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School of Agriculture records

Identifier: ua00343

Scope and Contents

The School of Agriculture records contain historical documentation on the creation of the school on the St. Paul campus, correspondence, documentation on associated clubs through the School, and the School of Agriculture Alumni material.

Additional bound material include the School of Agriculture’s yearbook and newsletters, including The Senior and The Agrarian yearbooks and AgReview monthly newsletter from University Farm School in St. Paul. A bulk of the material include physical scrapbooks created by alumni, photographs and textiles and ephemera, including pennants, patches, beanies, uniforms, and sweaters.


The School of Agriculture records consist of correspondence, scrapbooks, administrative material, Alumni Association and other committee meeting minutes, club record books, programming, records of student projects and yearbooks, photographs and pennants, textiles and ephemera from the School of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, also known as University Farm.


  • Creation: 1854-2018


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

In 1886, the University of Minnesota took the initiative to offer a two-year program for male students to further their education in “practical duties of the farm and work-shop” on the Experimental Farm (1). It was proposed that the School of Agriculture would educate students on “Arithmetic and its applications, bookkeeping, penmanship, and composition, practical mensuration, land surveying and leveling, botany, chemistry, elementary physiology, and veterinary science” (1). The School of Agriculture opened on October 18, 1888, on the University Farm. Under the direction of the Principal, W. W. Pendergast, and Assistant Principal, Henry W. Brewster (2). The School was also administered under the College of Agriculture(3). By the 1890-1891 school year, the two-year program was extended to three years in order to include courses with dedicated time in the green houses, forestry, veterinary clinics and to learn further on civics and farm law (3). Additional training included military drill, and was included in attendees’ schedules as early as 1890 (4). A summer school option was available to women by the late 1890s, but with a successful addition of a women’s dormitory, the School of Agriculture began accepting women into their program to further train in “practical farm life and in domestic economy” (5) by 1897. The number of girls enrolled in that first year was 32 (6). Over the course of the next thirty years, the School of Agriculture continued to grow, both physically on the St. Paul campus, but also in attendance. This included the expansion and opening of 4 additional branches. The Crookston location opened in 1905 (8), the Morris location opened in 1911 (9), the Grand Rapids location opened in 1926 (10) and the Waseca location opened in 1953 (11). By the late 1930s, the School of Agriculture also developed its purpose and promoted itself as a “vocational agricultural school”(7). During the meeting of the Board of Regents on May 12, 1960, members voted to “authorize the beginning of a four-quarter Technical Certificate Program in Agriculture in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics in place of the present St. Paul School of Agriculture” (12). This was effective for the academic year of 1960-1961, and at that time, the School of Agriculture ceased.

School of Agriculture Principals and Superintendents

  1. Warren W. Pendergast; Principal; 1888-1893
  2. Henry W. Brewster; Acting Principal and Principal; 1893-1900
  3. Frederick D. Tucker; Principal; 1900-1903
  4. Dexter D. Mayne; Principal; 1903-1929
  5. J.O. Christianson; Acting Principal, Principal, Superintendent; 1930-1960


51.25 Cubic Feet (58 boxes (32 record cartons; 25 flat boxes and 1 hollinger))

Language of Materials




The collection was arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: History, 1854-1976
  • Series 2: Club Files, 1890-1960
  • Series 3: Correspondence, 1890-1988; 2016-2018
  • Series 4: Reports, 1920-1953
  • Series 5: Student Projects, 1924-1958
  • Series 6: Administrative and Program Material, 1890-1977
  • Series 7: Publications, 1910-1981
  • Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1904-2001
  • Series 9: Pennants, Textiles and Ephemera, 1904-1977
  • Series 10: Coffey Hall Exhibit Material, 1890-1960
  • Series 11: School of Agriculture Alumni Association, 1890-1971
  • Series 12: Film and Audio, 1957-1998
  • Series 13: Photographs and Artwork, 1890-1989

Source of acquisition

The collection was transferred to University Archives from 1953 to 1981. The collection was transferred to University Archives from 1953 to 1981. An additional accession was donated in the Summer of 2023.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Morris Archives

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 in 2005.

Additional processing of new material was completed in the Fall of 2023.

School of Agriculture records, 1854-2018
Archives staff; updated by Karen Spilman
updated June 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • December 2010: EAD updated by Valerie MacDonald and Karen Spilman. Collection processed as part of legacy grant.
  • August-November 2023: Additional material added and description updated by Katelyn Morken

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area