Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
bgl

BAILEY Jr., Liberty Hyde

Recommended Posts

bgl

Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. was born on March 15th, 1858 in South Haven, Michigan. His father was Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr. who had come from Vermont in 1842. He was a farmer and orchardist and was purported to have more than 300 varieties of apples in his orchard.

The younger Bailey’s parents were married in 1845 and moved to South Haven in 1854 to an 80 acre plot. At three years old, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr., his two brothers and his mother contracted scarlet fever. Ultimately his mother and eldest brother died of the disease. The father remarried in 1862. LHB, Jr. was interested in nature and assisted his family in the garden and the orchard.


In 1877, he entered Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), graduating with a B.Sc. in 1882 (he missed part of 1880 and 1881 due to illness). He was awarded an M.Sc. from Michigan Agricultural College in 1885. (He was awarded [honorary?] doctoral degrees from the Universities of Wisconsin, Alfred, Vermont and Puerto Rico.)


After graduating in 1882, Liberty, Jr. worked as a newspaper reporter. By 1883 he was at Harvard University working with Prof. Asa Gray (America’s pre-eminent botanist of the day). In 1885, he returned to Michigan and established the first Horticulture Department at a college in the United States. He published a paper then stressing the importance of bridging the gap between botany and horticulture (the theoretical and the practical). In 1888, he designed and built the first laboratory for “scientific horticulture” in the U.S.


In 1886 he became interested in photography and took pictures for many of his subsequent publications.


In the winter of 1887 he gave a series of guest lectures at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Later in 1888 he was appointed a professor of General and Experimental Horticulture at Cornell University. However, prior to taking up his post, Cornell sponsored a trip to Europe from August 1888 to early 1889 with his wife and baby daughter to visit “every important herbarium west of Russia including those of Prague, Vienna and Uppsala.”


He was a very active faculty member at Cornell and was deeply involved in promoting agricultural education. He developed Cornell’s first extension program and established an experiment station there. He won over farmers by the publication of bulletins for them, giving lectures and demonstrations and creating farming institutes to meet their needs. He and others made home visits and helped farmers solve problems. Also in 1893 he was a founding member of the Botanical Society of America (still in existence) and served as its president in 1926.


In 1899 he appointed Cornell’s first female professor, Anna Botsford Comstock. In 1903 he was a founder and first president of the American Society of Horticultural Science (also still in existence). In 1904 he got the New York Legislature to establish the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University and he became its second dean. Between 1904 and 1913 he established the departments of plant pathology, agronomy, poultry husbandry, agricultural economics, farm management, experimental plant biology (later called plant breeding), agricultural engineering and home economics!


In 1907 Michigan Agricultural College was celebrating its 50 year anniversary with President Theodore Roosevelt in attendance. Bailey was the main speaker and talked about agricultural and country life and ways to alleviate the current economic crisis. As a result in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt selected Bailey as chairman of the Commission on Country Life. The Final Report was written in 1909-10. This report culminated in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 which established the cooperative extension service, 4-H youth programs, the U.S. Parcel Post system and the beginnings of rural electrification and rural communications systems.


In 1912 the large auditorium on the Cornell University campus was built and named Bailey Hall. At the age of 55 in 1913, Bailey retired from Cornell University. By this time, he had completed his first two 25-year life plans (which he had proposed as a teenager). The first 25 years were for study, the second 25 years were for practicing a vocation. He then embarked on the last 25 year plan doing what he enjoyed most. (He exceeded this third of life by 20 years, dying on December 25th, 1954, at the age of 96.)


In 1925 he was president of the International Botanical Congress which met at Cornell University. In 1926 he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The honors were many and continued throughout his life.


