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Robert C. Price

Professor of General Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology

I was born in New Madrid, Missouri, where the first six years of my life were spent.  In 1875, I came to Charlottesville, Virginia.  Was appointed a student of the Miller manual labor school of Albemarle in October, 1878.  From that institution, I graduated in July, 1885, and entered the University of Virginia the following October, where I spent two regular sessions, devoting myself to the study of general, industrial, analytical and agricultural chemistry, geology, mineralogy, French and junior mathematics. The summer of 1886 I devoted to special work in chemistry, under the guidance of Dr. J. W. Mallet.

After graduating at the University in 1887, I remained for nearly two months after the session closed, to complete an investigation, the results of which were published in the American Chemical Journal.
After that I accepted a position with S. P. Maury, at the time a civil and [X] engineer in San Antonio, Texas.
In September, 1888, was appointed instructor in chemistry, geology and [X] in the Miller manual labor school.  I resigned my position there in the spring of 1890, and in July, 1890, was elected to my present position.

Besides the time mentioned which I spent as a student at the University of Virginia, I devoted my summer of 1889 and 1890, respectively, to post graduate work in chemistry, under the guidance of Dr. J. W. Mallet.

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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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