E.S. (Edgar Sharp) McFadden Papers
3.78 linear feet (9 document cases)
Name of Creator(s)
McFadden, E. S. (Edgar Sharp), 1891-1956
South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections
Hilton M. Briggs Library (SBL) Room 241, Box 2115
1300 North Campus Drive, Brookings, SD 57007
Open. This material does not circulate and may be used in-house only.
Name of item, MA 53, box #, folder #, E.S. (Edgar Sharp) McFadden Papers, South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.
Edgar Sharp McFadden (1891-1956) South Dakotan and graduate of South Dakota State University who developed rust resistant varieties of wheat that lead to saving the lives of millions of people from starvation. He was in the United States Army during World War I and spent most of his career working for the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. The collection consists of materials relating to his work with research and production of small grains such as wheat, oats, and flax, and in particular the development of Hope Wheat. In addition, the collection contains biographical information about McFadden and his writings and speeches.
Edgar Sharp McFadden was born to James Edgar and Beatrice (Stocking) McFadden on February 3, 1891 in Day County, South Dakota. James E. McFadden came to South Dakota in 1882 to homestead and built a granary-dwelling house combination on his land.
In 1903, James E. McFadden was severely injured when he was gored by a bull. This put the burden of the 1904 spring planting onto Edgar McFadden when he was only thirteen years old. In addition to the regular planting of wheat that year, Edgar S. McFadden planted a small plot with seeds he had selected in 1903 from a few completely beardless wheat plants. He wanted to see if he could develop better grain. McFadden’s first crop, including the small plot, was ruined by black stem rust.
In the winter of 1908-1909, the McFadden’s left South Dakota and moved to the West Pecos area in Texas where Edgar went into the cattle ranching business in partnership with his father. Over the next three summers, Edgar S. McFadden followed the wheat harvest from Texas to their homestead in South Dakota, and then north and east into the Red River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota. At this time, he observed that wheat rust started in the south and moved north.
In 1911, Edgar S. McFadden began taking courses in the School of Agriculture at South Dakota State College (SDSC), completing the program in 1914. He began as a freshman at SDSC in the fall of the same year. In 1916, agronomy professor Manley Champlin encouraged McFadden to plant wheat in a small plot of land behind the boarding house where he lived as a student in Brookings. He hoped to transfer the disease resistance of Yaroslav emmer to Marquis, a common bread wheat. While a student at SDSC, McFadden also worked as an assistant in the SDSC agronomy laboratory and in the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station test plots (1913-1917). He received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from SDSC on March 1, 1918.
Following his graduation, McFadden went to work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a field assistant at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Highmore, South Dakota where he continued his research to develop rust-resistant wheat. During World War I, McFadden joined the United States Army and served from May 25, 1918 to February 25, 1919. Following his military service, he returned to work for the USDA at the Highmore Experiment Station. After completing cereal experiments for the SDSC agronomy department in June 1920, he returned to his farm near Webster in Day County, South Dakota.
He continued his wheat breeding experiments on the land that his parents had homesteaded, and he farmed for a living from September 1, 1920 to February 28, 1929. After his crops were destroyed by drought in 1921, hailed out in 1922, and rusted out in 1923, he mortgaged the farm in order to continue working on his wheat breeding research. During this time McFadden developed the Hope and H44 varieties of rust-resistant wheat.
McFadden returned to work for the USDA on March 1, 1929 as an Associate Agronomist stationed in Redfield, South Dakota and also worked for the USDA at University Farm in St. Paul, Minnesota. He held that position until 1935, when he accepted a position with the USDA and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In Texas, McFadden continued his research with wheat and other small grains, including oats, barely, and flax.
Edgar S. McFadden is best known for his work developing Hope wheat which is the parent of numerous disease-resistant varieties. He is credited with saving at least 25 million people from starvation, and an estimated $400 million during World War II.
During his career, McFadden was awarded numerous honors and accolades including an honorary doctor of science degree from South Dakota State College (1950), the Reader’s Digest award for meritorious contributions to public welfare (1946), the American Agricultural Editors’ Award for outstanding service to American agriculture and country life (1947), and the Progressive Farmer man-of-the-year award (1950). He also received the USDA distinguished service award (1949), a citation of merit from the Texas Chemurgic Council (1947), and honored by the American Agricultural Education Association (1945) for outstanding service. Prior to his death, McFadden received the prestigious John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium (1955). In 1966, a granite memorial to McFadden was erected in Webster, South Dakota.
