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Southern Experiment Station records

Identifier: ua00133

Scope and Content

The collection consists of animal, dairy and crop records; conference, meeting and research reports; correspondence; building plans; subject files; and materials relating to the work and life of Robert Hodgson, superintendent of the Southern Experiment Station from 1919 to 1960 and head of the Southern School of Agriculture from 1953 to 1960.

The collection is arranged in to nine series:

  1. Animal Records
  2. Conferences and Meetings
  3. Correspondence
  4. Crop Records
  5. Milk Records
  6. Building and Facilities Plans
  7. Reports
  8. Robert Hodgson
  9. Subject Files

Series 1, Animal Records is divided into three subseries: cattle, sheep and swine. Records contain information concerning birthing and litter size, pedigrees and breeding, disposition of animals at market and sales tables, diseases, feed and nutrition and living conditions.

Series 2, Conferences and Meetings, includes reports from state conferences on subjects such a soils, crops, livestock and seed varietals, as well as committee minutes and reports from standing and ad hoc committees at the experiment station.

Series 3, Correspondence, is organized alphabetically by name and subject. There is one subseries, Equipment Records, which contains correspondence with suppliers, manufacturers and construction companies, and some equipment inventories. The bulk of the series is contained in a run of folders entitled “Miscellaneous”, and these folders are further arranged alphabetically.

Series 4, Crop Records, is arranged in eight subseries: Beets; Corn; Grain; Grass; Legumes; Seeds; Soil; and Soybeans. Records contain information on pests and diseases, soil testing, and planting methods. Much of the information within each subseries is simply labeled “data.”

Series 5, Milk records, contains information on production, sales and storage.

Series 6, Buildings and Facilities Plans, includes narrative and pictorial plans for station buildings, including sheds, labs, barns, greenhouses, superintendent’s residence and classrooms, mainly from the 1960s.

Series 7, Reports, contains annual reports of Station activities, as well as specialized reports on subjects such as fencing, fruit tree planting, and course evaluation.

Series 8, Robert Hodgson, contains speeches, correspondence, publications and articles on subjects such as cows, corn, livestock sales, machinery and buildings and trees. The series also contains personal papers and materials regarding the Agricultural School at the University of Minnesota, of which the Southern Experiment Station was a part of.

Series 9, Subject Files, includes station histories, maps, policies, station tours, weather information, news about public programming, daily memoranda, and miscellaneous subjects

Series 10, Publications, contains program and campus newsletters, 100th anniversary publications.


  • 1913-1973, 1979-1990

Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Access to Materials

This collection is stored at an off-site facility and requires 3-5 business days for retrieval. Email to request access. Do not make travel arrangements or plans to visit Andersen Library without making prior arrangements with University Archives staff.


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

The 1911-1912 University President’s Report explained that “by legislative act in 1911, $35,000 was appropriated for the purpose of establishing a Demonstration and Experiment Farm at Waseca…It is planned to develop the farm along practical lines as a livestock farm…Special attention will be given to the production of corn, oats, and barley for seed. The farm will be made to demonstrate the value of good management, and, so far as possible, practice in farming will be given to those wishing to learn. The superintendent will co-operate with the farmers in the vicinity in the management .of their farms and with the schools and other organized bodies in the development of the agriculture of this section of the State. The farm will be made to serve as a University center for the dissemination of knowledge regarding farm life.”

A committee including representatives from the State of Minnesota and the University selected and purchased 240 acres west and south of Waseca. At their May 6, 1912, meeting, the Regents voted to recommend new official names for all experiment stations under the administrative umbrella of the University’s Department of Agriculture. The facility at Waseca was named the Southeast Demonstration Farm and Experiment Station.

Professor Andrew Boss, Chief of the Division of Agronomy and Farm Management, was responsible for organizing the new Demonstration Farm, and the Farm and Experiment Station began operations in 1913. Albert Hoversten was named the first superintendent.

By 1919, work at the Farm and Station began shifting away from the demonstration concept while experimental work was expanding. At their April 1, 1925, meeting, the Regents voted to approve the recommendation of the Dean of the Department of Agriculture to change the name of the Southeast Demonstration Farm and Experiment Station to the Southeast Experiment Station.

The Legislature authorized a School of Agriculture at Waseca in 1919, but no appropriations were made until 1949. A preliminary plan for the new School of Agriculture was approved at the Board of Regents meeting on April 14, 1950.

At their October 4, 1952, meeting, the Regents voted to re-designate the Southeast Experiment Station as the “Southern Experiment Station, Waseca, Minnesota” and to designate the School of Agriculture as the “Southern School of Agriculture, Waseca, Minnesota.”

The 1952-1954 President’s Report included the following description from the June 19, 1953, dedication of the Southern School of Agriculture, “These facilities…were provided by appropriations of the 1947 and 1949 Legislatures…The new school, serving 38 southern Minnesota counties, opened in the preceding January for men students. Enrollment of women began in the fall of 1953 when facilities were ready for instruction in home economics.” The School offered vocational training at the high school level similar to other University Schools of Agriculture at Morris, Crookston, and Grand Rapids.

The 1952-1954 President’s Report also noted that the principal activity of the Southern Experiment Station was “special breeding work with swine, corn, and soybeans.” And the Station served “as the principal center for study of corn borer resistance and control.”

The 1969 Legislature appropriated planning funds for a Technical College at Waseca. The 1968-1970 President’s Report noted that with the development of the Technical College, which would offer a program to prepare semi-professional graduates for technical areas of agriculture and business, the Southern School of Agriculture program would be phased out. The final academic year of instruction at the School of Agriculture was 1972-1973, and collegiate instruction began in the fall of 1971. The Technical College at Waseca was established as a separate administrative unit from the Southern Experiment Station.

In October 1998, the Educational Planning and Policy Committee of the Board of Regents recommended that branch Experiment Stations change their names to Research and Outreach Centers, and the Board voted unanimously to approve the recommendation at their October 9, 1998, meeting. The Southern Experiment Station became the Southern Research and Outreach Center.

Station Names

  1. Southeast Demonstration Farm and Experiment Station, 1913-1925
  2. Southeast Experiment Station, 1925-1953
  3. Southern School and Experiment Station, 1953-1969
  4. Southern Experiment Station, 1969-1998
  5. Southern Research and Outreach Center, 1998-current

Station Superintendents

  1. Albert Hoversten, 1913-1918
  2. R.E. Hodgson, 1919-1960
  3. Deane A. Turner, 1960-1963
  4. Edward C. Frederick, 1964-1970
  5. Richard H. Anderson, 1970-1990
  6. David D. Walgenbach, 1990-2000


25.4 Cubic Feet (22 boxes (20 record carton; 2 hollingers))


Collection contains the records of the Southern Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota.

Physical Location

Off-site (WBOB)

Source of acquisition

The majority of the collection was deposited in University Archives from 1976-1986.

Related Material in University of Minnesota Archives

Agricultural Experiment Station (St. Paul) records

Southern School of Agriculture (Waseca) records

Waseca Technical College records

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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Southern Experiment Station records, 1913-1973, 1979-1990
Karen Spilman
May 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