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Identifying the First Generation Leaders in Agricultural Education: The Lost Stimson Manuscript.


The August, 1947 issue of The Agricultural Education Magazine carried an article about the death of Rufus Stimson. An excerpt from the article reads:

At the time of his passing, Doctor Stimson had nearly completed work on a volume which includes biographical sketches of leaders in agricultural education with samples and excerpts from their writings. I have promised Doctor Stimson that I would complete this work. Dr. H. M. Hamlin of the University of Illinois will edit this material (Lathrop, 1947, p. 29).

When I first read this passage in The Agricultural Education Magazine I was mildly puzzled. I had been in the profession for a number of years and had completed graduate work at a leading university, but I had not been exposed to this book. Why didn't I know about this book?

I decided to get the book and read it. This was easier said than done. I could not find a copy of the book. It was not in my university library. Whenever I was on the campus of other universities I would go to the library in an attempt to find the book. The book proved to be elusive. Over a span of years searching university libraries and having conversations with the leaders of the profession, the Stimson book was not to be found. Did this mean the book did not exist or did it mean I had not looked in the right place?

Research Questions

1. Was the Stimson manuscript ever published?

2. If the Stimson manuscript was not published, did it still exist and could it be found?

3. If the Stimson manuscript could be found, who were identified as the early leaders in agricultural education?

Why Is This Important--The Framework

Why is it important to know about the past leaders in agricultural education? Every discipline has a body of knowledge with which professionals in the field should be familiar. This provides individuals a better understanding of the practices and leadership of the field, helps them to appreciate their discipline, and may guide their practice. It is the mark of an educated individual to be aware of the philosophical and historical underpinnings of his/her discipline.

Hirsch (1988) in his landmark book, Cultural Literacy, reinforces this thinking. Hirsch identified 5,000 bits of information that an educated person should know. Just as the general public should possess a degree of cultural literacy, professionals in agricultural education need to know about their past history, including knowing about who our leaders were and what they accomplished. We need to possess AgriCULTURAL Education LITERACY.

In Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education (National Research Council, 1988), the Committee on Agricultural Education in Secondary Schools stated "...that an agriculturally literate person's understanding of the food and fiber system would include its history and its current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans" (p. 8-9). The concept of agricultural literacy framed this research as applied to professionals in agricultural education. We need to know who our early leaders were and what they accomplished.

Priority 1 of the AAAE Research Agenda calls for an understanding of agricultural and natural resources by the public and policy makers (Roberts, T. G., Harder, A. & Brashears, M. T, 2016). The importance of an agriculturally literate person is recognized. Likewise, professionals in agricultural education should be literate in regards to their own discipline.

In the early years of the profession, biographical sketches of the founders and leaders of agricultural education were featured in The Agricultural Education Magazine. In Volume 1, Issue 3 of The Magazine, the editor wrote:

Leadership in agricultural education has not been an easy role. Particularly in the early days were the labors hard and rewards few. Some of our first and ablest leaders have already passed on without having received recognition of their work at all commensurate with its merits. May we deal more fairly with those who survive (Hamlin, 1929, p. 2)!

The first person to be featured in the "Our Leadership in Agricultural Education" feature was Rufus Stimson (Heald, 1929). Stimson was the state supervisor of agricultural education in Massachusetts and established many of the principles and practices in agricultural education that are still in use today. He is known as the father of supervised agricultural experience, advocated for including girls in the FFA, emphasized the importance of teacher training by participating in itinerant teacher training, promoted adult education, advocated for advisory committees, and used task analysis in designing the curriculum (Moore, 1988). Not only was Stimson an early leader, he realized the importance of recognizing and documenting the efforts of other pioneer leaders.

Stimson (unpublished manuscript, N.D.) indicated we need to know about the early leaders "...(1) to record credit where credit is due, in some instances long overdue, and (2) to guide and inspire beginners, and here and there a laggard, to high endeavor...".

Stimson, in a letter (June 24, 1943) to the contributors of the planned book on agricultural education leaders wrote "I am devoutly determined not to fail either you, or the future generations who must depend on such cooperative efforts as ours for reliable records." Stimson had just moved and was physically exhausted at the age of 76 but was committed to documenting the efforts of the first generation of leaders in agricultural education. If the lost manuscript could be found, that would enable Stimson to keep his promise.

Review of Literature

There have been periodic attempts to identify the historically important leaders in agricultural education. The "Our Leadership in Agricultural Education" feature started in The Agricultural Education Magazine in 1929 and continued off and on for decades and featured more than 124 individuals.

It was not hard to be identified as a leader in The Agricultural Education Magazine. Basically, a colleague or friend had to take the initiative to write such an article. There was no set criteria that had to be met for those featured. Publishing biographical sketches of the leaders was a common occurrence up through the 1970s. However virtually no articles about leaders in the profession have been printed in the last few decades.

In 1985 Camp and Crunkilton attempted to identify the top 10 leaders in the profession. Their effort was published in the Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture in an article titled "History of Agricultural Education in America: The Great Individuals and Events." They conducted a Delphi study that involved purposively selected teachers, teacher educators, state supervisors and retirees. A total of 30 individuals from all parts of the country comprised the sample for this research.

The ten individuals identified in the Camp and Crunkilton (1985) study were Ralph Bender, Clarence Bundy, Harold Crawford, Henry Groseclose, Carsie Hammonds, H. M. Hamlin, H. N. Hunsicker, Lloyd Phipps, W. A. Spanton, and A. W. Tenney.