In 1918, McFadden married Mabel Blakeslee. They had two daughters, Carol and Phyllis, and a son, James.
Edgar S. McFadden passed away at his home in College Station, Texas on January 5, 1956.
CONTENT and ARRANGEMENT
The collection is organized into series.
- Awards, Honors, and Memberships
- Biographical Materials
- Collected Material Relating to McFadden's Work
- Hope Wheat and Other Varieties
- McFadden's Writings and Speeches
Awards, Honors, and Memberships
This series contains information on E.S. McFadden’s memberships to various professional and honorary societies including the American Genetic Association and Sigma Xi. Materials regarding the numerous awards and honors presented to McFadden are also part of this series.
This series consist of biographies, newspaper clippings, family information, photographs, and obituaries and memorials. There is also an interview with McFadden during the Texas State Fair and material regarding the movie Waves of Green about McFadden and his work. In addition, documents relating to McFadden’s service in the United States Army during World War I can be found in this series.
Collected Material Relating to McFadden's Work
This series includes articles and other documents written about McFadden’s research regarding plant pathology of small grain crops in particular his work with wheat.
The correspondence series contains letters with colleagues and on various topics including polio and his objection to the United States becoming involved in World War II.
Hope Wheat and Other Varieties
This series consists of documents relating to McFadden’s development and sale of wheat varieties between 1925 and 1933. Testimonials are included in the series are regarding the wheat and registration certificates for Hope Wheat and Webster Wheat.
McFadden's Writings and Speeches
This series includes various articles and speeches McFadden had done during his career. Of interest is his essay entitled My Aim in Coming to College written in 1914, his article regarding Wheat-Rye Hybrids in the Journal of Heredity (1917), the Genome Approach in Radical Wheat Breeding published in the Journal of the American Society of Agronomy (1947), and an undated essay labeled Hope Wheat: the Boyhood Dream of Disease Resistant Wheat. Other items in this series include speeches and articles regarding wheat and wheat breeding, development and production of small grains such as flax and oats, and heredity.
The research series consists of McFadden’s field notebooks from 1916 through 1951, spanning his career in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Texas. The notebooks detail his work not only with varieties of wheat, but also oats, barley, and flax.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.
Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.
South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.
Related Archival Materials
Edgar S. McFadden Collection, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Brookings, South Dakota.
Norman E. Borlaug papers. UA-01014. Archives and Special Collections, Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Rockefeller Foundation records
Edgar S. McFadden collection on the Digital Library of South Dakota.
McFadden, Edgar A. Wheat-Rye Hybrids. Journal of Heredity 8, no. 7, (July 1917): 335
Champlin, Manley, and E. S. McFadden. Acme Wheat / [Manley Champlin and Edgar McFadden]. In Bulletin / South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station ; No. 194, -356. Brookings, S.D. : Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, 1921.
McFadden, E.S. A Successful Transfer of Emmer Characters to Vulgare Wheat. Journal of the American Society of Agronomy 22, no. 12 (December 1930): 1020–34.
McFadden, E.S. Brown Necrosis, a Discoloration Associated With Rust Infection in Certain Rust-Resistant Wheats. Journal of Agricultural Research 58, no. 11 (June 1, 1939)
McFadden, E. S., and E. R. Sears. The Origin of Triticum Spelta and Its Free-Threshing Hexaploid Relatives. Journal of Heredity 37, no. 4, (April 1946): 107–116
Erickson, A. W., and Edgar Sharp McFadden. McFadden’s Hope : Fighting Plant Breeders Win Battle for Bread. [Minneapolis, MN : Field Notes Crop Reporting Service], 1945.
Atkins, Irvin Milburn, and E. S. McFadden. Oat Production in Texas / I.M. Atkins and E.S. McFadden. In Bulletin / Texas Agricultural Experiment Station ; No. 691. College Station, Tex. : Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, 1947.
McFadden, E.S., and E.R. Sears. The Genome Approach in Radical Wheat Breeding. Journal of the American Society of Agronomy 39, no. 11 (November 1947): 1011–26.
