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station comprise dissemination as well as investigation. To bring its experiments before the public, not alone through its annual report, but as well in other ways, is a duty that could not be neglected.
Questions of what should be published, in what form, and the important problems of communication and contact with farmers, between the stations, with the Federal Department of Agriculture, and with other scientific institutions at home and abroad, were important items on the agenda of the early conventions of the Association of LandGrant Colleges. Their analysis in convention led to enduring policies on publication and information, written and spoken by men of great vision—by men like Atwater, Henry, and Cooke. As these men looked to the future, they saw as the result of harnessing science to serve agriculture “the most remarkable period of scientific development the world has yet seen” (19).
EARLY CONVENTIONS EMPHASIZED PUBLICATIONS
The first annual convention of the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations, held in October 1887 following passage of the Hatch Act in 1887, emphasized publications (12). Next to Association matters, its agenda dealt with advisory recommendations for initiating the program. There were four major recommendations, the fourth outlining the following policy on publications:
That the publications of the stations should be entirely separate from those of the college. The quarterly or more frequent bulletins should give their readers the results of experiments as fast as completed, and only as completed, or as distinct chapters are completed. These bulletins should enlarge on those practical points, such as the improvement or restoration of soils, the development of plants and the breeding stock, when suggested by work done, even to the extent of repeating well-known principles and facts when these need to be taught.
Out of the discussions in the executive body of the conventions, later in the section on experiment stations and in the committees, grew publications such as the first Farmers' Bulletin, "The What and Why of Agricultural Experiment Stations, issued in June 1889 (31). Out of them grew “The Agricultural Experiment Stations in the United States," a 636-page documented volume prepared to accompany the Experiment Station Exhibit to the 1900 Paris Exposition (28). Out of them grew recognition of the need for what was known then as Farmers Institutes and what later became cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics.
The Third Annual Convention of the Association of Land-Grant Colleges in 1889 called attention to the need for providing translation and editing of abstracts of European stations. Director Atwater of the Office of Experiment Stations stated that a beginning had been made for this work, that the only impediment had been lack of funds and the necessity for giving priority to the reports of our own stations for which a beginning had been made (1). In September of that year the Office had issued Volume 1, Number 1 of the Experiment Station Record. The design and concept of this publication, which was to have a useful life for 57 years, was largely Director Atwater's and that of his first assistant editor, Dr. A. C. True. The introduction appearing in the first issue (32) outlines this concept clearly:
In pursuance of the plan announced in the introduction to Part 1 of the Digest of Annual Reports of the Agricultural Experiment Stations in the United States for 1888 (Experiment Station Bulletin No. 2), the publication of abstracts of station bulletins of the current year is here begun.
The Digest of Reports for 1888 is intended to include such outlines and details of the station work as will be most useful for permanent record and convenient reference. . . . It is hoped that serious omissions may be supplied in a more detailed digest of station work for 1889. It may be added, however, that without regard to the perplexities imposed on this office, as here indicated, it seems not improbable that the stations will be gradually forced, by circumstances peculiar to themselves, to distinguish between the small and numerous bulletins, issued in large editions for the information of practical farmers, and those full and accurate reports of experiments, with which alone the demands of the scientist can be satisfied, and which are to be stored in libraries as the permanent evidence of the industry and success of the investigators.
Besides the abstracts of station literature, it is proposed to include in the Experiment Station Record brief accounts of the publications and work of this Department and such information for station workers and others interested in agricultural science as may from time to time be deemed advisable. In this number will be found a list of the publications of the Department from January 1 to August 15, 1889, as well as a list of station bulletins received at this office during the same period.
The Experiment Station Record will, if the present plan is carried out, be issued in numbers to be paged continuously and form a volume of six or more numbers for each year. Indexes of names and subjects will be published for each volume.
Publication of the Experiment Station Record was begun in 1889. In that year, also, an Office of Experiment Stations Library was organized. In August 1891, Dr. Atwater resigned his directorship and was succeeded by A. W. Harris, formerly assistant director, and Dr. A. C. True, formerly first assistant editor, became assistant director (33). In 1893, Director Harris resigned to become President of Maine State College. Dr. A. C. True became Director of the Office of Experiment Stations. He announced that the editorial force was being reorganized in the direction of greater specialization of work and that arrangements were being made to give more attention to the bibliography of science (34).