One of the problems in conducting historical research is the factor of time. The more removed an event or individual is from the present, the less likely people are to remember or recognize the significance of that individual or event. Of the 10 individuals in the Camp and Crunkilton study, eight were active in the 1950-1980 era. It appears the respondents probably identified people they personally knew. The first generation leaders may have been overlooked.

More recently (2010) Foor and Connors undertook to identify the pioneers in the field. They conducted an exhaustive search of the existing literature in agricultural education and then identified the individuals they deemed to have been important leaders in the profession. The researchers used their judgement to determine who should be identified. They identified five teacher educators or supervisors (Rufus Stimson, Kary Davis, Walter French, Ashley Storm, and A. W. Nolan). They also identified four high school teachers-Ralph Condee (CA), Carl Howard (WY), Walter Newlin (IL), and Jerome Embser (IL).

In the Foor and Connors study (2010), they relied primarily on biographical sketches published in The Agricultural Education Magazine to select the individuals for inclusion in their list. Selecting nine individuals could be a daunting task when one considers that over 124 biographical sketches have been published over the years in The Agricultural Education Magazine. Someone had to take the initiative to write a biographical sketch and it is possible that some individuals who should have been featured in the Magazine were not.

There have been some random articles focusing on selected agricultural education individuals such as "A Historical Analysis of H. M. Hamlin and the Community School Concept" (Martin, Ball and Connors, 2006).

About the same time Stimson was working on the collaborative effort to identify the leaders in agricultural education, our colleagues in industrial education were doing the same. At the 32nd annual meeting (1941) of the Manual Arts Conference of the Mississippi Valley a committee was appointed to select, publish and distribute a set of portraits of the early leaders of Industrial Arts. The committee selected Calvin Woodard, Charles Richards, Frederick Bonser and Ira Griffith to be recognized (Bawden, 1950).

In 1950, Bawden published a book titled Leaders in Industrial Education. Comprehensive biographical sketches of nine historically important leaders in Industrial Education were featured in this 196 page book. Leaders featured in the book were based on a course Bawden taught at Kansas State University titled "Leaders and Movements in Industrial Education." The leaders identified were Calvin Woodward, Charles Richards, Frederick Bonser, Ira Griffith, John Runkle, Lorenzo Harvey, James Stout, William Roberts and Theodore Struck.

Between 1951 and 1954, as a supplement to the book, Bawden published a series of articles in the Industrial Arts and Vocational Education magazine titled Leaders in Industrial Education. Here, he wrote about other leaders of industrial education. The list included Frank Leavitt, Charles Prosser, David Snedden, Homer Smith, Theodore Struck, Fred Whitcomb, William Hunter, William Noyes, and Arthur Dean.

More recently, there have been two studies looking at the leadership in industrial education. In 1983 Bartow selected a jury of industrial arts scholars (those who had published chapters focusing on history and curriculum in the ACIATE yearbooks in 1978, 1979 or 1981) to identify professionals in the field who had the greatest impact or influence on industrial arts. Bartow asked the respondents to break their responses down by time periods, 1900-1925, 1917-1957, and 1957-1982.

The Bartow study was replicated in 1993 by Kirkwood, Foster and Bartow (1994). In this study, department leaders of all undergraduate technology education programs accredited by NCATE comprised the jury. A 4th time period was established 1985-1993 and the dates of the 3rd time period were adjusted slightly.

When the results of the two studies were combined and compared for the first three time periods a total of 23 individuals were identified. The top three individuals in the combined studies were Dewey, Bonser and Woodward. With the exception of Dewey, this matches up with the Mississippi Valley and Bawden selections.

An article by Foster (1995) titled 'Founders of Industrial Arts in the U.S." recognized Frederick Bonser and Lois Mossman as influential leaders in the field. These individuals were also listed in the Kirkwood, Foster and Bartow (1994) research.

It appears that Industrial Educators and Agricultural Educators have been cognizant of the need to identify the early leaders in their respective fields. A search for research about the leaders of the other career and technical education disciplines found an occasional random article but nothing systematic. If the Stimson manuscript could be located, this might give the profession additional insight into the professional leadership in agricultural education.


The research is basically qualitative and historical; but used a narrative research approach. In his article "Reflections on the Narrative Research Approach", Moen (2006, p. 60) wrote "A narrative is a story that tells a sequence of events that is significant for the narrator or her or his audience." Additional clarification about narrative research is provided by Czarniawska (2004) who wrote "...narrative is understood as a spoken or written text giving an account of an event/action or series of events/actions, chronologically connected (p. 17)." Polkinghorne (1995) described a narrative research study as one in which a researcher collects descriptions of events and happenings and then configures them into a story with a plot.

Regardless of how one labels this research, it is basically historical in nature within a qualitative framework. According to Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, and Sorensen (2006), the intended result of historical research is an "increased understanding of the present (p. 466)." Or as Bawden (1950, p. 1) wrote in the introduction to Leaders in Industrial Education, ".the study of history gives to young men something of the experience of old men."

This historical research effort was different than the typical historical study in agricultural education because the major goal was to find a primary historical document that has been lost for decades and retrieve the information it contained. A typical historical research study in agricultural education often consists of numerous secondary sources but rarely delves into the primary sources. This research focused on finding a primary document and then reporting on it. It took over 10 years to accomplish, consisted of personal and phone interviews with numerous individuals, involved travel to six different states, and required countless hours in libraries and archives (and attics).