In 1935 he donated his herbarium (a collection of over 125,000 plant specimens) and his library (3,000 books) to Cornell University. He stipulated that this be called an Hortorium – “a repository for things of the garden – a place for the scientific study of garden plants, their documentation, their classification and their naming.” This became the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, with LHB as unpaid director, his daughter Ethel Zoe as curator and Dr. R.T. Clausen as the research taxonomist. Bailey continued in this position until 1951 when the move was made from his home to new facilities in the Agriculture College Library (now Albert R. Mann Library) under the directorship of G.H.M. Lawrence.


Among his many interests was that of plant breeding. He wrote a paper in 1892 entitled “Cross Breeding and Hybridizing” which was followed by a book in 1895 titled Plant Breeding. Both of these publications cited Gregor Mendel’s 1865 and 1869 papers on inheritance in garden peas. The recognition of the importance of these works lay unrecognized until the beginning of the 20th century when the field of genetics was established. Clearly, Liberty Hyde Bailey was a man ahead of his times.


He was a prolific writer and authored 65 books, collectively selling more than a million copies. He edited over 100 books by other authors and published more than 1300 articles. Among his major publications are Cyclopedia of American Horticulture (4 volumes, 1900-1902), The Cyclopedia of American Agriculture (1907-1909), The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture (6 vol., 1914-1917), Hortus (1930), Manual of Cultivated Plants (1924, 1949), and Hortus 2 (1941).


His taxonomic fields of interest included the genera Carex (sedges including 20 papers and one 100 page article), Brassica (cabbages), Vitis (grapes), Cucurbita (squashes, gourds and pumpkins), Rubus (raspberries, blackberries including one 1000 page monograph) and the palm family (45 papers). His physiological research included the growth of plants under electric lights (1889, 1901) and the effect of enhanced levels of carbon dioxide on the growth of plants (1893).


He coined the words “cultigen” and “cultivar.”


Central to his life’s philosophy was the importance of the family and farm life which formed a “natural cooperative unit where everybody had real duties and responsibilities.” He believed that the importance of education could not be underestimated in freeing farmers from “old restraints.”


His concerns for the environment are contained in the following quotation. "If the earth is holy, then the things that grow out of the earth are also holy. They do not belong to man to do with them as he will. Dominion does not carry personal ownership. There are many generations of folk yet to come after us, who will have equal right with us to the products of the globe. It would seem that a divine obligation rests on every soul. Are we to make righteous use of the vast accumulation of knowledge of the planet? If so, we must have a new formulation. The partition of the earth among the millions who live on it is necessarily a question of morals; and a society that is founded on an unmoral partition and use cannot itself be righteous and whole."


During his life he traveled more than 250,000 miles visiting Europe (1888-9, 1909, 1919), New Zealand (1914), South America (1914-1917), China, Japan, Korea (1917-1919), Trinidad and Venezuela (1920-21), Barbados (1922), Jamaica and the Panama Canal Zone (1931), Mexico (1934), Haiti and Santo Domingo (1937), Guadaloupe and Martinique (1938), Oaxaca, Mexico (1940), the Caribbean and South America (1946-47). In 1948 he missed his 90th birthday party because he was collecting plants in the West Indies.


He married Annette Smith in Michigan in 1883. They had two daughters, Sara May born in 1887 and Ethel Zoe born 1889. Ethel Zoe accompanied her father on many collecting trips. His wife died in 1938. His daughter Sara and son-in-law died leaving two children who were then raised by their aunt Ethel Zoe.

Credit: http://www.geraniumsonline.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OldNed

Great article Bo.

I found this note on another term coined by L.H. Bailey that is of particular interest to Palm people:

From PALMS volume 48(1) 2004

By Eric Hsu
10 Red Coach Lane
Holmdel, NJ 07733, USA

Liberty Hyde Bailey: Pioneer of Palm Systematics

"When there was no accepted term to describe a feature,
Bailey aptly would suggest one. He first proposed
the word crownshaft for the tight column of leaf
sheaths at the stem tip of many species, and
explained that that it was composed of lengthened
leaf bases enclosing the terminal bud or apex".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...