Liberty Hyde Bailey

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Liberty Hyde Bailey
Portrait of Liberty Hyde Bailey.jpg
Born(1858-03-15)March 15, 1858
DiedDecember 25, 1954(1954-12-25) (aged 96)
Alma materMichigan Agricultural College
Awards Veitch Memorial Medal (1897)
Scientific career
Fields Botany
InstitutionsCornell University
Influences Charles Darwin, Asa Gray, Lucy Millington
Author abbrev. (botany) L.H. Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey (March 15, 1858 – December 25, 1954) was an American horticulturist and botanist who was cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science. [1] :10–15 Bailey is credited with being instrumental in starting agricultural extension services, the 4-H movement, the nature study movement, parcel post and rural electrification. He was considered the father of rural sociology and rural journalism.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Horticulture culture of plants, mainly for food, materials, comfort and beauty

Horticulture has been defined as the of agriculture. According to American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, "Horticulture is the growing of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and of plants for ornament and fancy." A more precise definition can be given as "The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental plants as well as many additional services". It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction and maintenance, and arboriculture. In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry.

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science in Alexandria, Virginia is "the largest, most visible organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application."



Born in South Haven, Michigan, as the third son of farmers Liberty Hyde Bailey Sr. and Sarah Harrison Bailey. In 1876 Bailey met Lucy Millington who encouraged his interest in botany and mentored him. [2] [3] Bailey entered the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC, now Michigan State University) in 1878 and graduated in 1882. The next year, he became assistant to the renowned botanist Asa Gray, of Harvard University. This was arranged by a professor at MAC, William James Beal. [4] Bailey spent two years with Gray as his herbarium assistant. [5] [6] The same year, he married Annette Smith, the daughter of a Michigan cattle breeder, whom he met at the Michigan Agricultural College. They had two daughters, Sara May, born in 1887, and Ethel Zoe, born in 1889.

South Haven, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

South Haven is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. Most of the city is in Van Buren County, although a small portion extends into Allegan County. The population was 4,403 at the 2010 census.

Lucy Millington American botanist and writer

Lucy Ann Bishop Millington was an American self-taught botanist known for her discovery of Arceuthobium pusillum, a species of dwarf mistletoe that was damaging trees in New York State.

Michigan State University Public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States

Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU was founded in 1855 and served as a model for land-grant universities later created under the Morrill Act of 1862. The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country's first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has approximately 563,000 living alumni worldwide.

In 1884 Bailey returned to MAC to become professor and chair of the Horticulture and Landscape Gardening Department, establishing the first horticulture department in the country. [7]

In 1888, he moved to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, [8] where he assumed the chair of Practical and Experimental Horticulture. He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1900. [9] He founded the College of Agriculture, and in 1904 he was able to secure public funding. He was dean of what was then known as New York State College of Agriculture from 1903-1913. In 1908, he was appointed Chairman of The National Commission on Country Life by president Theodore Roosevelt. Its 1909 Report called for rebuilding a great agricultural civilization in America. In 1913, he retired to become a private scholar and devote more time to social and political issues. In 1917 he was elected a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. [10]

Cornell University Private Ivy League research university in Upstate New York

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Ithaca, New York City in New York, United States

Ithaca is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca–Tompkins County metropolitan area. This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York, about 45 miles (72 km) south-west of Syracuse. It is named after the Greek island of Ithaca.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences United States honorary society and center for independent policy research

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Founded in 1780, the Academy is dedicated to honoring excellence and leadership, working across disciplines and divides, and advancing the common good.

He edited The Cyclopedia of American Agriculture (1907–09), the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture (1900–02) (continued as the Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture (1916–1919) [11] ) and the Rural Science, Rural Textbook, Gardencraft, and Young Folks Library series of manuals. He was the founding editor of the journals Country Life in America and the Cornell Countryman. He dominated the field of horticultural literature, writing some sixty-five books, which together sold more than a million copies, including scientific works, efforts to explain botany to laypeople, a collection of poetry; edited more than a hundred books by other authors and published at least 1,300 articles and over 100 papers in pure taxonomy. [12] He also coined the words "cultivar", [13] "cultigen", [14] and "indigen". His most significant and lasting contributions were in the botanical study of cultivated plants. Bailey's publisher was George Platt Brett, Sr. of Macmillan Publishers (United States). [15]

Poetry Form of literature

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.