As with any historical research, both external criticism and internal criticism are critical concerns. (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Are the documents authentic (external criticism) and is the information in the documents accurate (internal criticism)? In some agricultural education historical research reports, there are 3-4 boilerplate sentences that assert these concerns have been addressed but detail is often lacking. Specific examples of how internal and external criticism were addressed is this study is presented later in this document.


Research Question 1- Was the Stimson Manuscript ever Published?

A multistep process was used to answer this research question. It should be noted this research effort was conducted over numerous years and was initiated before the powerful online tools we now enjoy existed. However, these online tools would not have been of much value. The steps followed in answering this research question were:

1. Contact Vernie Thomas of Interstate Printers and Publishers. At the time Stimson was working on this book Interstate was the predominant publisher of agricultural education books in America. They had published A Handbook on Teaching Vocational Agriculture and most of the other professional books in agricultural education. Mr. Thomas did not find the Stimson book in the inventory of books published by Interstate and even checked the logbook of contracts to see if there might have been a contract to publish the book. Nothing was found.

2. Search university libraries. I personally searched the libraries at the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University and North Carolina State University. If Interstate had not published the book, there was a possibility that it could have been published by another company or been published privately and would be in a university library. The head of agricultural education at Ohio State, W. F. Stewart, had published his Methods of Good Teaching privately in 1950. Perhaps companies just weren't published agricultural education books at that time for some reason and it had been published privately. If it had been published privately, one of these universities might have the book. Nothing was found.

3. Search the Library of Congress holdings. Stimson's earlier book, History of Agricultural Education of Less Than College Grade in the United States, had been published by the U.S. Government in 1942. After Stimson's retirement, he had been employed by the Federal Government as a consultant (for the sum of $1 a year), so it was possible the government had also printed this book about the early leaders of agricultural education. There was no record of this book in the Library of Congress (National Union Catalog) system. If the U.S. Printing Office had printed the book, it would be listed here.

4. Letters to the elder statesmen of the profession. The next step was to send 20 letters to the elder statesmen of the profession asking them if they had seen this book. This letter was sent to people like Phipps, Bender, Binkley, Hemp, Fuller and Annis. Several of them personally knew Stimson. Nearly every person contacted responded. None of them remembered the book.

After these efforts to find the book, it was reluctantly concluded that the book did not exist. The manuscript had never been published. It took years of searching to conclude this.

Research Question 2: If the Stimson manuscript was not published, did it still exist and could it be found?

The focus of the research shifted to a search for the manuscript. The Stimson obituary identified Lathrop and Hamlin as people who would finish the project. Dr. H. M. Hamlin was to edit the final manuscript. It was also possible the manuscript was still in the possession of the Stimson family. The steps involved in answering this research question were:

1. Research the Hamlin connection. Hamlin was deceased but many of his colleagues and graduate students were still alive. People were contacted who had been on the faculty with Hamlin at the University of Illinois or had studied under Hamlin during that era. It was discovered that Dr. J. C. Atherton, a retired professor at LSU had shared an office with Hamlin between 1948 and 1950. A personal interview was arranged with Dr. Atherton. He was absolutely certain that Hamlin had never worked on such a book during that time period.

Information later obtained from the Stimson family led me to conclude that if Hamlin had handled the manuscript, it would have been later than 1950. Therefore, the individual who had shared an office with Hamlin from 1950 to 1952 was identified. This was Dr. Gerald James, a retired university professor in North Carolina. A personal interview was conducted with Dr. James.

He had not seen the manuscript and was positive that he would have known about it if Hamlin had received it.

2. Contact the Stimson family. Jesse Taft, retired state supervisor in Massachusetts, was one of the elder statesmen contacted previously regarding the existence of the book. Mr. Taft responded to the inquiry by sending me a letter that contained the retirement program from Stimson's retirement celebration and a postcard he had received when Stimson retired to Cape Cod. The postcard was printed and showed a picture of the house where Stimson was going to live during his retirement (with his niece) along with brief instructions on how to find the house and a handwritten note to come see him. (see Figure 1)

A trip to Wellfleet on Cape Cod was then planned and executed to see if the house still existed and relatives of Stimson could be located. After some effort the Stimson house was located. Ms. Crooks, Stimson's great niece, had just moved into the old house six days earlier and was cleaning and going through boxes. She had come across numerous items that belonged to Stimson.

Ms. Crooks graciously allowed me to look through the boxes. The first item found was a contract dated August 12, 1944 by Russ Guin, President of Interstate to publish a book titled "Agricultural Career Education Readings" (apparently Stimson had signed the contract but had not returned it to Interstate). There were a number of other documents that provided details about the project. This was the first real proof the manuscript had really existed-but there was no manuscript.

Ms. Crooks vaguely remember running across a letter from a Mr. Lathrop during her cleaning but she had not kept it. There had been a fire in the house in 1969 with substantial water damage. Perhaps the manuscript had been in the fire. Recently a cousin from California had come and cleaned out some old stuff and perhaps it had been thrown away. Ms. Crooks indicated that several boxes of materials including some filing cabinets had been moved out of the house into a relative's garage prior to her moving into the house. Ms. Crooks promised to look for the manuscript there at a later date.