The problems in abstracting scientific reports, indexing them, and making them available for rapid reference by scientists, at the various experiment stations had grown as the experiment stations began issuing individual bulletins and reports on their work. On the evening of November 16, 1892, during the Association's sixth convention, Director Henry of the Wisconsin station called attention to a matter that had been brought before the executive committee. Could not station publications follow a more uniform rule as to numbers?
Director Harris of the Office of Experiment Stations presented a resolution expressing it to be the sense of the convention that publications of the colleges and stations should be named, numbered, and dated according to a uniform method; also that a committee be appointed to devise a uniform system to be made available to member institutions. In the discussions that followed, Director Samuel Johnson of the Connecticut station called attention to the importance, not only of numbering, but of indexing, summarizing, and otherwise facilitating systematic use of publications by other scientists.
Protagonist of the concept that an experiment station was not only a fact-gathering institution but one that by hypothesis and experiment sought to establish new principles that existed in nature, Johnson recognized the significance of documentation in all scientific endeavor. In Johnson's day the principal means of communication in the scientific world was the printed word. Thus was born the idea of the technical agricultural bulletin and the pioneer instrument of American
agricultural documentation in the form of the Experiment Station Record. Johnson's philosophy concerning the abstracting and indexing of these for systematic reference becomes even more meaningful today when the number of research projects and their resulting publications have multiplied thousandfold (35):
The stations ought to furnish every facility, so that the student can readily master the contents of publications. There should be an index on the front page, so that he may see at once what is of the most importance to him. The amount of matter published in this country and in foreign countries is so immense that without every facility placed at the disposal of the student it becomes simply impossible to keep track of them. It is of the utmost importance that every single paper have a special table of contents, unless matter of simple sort, for without that it is difficult to take advantage of the information, however valuable, which is published.
The convention adopted Director Harris' resolution and appointed him to represent the Department of Agriculture on the Committee on Uniformity of Station Publications. Other members appointed were Directors Johnson (Connecticut), Johnson (Wyoming), Henry (Wisconsin), and Redding (Georgia). The Association also, for the first time, named among its officers a Bibliographer-Director Samuel Johnson of Connecticut. The recommendations of this committee were presented before the Association in Chicago the following year (19). They made recommendations regarding format of annual reports, bulletins, and circulars, the latter to be used "for inquiries or the publication of matter not requiring permanent record, and should never be made the sole repositories of matter of scientific or permanent value. Newspaper bulletins should never be made the sole repositories of any information of permanent value.” The recommendation also called "special attention to the remarks of Prof. S. W. Johnson on the preparation of bulletins and reports.". The resolution adopted at the Knoxville convention in 1889 regarding the size of bulletins, annual reports, and format was reaffirmed.
Following acceptance of the recommendations by the Association and referral to the Executive Committee for distribution to member institutions, Dr. A. C. True (19) discussed the nature and purpose of the Experiment Station Record, also of the card index system of experiment station work, for the distribution of which to the stations Congress had authorized funds:
We take the reports of the investigations of the different stations and work them up in a condensed form for the use of other station workers; or we put certain portions of these reports into popular form for general distribution, so that people throughout the country may get information as to what is being done in the different States. Thus far the Office has expanded its energies very largely in publishing documents which are primarily of interest to station workers and others engaged in investigation in agricultural science. Our principal publication, as most of you know, is the Experiment Station Record, which is issued monthly, and contains abstracts of station publications and of publications issued by similar institutions in foreign countries.
In another way we have tried to sum up the work of the stations and put them into the brief form of a card index. This enterprise is in some respects of a kind that has never before been undertaken, and we have met with unexpected difficulties, especially in the way of publication of this work. The classification of the subjects with which agricultural science deals has never been undertaken in the thorough way in which the office has undertaken it. We hope that this index, which in manuscript form now covers all the past work of American stations, will be issued more rapidly, and that soon at least one copy will be found in every college and station library throughout the country, so that those who are interested in such studies may readily find the information they desire.
During the eighth annual convention, President H. H. Goodell of Massachusetts Agricultural College delivered a scholarly talk, “What Is the Mission of the Bulletin ?" (16). Should an experiment station bulletin be technical, popular, or techno-popular? He concluded that he was fast "coming to the opinion that there should be two sets of bulletins.” The ninth annual convention approved a resolution “that
” a committee of three be appointed to confer with the Department of Agriculture with reference to the preparation and publication of a catalogue of literature for the use of teachers and students of agriculture. (17). This Committee on Indexing Agricultural Literature, which included A. C. True of the Office of Experiment Stations, in 1898 presented a suggested scheme of Classification of Agriculture by W. P. Cutter, Librarian of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The scheme was designed to cover agriculture only and to be used with the Dewey system of classification, which had been adopted in the majority of libraries in which classification existed. It was destined to become the system followed by generations of agricultural college students (7), with the Committee on Indexing making refinements reported at subsequent conventions through 1904 (5).
