Agronomy at Cornell

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The account which follows focuses on the subject matter within the Department of Agronomy as of 1980, namely soils, production of field crops other than vegetables and fruit, and atmospheric science. That combination is unique among universities, and description of its evolution is one of the purposes of this document. In the early years, these subjects were so intimately intertwined with others under the broad identity “Agriculture” that they cannot be separated as discrete areas of endeavor, but as the university developed, their identities emerged. They were organized and reorganized repeatedly under several different departmental structures during subsequent years, often with subjects that are not now included in Agronomy. These are discussed to the extent that they relate to the development of the Department. Work at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, which was a separate institution for many years, is discussed, as that station is now part of the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Cornell.
A list of sources of information is given at the end of the text. Most of the information about aspects of University development has been taken from Colman’s (1963) history. Some references to this work are cited specifically in the text, but much more has been drawn from it. Annual reports of the two experiment stations are major sources. University course announcements have been used to compile lists of course offerings and the faculty in charge. The Cornell University Record has been used extensively. A number of unpublished manuscripts and photograph albums found in extension files of the Department are included in the list. These have been deposited in the University Archives. Certain other sources, such as Department files which are not generally available, are identified in the text and are included in the list. The author has drawn on his personal experience as a member of the faculty from 1942 onward.
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