Over the next several months Simson's relatives looked in all the boxes and filing cabinets they could find. Cousin George from California said he hadn't thrown anything like the manuscript away. The family also had a vague recollection of somebody coming to the house long ago and taking away some boxes that belonged to Stimson. It was concluded the manuscript wasn't in Massachusetts.

3. Research the Lathrop Connection.

This left Frank Lathrop in the U.S. Office of Education as the final possible link for finding the manuscript. Lathrop was deceased but Neville Hunsicker, a retired USOE official, had worked with Lathrop. A telephone interview was conducted with Mr. Hunsicker who was in his 80s at the time of the interview. He indicated that Lathrop was very meticulous but slow in getting things done. It was probable that Lathrop had not finished the project.

Hunsicker mentioned that as he was retiring from the U.S. Office of Education in 1979, one of the secretaries was pushing a cart of boxes full of federal vocational education documents and other historical materials down the hall. She had been instructed to clean out some offices and get rid of the old stuff. Mr. Hunsicker intercepted the dump bound load and had it moved to the attic of the FFA center in Alexandria, Virginia along with several of his personal files. He suggested looking there for the manuscript. It might possibly be in one of the boxes.

4. Search the attic of the FFA Center

Sometime later I was allowed access to the attic of the FFA Center. There were hundreds of boxes, filing cabinets and assorted other objects in a major state of disarray in the attic (which is about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide). After three hours of methodically working through the boxes and filing cabinets three cardboard file storage boxes were found with the words Stimson on the spine. A look inside the boxes revealed that the lost Stimson manuscript had, in all probability, been found (see Figure 2).

Authenticity and Accuracy of the Manuscript

Was the document recovered authentic (external criticism)? Was this really the lost Stimson manuscript? Three different checks were used to verify this document was indeed the missing Stimson manuscript.

During the visit to the Stimson house in Massachusetts I was given Stimson's typewriter (along with other artifacts) by his great niece (see Figure 3). One page of the recovered manuscript was retyped on Stimson's typewriter and then compared with the original page. The type was identical, including the slightly misaligned capital C.

The postcard from Jesse Taft had a handwritten note on it from Stimson. This handwriting sample was compared with the editorial comments made by Stimson on the pages of the manuscript. The handwriting was the same.

Finally, a letter addressed to the Honor Roll Nominees and their Sponsors dated March 20, 1943 was in the Stimson materials possessed by his great niece, Ms. Crooks. This letter contained substantial detail about the proposed book and its content. The documents recovered matched the description in the letter. The manuscript was deemed to be authentic and met the external criticism criteria for historical research.

Were the documents recovered accurate (internal criticism)? Stimson was a stickler for accuracy and had two pages of guidelines for the nominees and nominators. Stimson's instructions were that "... each nominee is invited to speak for himself, by listing and dating items in his career which he considers to have been of first importance" (R. W. Stimson, letter to Honor Roll Nominees and their Sponsors, March 20, 1943). The nominator (sponsor) was to add a sentence or two appraising the contributions of the nominee and was to sign the nomination. All of the living individuals checked the accuracy of their biographical sketches. Thus the document was considered to pass the internal criticism test.

Research Question 3-If the Stimson manuscript could be found, who were identified as the early leaders in agricultural education?

There were biographical sketches of 168 early leaders nominated by states along with original photographs of most of these people. Detailed instructions regarding the "Honor Roll" were found along with the biographies. Each state could nominate up to five individuals. The states would identify those who had made significant contributions to agricultural education during the time period of 1621 to 1943. Those nominated must have at least a decade of experience in the field. Each nomination was limited to 20 lines of text. It was desired that those nominated supply their own information, but the sponsor was to sign it.

Of the 168 leaders identified most were typical agricultural educators as we know them. Sixty were teacher educators and 31 were state supervisors. There were 21 federal education or agriculture leaders and 20 administrators of Colleges, Schools and State Departments of Education (see Table 1).

Some of the individuals identified might not be considered to be agricultural educators as we define them. These included education philosophers, authors and publishers, college deans and agricultural scientists. However, at the point in time the document was created, the profession was of the opinion that these individuals had made major contributions to the field of agricultural education and should be recognized. Two females were identified among the leaders-Martha Berry who established a school (known as Berry College) for poor rural students in Georgia and Charlotte Ware who established a dairy school for females in Massachusetts in the early 1900s. Ms. Ware also was the driving force behind establishing the Norfolk County Agricultural School.

There were at least four individuals of color in the Honor Roll. A note written by Stimson addressed to the books intended publisher (Russell Guin) on the George Washington Carver biography states, "In these days of alleged social discrimination in the U.S., I think it would be a good gesture, considering the distinguished public service of Dr. Carver, to give him a full page." A full page was also to be devoted to Booker T. Washington (see Figure 4).

Stimson, Lathrop, and other federal agricultural educational leaders nominated people they deemed should be listed but who had not been nominated by a state. Typically, those thus nominated had risen to national leadership positions, so their impact was more national than state wide. A few states did not nominate any individuals. These following states were missing nominees: Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Utah. At the time of the study Hawaii and Alaska were not states. A number of the early agricultural educators whom we know virtually nothing about today are included in the manuscript. The historical significance of this manuscript defies description. A listing of the identified early leaders are found in Table. 2.

