Students of horticulture and agronomy uc davis



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Students of horticulture and agronomy uc davis include all of the founders of the modern science of agriculture and its forebears

Note: For a broader perspective on the history of gardening, agricultural science, and agricultural technology, please read the contents of this paper in its entirety, or request a complete download of the paper (PDF, 162Kb).

For many years, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society had been the most influential American organization of its type. Founded in 1824, it had a long tradition of publishing scientific papers and translations of foreign journals, which were read throughout the country. From 1827 on, the Society sponsored such events as apple fairs, memorial service anniversaries of its own members, and yearly demonstrations of the latest new cultivars. By 1830 it boasted a membership of more than 500, and was involved in the promotion of garden and nurserymen, the cultivation of useful plants, and the promotion of horticulture as a vocation. In the period between 1824 and 1860, the Society sponsored an active program of scientific research, publishing in 1827 its first issues of Transactions. This year also saw the appearance of the first annual reports in horticulture, which began a tradition that the Society continued for the next 40 years. It was from these publications that the first American books of horticultural science were printed in 1848 (by Charles Darwin in his Botany and Geology), 1851 (by Robert Brown), and 1856 (by Carl von Linné in the two volume Theory of Vegetable-Production), as well as the first U.S. edition of Vegetable Physiology by E. J. Mascall in 1858.

Scientific Activities

The contributions of the Horticultural Society were wide-ranging and varied, but in general, its science was no more than an adjunct to horticulture and agriculture. Activities as varied as botany, pathology, phytopathology, agronomy, agriculture, and forestry, as well as taxonomy, history, and cataloguing of species, were all supported. By 1860, the Society had 136 members, of whom most were plant breeders, followed by horticulturalists, nurserymen, gardeners, and farmers. The Society published two national and four regional publications. As early as 1830 it began producing a monthly publication, the California Horticulturist, which published articles on California plants. From 1848 to 1851 it also published an annual orchard and farm journal in the "Horticultural" section, and a four-page monthly bulletin in the "Bulletin" section from 1855 to 1858. The Journal of Horticulture, which began in 1863, was the principal organ of the society, and has continued to be so since that time. It began by publishing selected papers and summaries of books, but became a monthly journal in 1890 and remained so until 1924. The Bulletin began in 1865 as a 10-page single issue, and became a monthly publication in 1866. The Botanical Bulletin started in 1869, the Botanical Review in 1875, the Journal of Forestry in 1888, and the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club in 1891. The Transactions continued, at first, to be annual, but began publishing a "winter edition" in 1890 and have continued to do so ever since.

A compilation of some of the publications of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society was published in 1948, Horticulture, the Other Arts of Flower and Tree Culture (copyright 1948) by Olive H. Hooper and Mary W. Hill. This included a history of the society with a discussion of its publications and the status of horticulture at that time.

The earliest phase of horticultural science began in 18


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