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Edward M. Freeman papers

Identifier: ua-00372

Scope and Content

Edward Freeman’s papers consist of correspondence and memoranda, reports, minutes, radio and hearings transcripts, manuscripts, bulletins and clippings generated between 1910, during the early years of his tenure as head of the Vegetable Pathology Department, to 1943, when he retired as dean of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota.

The collection contains subject matter that points to the two components of Freeman’s work that defined his career: scientific materials concerning his work in plant pathology—specifically wheat rusts and pine blister—and his administrative work in the Department of Agriculture. Plant pathology materials include conference papers, information concerning vegetable quarantines, cereals and grains, and a miscellaneous file on E.C. Stakman. Administrative materials, including reports, correspondence, published and unpublished articles and clippings cover topics such as science teaching methods, speech preparations, the function of the Department of Agriculture with the University system and the role of military training, particularly the compulsory drill, in higher education. The latter is particularly well documented in Freeman’s papers.

Collection dates are 1910-1943, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1920-1939.


  • 1910-1943


Language of Materials

Collection material 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.

Biographical Sketch of Edward M. Freeman (1875-1954)

Edward Monroe Freeman B.S. (1898) and M.S. (1899), University of Minnesota; graduate studies, (1901–1902), Cambridge University; Ph.D. (1905), University of Minnesota. Instructor (1898) Botany and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy; Instructor (1902), assistant professor (1903) Botany; professor (1907), Vegetable Pathology and Botany and chief of the Vegetable (later Plant) Pathology division (1907-1940). Assistant dean, College of Agriculture (1912-1917); acting dean (June – August 1917) of the Department of Agriculture; dean (1917-1943), College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics at the University of Minnesota. Best known for his pioneering work studying cereal rusts.

Edward Freeman was born in St. Paul Minnesota on February 12, 1875. In 1905, Freeman published Minnesota Plant Diseases, the first popular guide to plant diseases in the state. Freeman first worked as an instructor in botany and pharmacognosy at the University of Minnesota in 1898.

After completing his Ph.D. in 1905 and working for two years with Willett M. Hays at the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. on wheat stem rust, Freeman again returned to the University of Minnesota as professor and head of the first plant pathology department in the United States. He united the departments of Vegetable Pathology and Botany into a single administrative unit, and lobbied successfully for the new division to reside in the agriculture college. He advocated for a strong applied component to the study of plant diseases, resulting in the creation of strong ties between the department and the experiment stations, extension and the USDA. As an administrator, Freeman was responsible for the organizational structure of the Department of Agriculture, consisting of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, the Experiment Station division, the Extension division and Short Courses. He was also a key figure in the founding of the Minnesota State Seed Laboratory. Edward Freeman died February 5, 1954.


3.75 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)


Collection contains correspondence and memoranda, reports, minutes, radio and hearings transcripts, manuscripts, bulletins and clippings created and collected by Edward Freeman, professor and dean of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota.

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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Edward M. Freeman papers, 1910-1943
Susan Hoffman and Valerie MacDonald
March 2011
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