The book in which the biographies were to be featured was to be titled "Agricultural Career Education Readings" and was to have six sections. Section One-the March of Time was a chronological listing of the important dates and events in the history of agricultural education. Section Two was The March of Men and contained the 168 biographical sketches. Section Three was titled The March of Aims and described the philosophy and principles of agriculture education. Section Four was The March of Means and Methods and contained information about such topics as the curriculum, teaching methods, advisory committees and other topics related to implementation of agricultural education programs. Section Five was Obiter Scripta which basically means incidental information, in passing, or miscellaneous information.

Another set of biographies were discovered in Section Five-Obiter Scripta. The Meredith Publishing Company of Des Moines, Iowa published The Agricultural Education Magazine for many years. It was common for the magazine to feature biographies of agriculture teachers, state supervisors, teacher educators and other prominent leaders in agriculture and in education. The "Our Leadership in Agriculture Education" feature was started in 1929. In 1937 Meredith published a stand-alone 45 page booklet featuring 10 prominent educators who had previously been featured in the pages of the magazine. In 1940 Meredith published a 74 page booklet featuring 14 prominent agriculturalists who had been featured in the magazine. These two booklets were published at the request of the editors of The Agricultural Education Magazine. It appears Stimson planned to include their complete biographies in the Honor Roll. However, six of the fourteen agriculturalists had also been nominated by various states. Likewise, five of the ten educators featured in the special booklets had been nominated by various states. Thus, eight agriculturalists and five educators were to be added to the honor roll. These individuals are listed in Table 3 (the individuals featured in the two booklets but were nominated by a state are indicated with a single asterisk in Table 2).

Section Six of the book was written by Rufus Stimson and was titled Sanctions of Common Sense. This is basically Stimson's experiences and life story. This section has been digitized and can be found at Other than Sections Two and Six, the other sections have not been digitized because the information is primarily a huge collection of clippings and previously published materials that might be copyrighted.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The lost Stimson manuscript did exist and was found. This manuscript can serve as a reference for current professionals in agricultural education and graduate students. We can learn about the first generation of agricultural education leaders and identify their contributions to the field. As Stimson stated, this will give recognition to those who deserve it and could serve to motivate current professionals to higher levels of achievement.

The theme for the July 1965 issue of The Agricultural Education Magazine was the Vocational Education Act of 1963. The implications and changes in agricultural education as a result of this act were discussed. Carl Lamar of the University of Kentucky recognized the need for enlightened leadership in implementing the provisions of the 1963 Act. He wrote:

Our early leaders in agricultural education had very few guidelines. They were called on to blaze a new trail and develop a new program. They had the responsibility to develop a new program. They had the responsibility to develop a theoretical foundation for vocational education in agriculture which is essential for any sound program. Theirs was the task to develop a basic philosophy and formulate the aim and objectives to serve as guidelines for program development and evaluation.

If agricultural education, in the emerging era, is to serve the vocational education needs of the agricultural industry as well as it has done so in the era just ended, leaders in agricultural education must acquire the same kind of vision, desire, dedication, and capability that characterized the leaders who have carried us to this point (Lamar, 1966, p. 19).

By studying the lives and accomplishments of the first generation of agricultural educators, we can heed the advice from Lamar and be better prepared to provide leadership for the profession. We need to do a better job in the future.

This research raises several questions for thought.

1. Do we have individuals in agricultural education today who can truly be classified as leaders? Are these individuals actually advancing the profession like the early leaders? There are some who might suggest that we are primarily number crunchers and interviewers. Since research prowess is the coin of the realm at many universities do we just churn out papers and journal articles that are little noticed or read? Are university teacher educators providing the intellectual thought needed to advance agricultural education?

In an article in the Vocational Education Journal in 1966 Hamlin wrote:

It is frustrating to try to get anyone recently trained in research methods in the universities or in research seminars to attempt some of the most needed kinds of research. Their instinct is for the narrow, insignificant problems which lends itself to research and statistical treatments which have recently become hallowed. Are we training researchers or research technicians?" (Hamlin, 1966, p. 14)

Today we might reword Hamlin's last sentence to read are we training leaders for our profession or are we merely training research technicians?

2. Do we utilize the work of educational philosophers, psychologists, and curriculum specialists to inform our practice like the early leaders did? People like Dewey, James, Kilpatrick, Charters, Cubberly, Thorndike and others were identified as early leaders in this research. What type of relationship or knowledge do we have with people outside of the profession today that could contribute to our work? The early leaders in agricultural education embraced them and looked to them for ideas. Many of our early leaders studied under these individuals. We need to expand our circle and look outward.

3. How many college deans, state school superintendents and the like could we recognize as leaders (advocates) for agricultural education today. In the early days, college presidents of institutions such as Harvard and Columbia were strong advocates for and promoted career and technical education. They were identified as leaders in this research. What do we need to do today to get this to happen again?

4. Do we know who our founding fathers were in agricultural education? Shouldn't we? Could we pass a basic test about the early leaders in agricultural education?

5. When future generations in the field look back on today, will you be included in the list of leaders of the profession.


The profession should develop a systematic strategy for documenting the leadership of the profession. Random articles about selected individual will not suffice. We might want to consider replicating the research conducted in Industrial Education by Bartow (1983) and Kirkwood, Foster and Bartow (1994) to identify the leaders by eras. This type of research could easily be replicated in agricultural education.