Cultivar plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics

A cultivar is an assemblage of plants selected for desirable characteristics that are maintained during propagation. More generally, a cultivar is the most basic classification category of cultivated plants in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Most cultivars arose in cultivation, but a few are special selections from the wild.

A cultigen is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection. These man-made or anthropogenic plants are, for the most part, plants with commercial value used in horticulture, agriculture or forestry. Because cultigens are defined by their mode of origin and not by where they are growing, plants meeting this definition remain cultigens whether they are naturalised in the wild, deliberately planted in the wild, or growing in cultivation. Cultigens arise in the following ways: selections of variants from the wild or cultivation including vegetative sports ; plants that are the result of plant breeding and selection programs; genetically modified plants ; and graft-chimaeras.


Liberty Hyde Bailey designed mausoleum at Lake View Cemetery, Ithaca, New York. LakeViewCemeteryMausoleum.jpg
Liberty Hyde Bailey designed mausoleum at Lake View Cemetery, Ithaca, New York.

Bailey and his family are interred in a grand Egyptian Revival styled mausoleum of his own design at Lake View Cemetery in Ithaca, New York. [16]

Lake View Cemetery (Ithaca, New York)

Lake View Cemetery is a historic cemetery in the city of Ithaca, in Tompkins County, New York named for its original view of nearby Lake Cayuga.

Rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work

Bailey was one of the first to recognize the overall importance of Gregor Mendel's work. He cited Mendel's 1865 and 1869 papers in the bibliography that accompanied his 1892 paper, "Cross Breeding and Hybridizing." Mendel is mentioned again in the 1895 edition of Bailey's "Plant Breeding." [17] [18] [19]

Agrarian ideology

Liberty Hyde Bailey embraced rural civilization and technological progress simultaneously. The overproduction resulting from technological progress would, however, eventually marginalize agriculture. Dreschkasten raussendorf-crop.jpg
Liberty Hyde Bailey embraced rural civilization and technological progress simultaneously. The overproduction resulting from technological progress would, however, eventually marginalize agriculture.

Bailey represented an agrarianism that stood in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson. He had a vision of suffusing all higher education, including horticulture, with a spirit of public work and integrating "expert knowledge" into a broader context of democratic community action. [20] As a leader of the Country Life Movement, he strove to preserve the American rural civilization, which he thought was a vital and wholesome alternative to the impersonal and corrupting city life. In contrast to other progressive thinkers at the time, he endorsed the family, which, he recognized, played a unique role in socialization. Especially the family farm had a benign influence as a natural cooperative unit where everybody had real duties and responsibilities. The independence it fostered made farmers "a natural correction against organization men, habitual reformers, and extremists". It was necessary to uphold fertility in order to maintain the welfare of future generations. [21]

According to Bailey, the American rural population, however, was backward, ignorant and saddled with inadequate institutions. The key to his reform program was guidance by an educated elite toward a new social order. The Extension System was partly pioneered by Bailey. The grander design of a new rural social structure needed a philosophical vision that could inspire and motivate. For this purpose, he wrote Mother Earth, a "powerful testament to Nature as God and to the farmer as acolyte and collaborator in the process of ongoing creation". It conformed largely to the Freemason creed that Bailey had been brought up with, and it was not explicit in demanding that traditional Christian dogma be discarded. [21]

Bailey's real legacy was, according to Allan C. Carlson, the themes and direction that he gave the new agrarian movement, ideas very different from previous agrarian thought. He saw technological innovation as friendly to the family farm and inevitably resulting in decentralization. He was scornful of the actual forms of peasant life and wanted to transform it by cutting the farmers loose from "the slavery of old restraints". Parochial and communal social groups should be broken down and replaced by "inter–neighborhood" and "inter–community" groups, while new leaders would be called in "who will promote inclusive rather than exclusive sociability." Bailey and his followers held a quasi–religious faith in education by enlightened experts, which meant suppression of inherited ways and substitution by progressive ways. It was accompanied by a corresponding hostility to traditional religion. [21]

Bailey's simultaneous embrace of the rural civilization and of technological progress had been based on a denial of the possibility of overproduction of farm products. When that became a reality in the 1920s, he turned to a "new economics" that would give farmers special treatment. Finally, after desperately toying with Communism, he had to choose between fewer farmers and farm families and restraint on technology or production. He chose to preserve technology rather than the family farms. After this, he retreated from the Country Life movement into scientific study. [21]

Bailey's influence on modern American Agrarianism remains determinative. The inherent contradictions of his ideas have been equally persistent: the tension between real farmers and rural people and the Country Life campaign; difficulties to understand the operative economic forces; the reliance on state schools to safeguard family farms; and hostility to traditional Christian faith. [21]

Tribute to Bailey

He was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1897.

