[NAFEX] Researching Agricultural History

Kieran &/or Donna holycow at frontiernet.net
Thu Jun 11 11:39:36 EDT 2009

    I've been doing the same kind of thing here, and it's not easy.  Look up your subject on Worldcat and on Googlebooks.  There are older books from the big horticultural fad in the 1980's that have been scanned online.  After 1900 it seems that the nation's attention turned away from agriculture and horticulture toward machinery, and the farmers were left in a kind of backwater.  There's actually an article put out by a nursery that is archived in a college library in GA titled "Pineapple, the pear that does not blight".  Now I have to twist some arms or something to get a photocopy sent to the local college library (that's how I've done it before, thru TTU staff) so maybe I can find out the origin of the mysterious but formerly well known "Pineapple" pear.  The fact that there is a long brown one and an apple  shaped green one creates a mystery that really needs solving.  Which was the original?  Which the imposter, and where did the imposter come from?  I have the round green variety that matches a 1926 watercolor, and mine come from trees planted in 1903.  But it gets blight.  So maybe the article will explain the origin of the long brown pear under the same name.  Corvallis's pear did not match their historical painting so they removed it when I said I could provide a pear to match it.  But now I wonder if they had the OTHER pineapple pear.  
    Also Megan, if you could find for me the records that Van Fleet had for the parentage of the Orient pear, I would be grateful.  He did the breeding work out in CA, but it was grown and released here in TN.  I suspect Comice parentage, but the TN release says something about his records being confusing.  Hope this helps you, and maybe if you look for the Orient info you'll get some practice.  Some of the very best records are the old ag bulletins, which are mostly available only in hard copy back in the stacks.  These could provide the subject matter for many a Pomona article.  Donna 
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