We might reconsider the strategy employed by Rufus Stimson where each state was asked to nominate five individuals from that state who played a significant role in the development of agricultural education. We should do that immediately to identify the post 1940 era leadership in the profession.

One could also consider restarting a project conducted by the History Committee of the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Video tape interviews of the elder statesmen of the profession were collected. They are now in the process of being digitized and will be hosted at either Oklahoma State University or on the AAAE web site and will be accessible by the public. There are 24 taped interviews. Standards questions were asked of all respondents, one of which was to identify the people in the profession who could be considered leaders of the profession. We have another generation of elder statesmen who need to be interviewed.

Professors should consider having their students prepare reports on the leaders identified by Stimson. The biographies have been digitized and can be accessed at The students could study the leaders in their state or could select those who might be of interest to them. It is one thing to identify the leaders; it is another to study and learn from these leaders.


Action is needed to identify the past leaders of our field. In a letter in 1943 to the contributors of the agricultural educator biographical sketches Stimson apologized for falling behind on the project because of moving and not feeling well. He wrote "I am devoutly determined not to fail either you, or the future generations who must depend upon such cooperative as ours for reliable records." Can future generations of agricultural educators depend upon us to document the early and current leaders in the field?


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Moore, G. E. (1988). The forgotten leader in Agricultural Education: Rufus W. Stimson. The Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 29(3), 50-58. DOI: 10.5032/jaatea.1988.03050

National Research Council. (1988). Understanding agriculture: New directions for education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Roberts, T. G., Harder, A., & Brashears, M. T. (Eds). (2016). American Association for Agricultural Education national research agenda: 2016-2020. Gainesville, FL: Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Gary Moore (1)

(1) Gary Moore is a Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Extension Education at North Carolina State University. He can be reached at 316 Coorsdale Drive, Cary, NC 27511,

Caption: Figure 1. Front and Back of Postcard sent by Stimson to his Friends and Colleagues in 1945

Caption: Figure 2. One of Three Storage Boxes Containing the Stimson Manuscript

Caption: Figure 3. Stimson's Typewriter

Caption: Figure 4. Biographical Information and Photograph of George Washington Carver.
Table 1
Categories of Early Leaders in Agricultural Education

Primary Position                                                N

Agricultural Teacher Educators                                  60

State Level Supervisors of Agricultural Education               31

Federal Education or Federal Agriculture Officials              21

Administrators (College Deans, State Superintendents,           20
School Directors)

Extension Leaders                                               9

Agriculturalists                                                8

Educational Philosophers, Psychologists, Curriculum Experts     7

Other (Journalists, Congressmen, AVA Officials, YMCA Leader)    12

Table 2
Early Leaders Listed in the Stimson Manuscript (1,2)

Person                         Professional Contribution   Nominator

Carver, George Washington      African American                AL
                               Agricultural Scientist

Chestnutt, Samuel Lee          Agricultural Teacher            AL

Moton, Robert Russa            Director of Tuskegee            AL

Pierce, John Baptist           One of the first African        AL
                               American county agents

Washington, Booker T.          Pioneered extension work        AL
                               for African Americans

Holloway, Keith Learning       Agricultural Teacher            AR

Smith, Fred Alfred             State Supervisor of             AR
                               Agricultural Education

Cline, Russell Walter          Agricultural Teacher            AZ

Cullison, James Ralph          State Agricultural              AZ
                               Education Supervisor

Crocheron, B. H.               Extension Director              CA

Cubberly, Elwood Patterson *   Educational Historian           CA

McMahon, Byron John            State Agricultural              CA
                               Education Supervisor

Sutherland, Sidney Sampson     Agricultural Teacher            CA

Schmidt, Gustavus Adolphus     Agricultural Teacher            CO

Davis, Irving Gilman           Head of Agricultural            CT

Gentry, Charles Burt           Agricultural Teacher            CT

Gold, Theodore Sedgwick        Established private ag          CT
                               school, now UCONN

Heim, Raymnd Walter            State Agricultural              DE
                               Education Supervisor

Mowlds, William Lyle           State Agricultural              DE
                               Education Supervisor

Garris, Edward Walter          Agricultural Teacher            FL

Aderhold, Omer Clyde           Agr.Teacher Educator,           GA
                               University President

Berry, Martha McChesney        Founded the Berry School        GA
                               (for poor students)

Chapman, Paul Wilbur           Agriculture Dean, Author        GA
                               of The Greenhand

George, Walter Franklin        U. S. Senator                   GA

Mobley, Mayor Dennis           AVA Official, Teacher           GA
                               Educator and Supervisor

Sheffer, Lafayette Miles       State Agricultural              GA
                               Education Supervisor

Wheeler, John Taylor           Agricultural Teacher            GA

Dennis, Lindley Hoag           AVA Executive Secretary        Heim

Bender, Wilbur H.              Agricultural Teacher            IA

Kildee, Henry Herbert          Dairy Specialist                IA

Lancelot, William H.           Agricultural Teacher            IA

McClelland, John Barnhart      Federal Agricultural            IA
                               Education Official

Morgan, Barton                 Agricultural Teacher            IA

Obye, Charles H.               Pre-Smith-Hughes                IA
                               Agriculture Teacher

Quick, John Herbert            Author of Novels About          IA
                               Vocational Agriculture

Sexauer, Theodore Edward       Agricultural Teacher            IA

Starrak, J. A.                 Agricultural Teacher            IA

Wallace, Henry Agard           Editor of Wallace's             IA

Wallace, Henry Cantwell *      Secretary of Agriculture,       IA
                               US Vice-President