Cornell has memorialized Bailey by dedicating Bailey Hall in his honor. Since 1958 the American Horticultural Society has issued the annual Liberty Hyde Bailey Award. [22] A residence hall in Brody Complex at Michigan State University, and an elementary school in East Lansing, Michigan, were also named after him.

In 1928, a tree ( Sterculia foetida ) dedicated to Bailey was planted at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Campus Arboretum, and is now listed there as an Exceptional Tree. [23]

About 140 years after his birth, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program was created at Michigan State University, the institution of higher learning where Bailey began his career. The Bailey Scholars Program incorporates L.H. Bailey's love of learning and expressive learning styles to provide a space for students to become educated in fields that interest them.

The standard author abbreviation L.H.Bailey is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [24]

Some selected works

Selected articles

See also

Related Research Articles

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a statutory college located on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. With enrollment of approximately 3,100 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students, CALS is the third-largest college of its kind in the United States and the second-largest undergraduate college on the Cornell campus.

Hugo de Vries Dutch botanist

Hugo Marie de Vries was a Dutch botanist and one of the first geneticists. He is known chiefly for suggesting the concept of genes, rediscovering the laws of heredity in the 1890s while apparently unaware of Gregor Mendel's work, for introducing the term "mutation", and for developing a mutation theory of evolution.

<i>Abutilon</i> × <i>hybridum</i> species of plant

Abutilon × hybridum is a species name used for a wide variety of different types flowering plants of uncertain origin in the genus Abutilon. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the name, they are often considered a cultivar group: Abutilon x Hybridum Group or Abutilon Hybridum Group. They are cultigens, not occurring in the wild. As with the larger genus Abutilon generally, they have been referred to by the common names Chinese lantern, and parlour maple.

Rollins Adams Emerson was an American geneticist who rediscovered the laws of inheritance established by Gregor Mendel.

Steven D. Tanksley American biologist

Steven Dale Tanksley is the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Plant Breeding and Biometry and chair of the Genomics Initiative Task Force at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Herbert John Webber American botanist

Herbert John Webber was an American plant physiologist, professor emeritus of sub-tropical horticulture, first director of the University of California Citrus Experiment Station, and the third curator of the University of California Citrus Variety Collection. Webber was the author of several publications on horticulture, member of numerous professional horticultural and agricultural associations.

William James Beal American botanist

William James Beal was an American botanist. He was a pioneer in the development of hybrid corn and the founder of the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden.

<i>Lilium michauxii</i> species of plant

Lilium michauxii, commonly known as the Carolina lily, can be found in the southeastern United States from southern Virginia in the north to the Florida Panhandle in the south to eastern Texas in the west. It is most common in July and August but can be found blooming as late as October. It was named for the French botanist André Michaux, who traveled and did extensive research throughout the Southeast.

Henry Eckford was a Scots horticulturist and reputedly the most famous breeder of sweet peas, transforming the plant from a minor horticultural subject into the queen of annuals. U.S. horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey called him "the prince of specialists". In 1888 he moved to the town of Wem in Shropshire, England. It was in Wem that he perfected the breeding of his Grandiflora sweet peas, which in size of bloom and general performance were a great improvement over previous varieties.

In general usage the word indigen is treated as a variant of the word indigene, meaning a native.

A horticultural flora, also known as a garden flora, is a plant identification aid structured in the same way as a native plants flora. It serves the same purpose: to facilitate plant identification; however, it only includes plants that are under cultivation as ornamental plants growing within the prescribed climate zone or region. Traditionally published in book form, often in several volumes, such floras are increasingly likely to be produced as websites or CD ROMs.

Cultivated plant taxonomy study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity;one part of the study of horticultural botany

Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultivated plant taxonomists do, however, work with all kinds of plants in cultivation.

Johann Bernhard Wilhelm Lindenberg was a German bryologist who worked as a lawyer in Bergedorf.

Alfred Byrd Graf was a German-American botanist who traveled the world in search of obscure plant species, discovering more than 100 previously undocumented varieties. He photographed and documented his findings in a number of richly illustrated books he wrote on the subject.

George Chapman Caldwell was an American chemist, horticulturalist, and instructor.

