointed assistant state entomologist and later state entomologist. Phillips did much work to assist Alwood in managing the San Jose Scale infestation in Virginia.

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Harvey Lee Price

Dean of Agriculture and head of Horticulture during his tenure at VPI, Harvey Price (1874-1951) was trained by W. B. Alwood. Price was a local boy who made good, living in Longshop, Virginia during his years at VPI.

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Robert C. Price

Professor of General Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology

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R. H. Price

Assistant Horticulturist at the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in the 1890s. He resigned his position in 1892.

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W. D. Saunders

Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1890 to 1891, William Dabney "Buttermilk" Saunders was a pioneer of dairy science in Virginia. Professor Saunders' amazing and dedicated career at Virginia Tech spanned two centuries and 55 years.

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W. J. Schoene

William Schoene was the acting director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (1914-16); Virginia State Entomologist from 1914 to 1935. He had the task of enforcing several pest laws that resulted in law suits and a long record of court cases.

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G. W. Underhill

Grover William Underhill (1888- ) was a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech 1918 to 1954. One of the interesting artifacts left to the Virginia Tech Archives was a radio talk entitled "Insect Menace to Log Cabins and Rustic Woodwork" that was given by Underhill on 17 September 1935.

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C. E. Vawter

C.E. Vawter, rector of the Board of Visitors. He was the first to be reappointed in 1890 to two consecutive terms (1889-1900). Vawter and another member of the Executive Committee of the Board, J. Thompson Brown, worked as a very powerful team - they brought a great deal of change to the Institute over the years.

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W. W. Hurt

Secretary to the Agricultural Experiment Station, 1887 to 1891. Appointed Secretary of the Faculty, July 1, 1891.

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VPI Faculty - 1900

From University Archives: Harry Downing Temple Photograph Collection - VPI faculty in 1900.


VAMC Faculty - around 1890

From Alwood Family Archives: Photo taken in 1890 by W. B. Alwood on the porch of Horticultural Hall. This was likely a significant occasion with two members of the Board of Control (BOC) Executive Committee visiting the station - possibly the dedication of the building, which was completed around this time. The Executive Committee was the Institute's administrators - among its members were the President and two BOC members. The visit may have corresponded to appointments made of two people in the photograph, W. D. Saunders (station director) and H. M. Magruder (superintendent). In the photo was David Oliver Nourse, the first station animal scientist (wrote the first station bulletin on animal management); Charles Ellis, DVM, station staff veterinarian (1888-90); J. Thompson Brown, BOV, 1889-1904 (executive committee member and later, rector, 1900-08, 1912-21); C.E. Vawter, rector of BOV - the first to be reappointed in 1890 to two consecutive terms (1889-1900); William D. Saunders, professor of dairy science and head of the experiment station in 1890, and; Henry Magruder*, station superintendent. Brown and Vawter worked as a very powerful team - they brought a great deal of change to the Institute over the years.


*This is a rare photo of Henry Minor Magruder, who was one of the agricultural experiment station's greatest critics until he was appointed by the Virginia Board of Agriculture as superintendent of farms and equipment in December 1890. His was a short tenure as he died of a heart attack in June 1891. Magruder was charged by the Board to travel the state to demonstrate practical solutions to farmers. As such he was credited for doing some of the earliest Extension work in Virginia. Although he must not have had much time in this official capacity, his concept of Extension was planted long before Seaman Knapp persuaded the USDA to initiate the first agents in the states to eventually form the Cooperative Extension Service (which came about officially in 1914). As for practicing Extension methods, W. B. Alwood had been bringing practical solutions to the public since his arrival at VAMC in 1888. The first publicly documented Extension activity by a VAMC faculty member (Alwood) was published in the Charlottesville Chronicle in 1889. The article recorded Alwood's demonstration of the use of Bordeaux mixture to grape growers gathered at the Albemarle County (VA) courthouse square.


VAMC Faculty - 1878-79

From University Archives: 1877-79 - Harry Downing Temple Photograph Collection - Sitting (left to right): President C.L.C. Minor, Charles Martin, M.G. Ellzey, V.E. Shepherd, Gray Carroll. Standing (left to right): J.H. Lane, W.R. Boggs.


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