Wilson, Guy M.                 First Head of Ag Ed at          IA
                               Iowa State

Wilson, James                  U.S. Secretary of               IA

Kerr, William                  State Director of               ID
                               Vocational Education

Lattig, Herbert Elmer          Agricultural Teacher            ID

Davenport, Eugene *            Agriculture College Dean        IL

Guin, Russell L.               Major Publisher of              IL
                               Agricultural Education

Hamlin, Herbert McNee          Agricultural Teacher            IL

Hill, James Edward             State Agricultural              IL
                               Education Supervisor

Holden, Perry Greeley          National Leader in Corn         IL

Nolan, Aretas W.               Agricultural Teacher            IL

Gregory, Raymond Williams      Federal Specialist in           IN
                               Agricultural Education

Smith, Z. M.                   4-H leader and state            IN
                               agric. education

Brown, Hale H.                 Agricultural Teacher            KS

Davidson, Allan Park           Agricultural Teacher            KS

Williams, Cyrus Vance          Agricultural Teacher            KS

Hammonds, Carsie               Agricultural Teacher            KY

Woods, Ralph H.                State Director of               KY
                               Agricultural Education

Jackson, Shelby Marion         State Superintendent of         LA

Lee, J. G.                     Agricultural Teacher            LA
                               Educator, Ag College Dean

Crosby, Dick J.                Head of Ag Ed Service in       Lane
                               USDA , 1901-1913

Elam, William Nile             Federal Supervisor, Black    Lathrop
                               Agriculture Teachers

Hollenberg, Alvin H.           Federal Specialist in        Lathrop
                               Agricultural Mechanics

Huslander, Stewart C.          Federal Agricultural         Lathrop
                               Education Specialist

Williams, Arthur Perry         Federal Agricultural         Lathrop
                               Education Official

Allen, Charles Ricketson       Federal T&I Official and        MA
                               Prolific Author

Eliot, Charles William *       President of Harvard            MA

Glavin, John Griffin           State Agricultural              MA
                               Education Supervisor

Hanus, Paul H.                 Harvard Education               MA
                               Professor, Voc. Ed

Hart, William R                Agricultural Teacher            MA

Heald, Franklin Ernest         State Agricultural              MA
                               Education Supervisor

Merrill, Elmer Drew            Director, Arnold                MA
                               Arboretum (Harvard Univ.)

Munson, Willard Anson          State Director of               MA

Orr, William                   Deputy Commission--State        MA
                               Board of Education

Sears, Fred C.                 National Expert in Fruit        MA

Small, Robert Orange           State Director of               MA
                               Vocational Education

Snedden, David                 Sociologist, Early              MA
                               Leader/Advocate for Voc.

Stimson, Rufus                 State Supervisor, Father        MA
                               of the Project Method

Ware, Charlotte Barrell        Established early private       MA
                               dairy school for women

Welles, Winthrop Selden        Agricultural Teacher            MA

Benson, Oscar Herman           National 4-H and Boy        McClelland
                               Scout Leader

BlackwcII, Jefferson Davis     Federal Official,               MD
                               University President

Cotterman, Harold F.           State Agricultural              MD
                               Education Supervisor

Hill, Herbert Staples          Teacher Educator and            ME
                               State Supervisor

Butterfield, Kenyon Leech      Ag College Dean, Country        MI
                               Life Commission

Byram, Harold Moore            Agricultural Teacher            MI

Cook, Glen Charles             Agricultural Teacher            MI

Deyoe, George Percy            Agricultural Teacher            MI

Field, Albert Martin           Agricultural Teacher            MN

Perrin, John L.                State Agricultural              MO
                               Education Supervisor

Goodwin, William Irving        Federal Supervisor of Ag     Monahan
                               Ed for Indians

Martin, Verey Good             Agricultural Teacher            MS

Palmer, Ronald Harry           Agricultural Teacher            MT

Browne, Thomas Everette        Boys Corn Club Leader,          NC
                               State Voc. Ed. Director

Cook, Leon Emory               Agricultural Teacher            NC

Joyner, James Yadkin           State Superintendent of         NC
                               Public Instruction

Poe, Clarence                  Founder and Editor of           NC
                               Progressive Farmer

Thomas, Roy H.                 State Agricultural              NC
                               Education Supervisor

Bradford, Harry E.             Agricultural Teacher            NE

Bridges, Style                 Ag Teacher, Governor,           NH

Howard, Carl Gooch             State Supervisor and            NM
                               Teacher Educator

Wimberly, Frank E.             State Agricultural              NM
                               Education Supervisor

Bailey, Liberty Hyde *         Eminent Botanist, Cornell       NY
                               Ag College Dean

Baker, Hugh Potter             Forestry Professor and          NY

Dewey, John *                  Educational Philosopher         NY

Eaton, Theodore Hildreth       Professor of Rural              NY

Getman, Arthur Kendall         State Agricultural              NY
                               Education Supervision

Graves, Frank Pierrepont *     University President            NY

Hoskins, Edwin R.              Professor of Rural              NY

Howe, Frank William            USDA Proponent of               NY
                               Agricultural Education

Ladd, Carl Edwin               Agricultural College Dean       NY

Mann, Albert Russell           Rural Sociologist, Ag           NY
                               College Dean