Liberty Hyde Bailey Birthplace United States historic place

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Birthplace, now the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, is a farmhouse located at 903 Bailey Avenue in South Haven, Michigan, and is significant as the birthplace and childhood home of horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1963 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Ethel Zoe Bailey was a U.S. botanist and the first curator of the Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University from 1935 to 1957. She created the Ethel Z. Bailey Horticultural Catalogue Collection and was the first woman in Ithaca, New York to earn a driver's license.

Harlan Parker Banks was an American paleobotanist and Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor Emeritus in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, known for his studies of Devonian plants. A Fulbright Research Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, he was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Science, and president of the Botanical Society of America. The standard author abbreviation H.P.Banks is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.


  1. Makers of American Botany, Harry Baker Humphrey, Ronald Press Company, Library of Congress Card Number 61-18435
  2. Bailey, Liberty Hyde (1939-01-01). "Lucy Millington". Torreya; a Monthly Journal of Botanical Notes and News. 39: 159–163 via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  3. Kimberley., Tolley, (2014). The Science Education of American Girls : a Historical Perspective. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 116. ISBN   9781135339203. OCLC   876513332.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  4. Dupree, A. Hunter (1988). Asa Gray, American Botanist, Friend of Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 384–385, 388. ISBN   978-0-801-83741-8.
  5. "Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr. (1858-1954) Papers". Harvard University Herbaria. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  6. "Liberty Hyde Bailey Jr. (1858-1954) Papers". Harvard University Herbaria. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  7. "Who Was Liberty Hyde Bailey?".
  8. "Liberty Hyde Bailey" . Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  9. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  10. Banks, Harlan P. (1994). "Liberty Hyde Bailey 1858—1954" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs. 64.
  11. 1 2 Bailey 1919.
  12. "Liberty Hyde Bailey Writings". Cornell University Library. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  13. Bailey, L.H. (1923). Various cultigens, and transfers in nomenclature. Gentes Herb. 1: 113-136
  14. Bailey, L.H. (1918). The indigen and the cultigen. Science ser. 2, 47: 306-308.
  15. Biographic Memoirs V. 64. p. 9.
  17. "The Role of Liberty Hyde Bailey and Hugo de Vries in the Rediscovery of Mendelism," Conway Zirkle, Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Autumn, 1968), pp. 205-218. Here is an excerpt: "De Vries as we have noted, gave three different accounts, and this leads us to Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954). In a letter to Bailey, de Vries stated that he was led to Mendel's work by an item in a bibliography that Bailey had published in 1892. Bailey inserted an excerpt from this letter in a footnote in the later editions of his book, Plant Breeding, a very successful book that went through several editions. De Vries wrote (from the Fourth Edition, 1906, p. 155): Many years ago you had the kindness to send me your article on Cross Breeding and Hybridization of 1892; and I hope it will interest you to know that it was by means of your bibliography therein that I learned some years afterwards of the existence of Mendel's papers, which now are coming to so high credit. Without your aid I fear I should not have found them at all. Some years later (1924), de Vries gave another and different account in a letter he wrote to Roberts....."
  18. Conway Zirkle: "The role of Liberty Hyde Bailey and Hugo de Vries in the rediscovery of Mendelism," The Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 1, No. 2 / September, 1968.
  19. "L.H. Bailey's citations to Gregor Mendel" in: Michael H. MacRoberts, The Journal of Heredity 1984:75(6):500-501. Here's part of the abstract: "L. H. Bailey cited Mendel's 1865 and 1869 papers in the bibliography that accompanied his 1892 paper, Cross-Breeding and Hybridizing, and Mendel is mentioned once in the 1895 edition of Bailey's Plant-Breeding. Bailey also saw a reference to Mendel's 1865 paper in Jackson's Guide to the Literature of Botany. Bailey's 1895 mention of Mendel occurs in a passage he translated from Focke's Die Pflanzen-Mischlinge."
  20. Stephen L. Elkin, Karol Edward Sołtan: Citizen competence and democratic institutions p. 272. Penn State Press, 1999. ISBN   978-0-271-01816-4
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 Allan C Carlson: The New Agrarian Mind Chapter 1 "Toward a New Rural Civilization: Liberty Hyde Bailey"
  22. "Previous Winners: Honoring Horticultural Heroes" . Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  23. "UH Mānoa · Campus Plant Collections". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  24. IPNI.  L.H.Bailey.
  25. "Review of Sketch of the Evolution of our Native Fruits by L. H. Bailey". The Athenæum (3767): 21. 6 January 1900.
  26. Bailey 1906.