During the ninth annual convention, Director A. C. True succeeded Samuel Johnson as bibliographer of the Association (36). He was thus listed annually in the Proceedings with the officers of the Association through the post-World War I, 32d Convention held in Baltimore, Md., early in January 1919 (10). In that year the Association drew up a new constitution and dropped “and Experiment Stations” from its name and “bibliographer" from its list of officers (11). In the early interest and emphasis on publication and documentation to aid scientists, one can measure, in retrospect, the great influence of the directors on the progress and success of the agricultural experiment stations.
In addition to the Experiment Station Record, issued from 1889 to 1946, the Office published 256 Experiment Station Bulletins, from 1889 to 1913; 118 circulars, 1889–1913; and annual reports on the State Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1896–1960. It also published other related items, including legislation, rules, and regulations pertaining to the Hatch Act and related authorizations. A list of Workers in Subjects Pertaining to Agriculture in the Land-Grant Colleges and Experiment Stations, commenced in 1889, is still published annually.
Numerous changes were to come in the new 20th century. Prominent influences bringing these changes were to be the Adams Act, the Smith-Lever Act, the Purnell Act, the Bankhead-Jones Act, and its later Amendment, all discussed elsewhere in this publication. But primary emphasis on publication and documentation, as conceived by the early leaders like Samuel Johnson and Alfred Charles True, was to dominate the principal activities of the Office of Experiment Stations as a service to the stations for years to come.
Participants in the constructive debates on publications that took place over the years in the Association's conventions included numerous station directors, deans of agricultural colleges, college presidents. Among them were young men who later acquired world renown in the scientific world, for example, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Dean and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Štation, Cornell University, 1903-13. During the 16th annual convention in 1902, Dr. Bailey
presented a scholarly paper on “The Editing of Experiment Station Publications" (2).
Administrative changes during the historic period of the first decade of the 20th century are recorded in other sections and chapters of this publication. As reported in Chapter Five, this was the period when the collective decision was reached that the land-grant institutions required national affiliation in the form of an Association. During this period the research-minded directors helped frame legislation for the Adams Act, putting greater emphasis on original research. With passage of the Adams Act, they created a standing Committee on Experiment Station Organization and Policy. During this period they also recognized clearly the need for demonstration work and the emerging extension services on many land-grant campuses. The station directors were among the original and most dedicated sponsors of cooperative extension work as an arm of the land-grant institution, coordinate with that of the agricultural experiment stations. They pressed vigorously for passage of what became the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. The administrative history of the experiment stations in the early 1900's demonstrates in different ways the dedication of the station leaders to the research ideal; for example, the campaign to prevent the research programs of the Federal Department of Agriculture from eliminating the influence of State stations within their respective jurisdictions; the movement to reduce teaching loads and extension assignments in order to free investigators for research; the periodic movements to win additional Federal funds for research in the State stations, on terms suitable to station spokesmen.
In addition to all these administrative discussions leading to policy decisions, the directors were faced with new publication problems brought on by their own administrative decisions. In the frank debates and recommendations dealing with changes in publication policies, we find mirrored the station group's earnest search for an improved administrative technology, viewed by them as the primary and never-ending vital interest of station personnel. As protagonists
of the concept that the land-grant institutions should nurture scientific research in station form, they consistently fought any influences they felt might encroach on the effectiveness of the stations as scientific institutions. Thereby they sought and continue to seek to guard the future role of the experiment stations.
Before the advent of the Smith-Lever Act, as early as the 23d annual convention of 1909, Dr. A. C. True defined the confusion resulting from too much emphasis on the popular type of station bulletins in these words (27):
At present we have this condition of things: Our station publications as a whole are of such a miscellaneous character that they fully satisfy nobody. Most of them are written with the primary purpose of reaching a large and popular audience, and whether they embody scientific work or not, the effort is made to present the material in such a way as will be acceptable and instructive to the layman, especially the farmer. At the same tin the scientific workers naturally want to present the matter so that it will be acceptable to scientific men. Thus they have in mind as they write these publications the necessities of the scientific presentation of the subject. The result is that they do neither one thing nor the other, and the material is not put in scientific form or in good popular form.
Such reasoning brought approval of ESCOP's recommendation for a JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH. The JOURNAL was to be prepared in the Department of Agriculture under