Olney, Roy A.                  Agricultural Teacher            NY

Weaver, W. Jack                State Agricultural              NY
                               Education Supervisor

Works, George Alan             Head of Rural Education         NY

Bricker, Garland Amor          Rural Education                 OH

Charters, Werrett Wallace *    Education Dean,                 OH
                               Curriculum Authority

Fife, Ray                      Agricultural Teacher            OH

Graham, Albert B.              Founder of 4-H                  OH

McClarren, Howard              State Supervisor and            OH
                               Teacher Educator

Stewart, Wilbur Filson         Agricultural Teacher            OH

Mcintosh, Daniel Cobb          Agricultural Teacher            OK

Gibson, Heber Howard           Agricultural Teacher            OR

Griffin, Frederick Llewellyn   Agricultural Teacher            OR

Morgan, Ralph Lester           State Agricultural              OR
                               Education Supervisor

Anderson, Clarence Scott       Agricultural Teacher            PA

Broyles, William Anderson      Agricultural Teacher            PA

Brunner, Henry Sherman         Agricultural Teacher            PA

Dickerson, Russell Burton      Agricultural Teacher            PA

Fetterolf, Howard Cleveland    State Agricultural              PA
                               Education Supervisor

Hall, William Franklin         Agricultural Teacher            PA

Martin, Vernor Allen           Assistant State                 PA

Parkison, Harry Glenn          Agricultural Teacher            PA

Watts, Ralph L.                Agricultural College Dean       PA

Austin, Everett Lewis          Agricultural Teacher            RI

Crandall, Will Giles           Agricultural Teacher            SC

Naugher, R, E.                 Federal Specialist in           SC
                               Agricultural Education

Peterson, Verd                 State Agricultural              SC
                               Education Supervisor

Beard, Ward P.                 Federal Education               SD

Wiseman, Clinton Raymond       Agricultural Teacher            SD

Schopmeyer, Clifford H.        U.S.D.A. Agriculture          Shinn
                               Curriculum Specialist

Knapp, Seaman Asahel           Father of the Extension      Stimson

Lathrop, Frank Waldo           Federal Agricultural         Stimson
                               Education Specialist

Legge, Alexander *             President of                 Stimson
                               International Harvester,

Prosser, Charles Allen         Early Leader in Voc.         Stimson
                               Education Legislation

Shinn, Erwin Henry             USDA Specialist for          Stimson
                               Agricultural Education

True, Alfred Charles           USDA, Director of Ag         Stimson
                               Experiment Stations

Wright, J. C.                  Federal Vocational           Stimson
                               Education Official

Fitzgerald, Nugent Edmund      Agricultural Teacher            TN

Davis, Charles Lewis           State Agricultural              TX
                               Education Supervisor

Hayes, Martin Luther           Agricultural Teacher            TX

Rutland, Jesse Blake           State Agricultural              TX
                               Education Supervisor

Wilson, Samuel Calhoun         Agricultural Teacher            TX

Armstrong, Samuel              Founded Hampton Institute       VA
                               for Negroes


Frissell, Hollis Burke         Hampton Institute,              VA
                               Armstrong's Successor

Lancaster, Dabney Stewart      State Superintendent of         VA

Owens, George Washington       NFA Founder, Agricultural       VA
                               Teacher Educator

Webb, Everett Milton           Agricultural Teacher            WA
                               Educator, State

Babcock, Stephen Moulton *     Invented Babcock milk           WI

Hatch, Kirk Lester             Early Extension Leader          WI

Henry, William Arnon *         Worldwide expert on Feeds       WI
                               and Feeding

James, John Ambrose            Agricultural Teacher            WI

Selvig, Conrad George          Two year Ag College             WI

Parsons, Dickson Ward          Agricultural Teacher            WV

Dadison, Samuel Houston        Agricultural Teacher            WY

Hitchcock, Samuel              State Agricultural              WY
                               Education Supervisor

Ruch, Jack Leon                State Agricultural              WY
                               Education Supervisor

(1) In a letter to Stimson dated March 20, 1947 Frank Lathrop
suggested Roy Roberts (AR) and Robert A. Manire (TX) be added to
the honor roll but no biographies were found.

(2) If a person has an asterisk this indicates the person was
nominated by a state AND was also to be featured in another part of
the book. See the information that follows for details.

Table 3
Early Leaders Not Nominated by States but to be Included
in the Honor Roll (1)

Individual                  Contribution

Hopkins, Cyril George       World renown soil scientist
Hunt, Thomas Forsyth        Early Ag College Dean in OH, PA & CA
Inglis, Alexander           Educational Philosopher
James, William              Educational Philosopher
Judd, Charles Hubbard       Educational Philosopher
Kilpatrick, William Heard   Educational Philosopher
McCormick, Cyrus Hall       Invented the Reaper
Pinchot, Gifford            Father of Forestry
Tabor, Louis John           Master of the National Grange
Thorndike, Edward           Educational Psychologist
Warren, George              Farm Management Expert
Whitney, Eli                Invented the Cotton Gin
Whitney, Milton             World Authority on Soil Science

(1) These individuals were found in the two booklets of early
agricultural leaders published by Meredith Publishers in 1937 and
1940. They were not nominated by a specific state by Stimson
chose to include them in the Honor Roll.
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Title Annotation:Rufus Stimson
Author:Moore, Gary
Publication:Journal of Agricultural Education
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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