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The Foundation

1887-1905

Work in Horticulture might properly be said to have begun with the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station. The Station was made possible by the passing of the Hatch Act by the Congress of the United States on March 1, 1887, with provision for an appropriation of $15,000 a year for its support. On June 3, 1887, the Pennsylvania Legislature appropriated $3,000 additional for the support of the Station.

With the establishment of the Station, Professor Buckhout was appointed Botanist; and George C. Butz, a graduate of the Class of 1883, majoring in Agriculture, was appointed Horticulturist. Mr. Butz was the first full-time horticulturist since Professor Waring. Members of the Station staff have in most cases also been members of the College faculty, and Mr. Butz was appointed to be Assistant in Horticulture, teaching that subject and Physiology and Zoology. He was advanced to the rank of Assistant Professor in 1892, and to that of Professor of Horticulture in 1903.

Professor Butz served from 1887 until his death in 1907. During the time he seems to have taught much of the work in Horticulture. In 1898 an addition to the staff was J. Plummer Pillsbury, who seems to have taken over some of the teaching responsibilities, as well as aiding in some of the scientific investigations. Although his name was not listed with the College faculty, but only on that of the staff of the Experiment Station, it thought that he taught the work in plant propagation. Professor Buckhout seems to have worked chiefly in the fields of botany and forestry, which then included ornamental trees and nut culture.

Professor Butz also engaged extensively in research. He directed the building of some small greenhouses in connection with the newly erected Botany Building in 1888. In the same year he published the first complete list of ornamental species of plants on the campus, revising it annually. He also studied varieties of small fruits and published several bulletins on the results of his observations. He made studies of the peach and apple industries of Pennsylvania, publishing his observations, and he did work on the culture of ginseng and on disease and insect pests of fruit trees.

Between 1887 and 1907 Horticulture led a hybrid existence. For several years prior to 1896 it was listed in the Division of Botany, Forestry, and Horticulture, which was one of two divisions in the Department of Biology. The other Division was that of Zoology, Entomology, and Physiology.

In 1896 the College was organized into several schools. The Department of Horticulture was placed in the School of Agriculture. However, it was still associated with Botany, which was then placed in the School of Natural Science. Professors Buckhout and Butz were listed on the faculty of both the School of Agriculture and the School of Natural Science. The conception of a department must have been much looser than it is today, as in many instances the faculty of a department consisted of but one or two men.

Until 1907 the faculty of the Department of Horticulture consisted of not more than three men. Professor Buckhout was Professor of Botany and Horticulture until 1908. He also served as acting dean of the School of Agriculture from 1904 until 1907. Professor Butz served as Professor of Horticulture until his death in December, 1907. Mr. J. P. Pillsbury served as Assistant in H┬╣orticulture from 1898 to 1911.

In 1907 John P. Stewart was appointed as Assistant Professor of Horticulture. His work was entirely on research in fruit growing, and he organized cooperative experiments with fruit growers in many parts of the state, besides planting an experimental orchard on College land.

The program of instruction in Horticulture underwent several changes during this period. In 1893 Horticulture was no longer listed as a subject for all students in scientific courses, but was offered only to students in the Course in Agriculture. Work in Horticulture was given during the spring semester of the junior year and fall session of the senior year, and it was optional in the spring session of the senior year.

During this period the School of Agriculture provided for only one curriculum, with a little specialization in the senior year. The number of students was still small; in 1904, only 8 students were enrolled in the upper three classes in the School of Agriculture.

In 1905 Professor Buckhout organized instruction in Forestry, and in 1906 Professor B. E. Fernow was appointed to teach this subject. From this point Forestry has led a separate existence apart from Horticulture, the Department of Forestry being organized in 1907.

With the coming of Dean Thomas F. Hunt in 1907, the School of Agriculture began to undergo a thorough reorganization; in 1908 the Department of Horticulture was reorganized and separated from that of Botany, and both departments were transferred wholly to the School of Agriculture. From this point the Department of Horticulture began its modern existence.