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Department of Horticultural Science records

Identifier: ua-00030

Scope and Content

The collection documents the early history of the department of horticulture from its inception in 1887 under the leadership of Samuel B. Green through the mid-1980s. The collection consists primarily of professional correspondence, as well as nursery ledgers, field notebooks, minutes, publications, reports and photographs. Of particular interest is the correspondence and letterbooks of Samuel B. Green (1898-1907), and early correspondence of E.G. Cheyney (1911-1912), Leroy Cady (1904-1912) and Wyman Elliot (circa 1860-1900). Also included in the collection are early Biological Club manuscripts, a WPA History of Horticulture in Minnesota, miscellaneous diaries collected by Joseph Ball, general alphabetical files (1920-1965), and materials regarding Gamma Sigma Delta (1917-1939).

Because there is an extensive amount of correspondence in several of the sub-series which was sent routinely to the same subjects, folders for these subjects will be found throughout the collection. They have been arranged together intellectually in the finding aid, with box numbers identified after the folder title and date(s).

The collection is arranged into six series: Correspondence, Minutes and Reports, Subject Files, Publications, Photographs and the WPA History of Horticulture in Minnesota.

Series 1, Correspondence (1896-1967), contains divisional and academic staff correspondence with the general public, commercial fruit growers and breeders, and other University departments and experiment stations. The series is divided into 6 subseries: County, consisting of correspondence between the division and county extension agents; Experiment Stations, consisting of correspondence between the division and experiment stations in the University system; general correspondence; United States and International correspondence; Samuel B. Greene letter books and correspondence (1896-1907); and University correspondence, consisting of memos and correspondence between division and other University departments and services.

Series 2, Minutes and Reports (1915-1949, 1984-1987) contains minutes from division committee and faculty meetings, student committees, and topical, travel and project reports.

Series 3, Subjects Files (1887-1967), contains information on fruit and fruit growers associations, professional associations, and departmental concerns, as well as stock accession records and field notebooks on various fruits, vegetables, orchards and gardens. Some subject files include a small amount of correspondence as well as reports, summaries, inventories and notes.

Series 4, Publications (1914, 1927-1977, 2004), consists of division monographs, journal articles, and newsletters.

Series 5, Photographs, includes an album of photographs from the turn of the century featuring planting, growing and harvesting activities in Minnesota. Some locations are identified. Photographs in the series are undated, but most appear to have been taken between 1910 and 1949.

Series 6, The WPA History of Horticulture in Minnesota (1845-1950), consists of original and secondary source materials located by Joseph Ball, a WPA employee. Other WPA materials in the collection were not included in Ball's history, and have been kept in their original arrangement.


  • 1845-1987, 2004


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

During the 1870s and 1880s, courses in horticulture were taught as a part of the agriculture curriculum at the University, and research in horticultural variety testing began at the Agricultural Experiment Station in the 1880s. Samuel B. Green was hired as the first head of the Department of Horticulture within the College of Agriculture in 1888.

The 1888-1889 University Catalogue for the College of Agriculture described the Horticulture curriculum as “relations of heat, light, moisture, and food to plant growth...plant houses, hot beds, etc.; soils and manures, and their manipulations; propagation of plants; grafting, budding, pruning, training, etc.; planting and transplanting…” with cultivation of large and small fruits as well as “kitchen gardening, market gardening, landscape gardening, and floriculture.”

In 1962, the Department’s name was changed to Department of Horticultural Science.

At the May 10, 1974, the Board of Regents meeting, approval was given to change the Department’s name from Department of Horticultural Science to Department of Horticultural Science and Landscape Architecture to “reflect properly the missions of the department to the several fields of horticultural science and to the field of landscape architecture.” The change took effect July 1, 1976.

The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, which had its administrative home within the Institute of Technology, became an independent collegiate unit (College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture) on July 1, 1989. With this administrative change, the landscape architecture program moved to the new college, having previously been a program of both the School of Architecture and the Department of Horticultural Science and Landscape Architecture. In 1989, the Department’s name returned to Department of Horticultural Science within the College of Agriculture.

The Department’s research has covered a variety of topics, including cultivars of apples, chrysanthemums, grapes, and grasses suited to Minnesota’s climate.

Heads of the Division/Department


  1. Samuel B. Green, Head, 1888-1910
  2. LeRoy H. Cady, Acting Head and Chairman, 1910-1916
  3. W.G. Brierly, Chairman, 1916-1920
  4. William H. Alderman, Chief, 1920-1953
  5. Leon C. Snyder, Director, 1953-1962

Horticultural Science

  1. Leon C. Snyder, Director, 1962-1970
  2. Andrew A. Duncan, Head, 1970-1975
  3. Robert E. Nylund, Acting Head, 1975-1976

Horticultural Science and Landscape Architecture

  1. J. L. Ozbun, Head, 1976-1981
  2. Jane McKinnon, Acting Head, 1981-1982
  3. James F. Bartz, Head, 1982-1989

Horticultural Science

  1. John Carter, Acting Head, 1989-1990
  2. Gary Gardner, Head, 1990-2002
  3. Carl Rosen, Interim Head, 2002-2003
  4. Thomas E. Michaels, Chief Administrator, 2003-


43 Cubic Feet (35 (34 record carton; 1 oversize))


Collection documents the early history of the Department of Horticulture from its inception in 1887 through the mid-1980s. Materials consist primarily of professional correspondence, as well as nursery ledgers, field notebooks, minutes, publications, reports and photographs.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives in multiple donations from 1951-1986 and 2008.

Processing Information

This collection was processed with funds provided by the State of Minnesota through the Minnesota Historical Society from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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Department of Horticultural Science records, 1845-1987, 2004
Karen Spilman; revised by Karen Klinkenberg
July 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area