- McFadden, E. S. (Edgar Sharp), 1891-1956– Archives
- Agricultural innovations
- Agriculturists – United States – History
- Agronomists – South Dakota
- Agronomists – Texas
- Barley – Research
- Flax – Research
- Oats – Research
- Research notes
- South Dakota – Day County
- South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts
- South Dakota State University – Alumni and alumnae
- Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
- United States. Department of Agriculture
- Wheat – Breeding
- Wheat Disease and pest resistance
- Wheat – Field Experiments
- Wheat – Research
- Wheat – Research – South Dakota
- Wheat – Research – Texas
- Wheat rusts
- Wheat – Seeds
- Wheat – South Dakota.
- World War 1, 1914-1918
Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the SDSU Archives and Special Collections.
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||1||Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas Students' Certificate of Appreciation||1947|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||2||American Agricultural Editors' Association National Award Certificate||1948|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||3||American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow Certificate||1951|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||4||American Genetic Association Membership Certificate||1917|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||5||American Legion Membership Card||1928|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||6||American Society of Agronomy Fellow Certificate||1948|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||7||Boy Scouts of America Membership Cards||1931-1938|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||8||Distinguished Service Award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)||1949|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||9||John Scott Medal - Nomination Materials||1947-1956|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||10||Kiwanis Club Membership||1952|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||11||McFadden Appreciation Day in Webster, South Dakota, October 17, 1947||1947|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||12||Sigma Xi Membership Certificate||1952|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||13||South Dakota State College, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science - Correspondence||1950|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||14||Texas Chemurgic Council Certificate of Recognition||1947|
|Awards, Honors, Memberships||1||15||Twenty Years of Service in the USDA Certificate||1948|
|Biographical Materials||1||17||Biography Written by Caroline Blakeslee (McFadden's Mother-in-Law)||undated|
|Biographical Materials||1||18||Civil Service Scientific Assistant Examination Report||1918|
|Biographical Materials||1||19||County Agent Handbook||1919|
|Biographical Materials||1||20||Dates and Events in the Life of Edgar McFadden||undated|
|Biographical Materials||1||21||Edgar S. McFadden Symposium||2014|
|Biographical Materials||1||22||Exhibit about McFadden at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum||1971|
|Biographical Materials||1||23||Film about McFadden, Waves of Green, publicity||1949|
|Biographical Materials||1||24||Interview with McFadden at Texas A&M College System Day at the Texas State Fair, October 17, 1948||1948|
|Biographical Materials||1||27||McFadden Chronology and Family Information||2013|
|Biographical Materials||1||29||McFadden Seed Farm||1926-1927, undated|
|Biographical Materials||1||26||McFadden, Beatrice (McFadden's Mother)||1934|
|Biographical Materials||1||28||McFadden, Mabel (McFadden's Wife)||1974-1976|
|Biographical Materials||2||1||Military Service Booklets and Newspaper Clippings||1917, 1919|
|Biographical Materials||2||2||Military Service Order of Induction, Furlough Telegram, and Honorable Discharge Papers||1918-1919|
|Biographical Materials||2||3||Newspaper Clippings||1918-1976, undated|
|Biographical Materials||2||4||Newspaper Clippings of McFadden and Norman Borlaug||1951|
|Biographical Materials||2||5||Newspaper Clippings of McFadden's Trip to Mexico||1948|
|Biographical Materials||2||6||Obituaries and Memorials||1956|
|Biographical Materials||2||8||Photographs of Family, Work, Hobo Day (25 Black & White Photographs)||1917-1951, undated|
|Biographical Materials||2||7||Professional and Military Service of E.S. McFadden||undated|
|Biographical Materials||2||9||Publications about McFadden, Burbank of the Wheat Fields, Reader's Digest, Volume 49, Number 293, September 1946||1946|
|Biographical Materials||2||10||Publications about McFadden, Edgar McFadden: Hope Inspired, by Kevin Kephart||2013|
|Biographical Materials||2||11||Publications about McFadden, Half a Century of Progress of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, (page 36)||1954|
|Biographical Materials||2||13||Publications about McFadden, McFadden's Hope, by A.W. Erickson||1945|
|Biographical Materials||2||14||Publications about McFadden, Men and Women of Distinction at South Dakota State College||undated|
|Biographical Materials||2||15||Publications about McFadden, South Dakota State College Alumnus, Volume 46, Number 5, January 1956||1956|
|Biographical Materials||2||16||Publications about McFadden, Texas A and M 75th Anniversary Booklet||1951|
|Biographical Materials||2||12||Publications about McFadden, The Man Who Gave Us Bread, Farm Journal, Volume 70, Number 9, Page 28||1946|
|Biographical Materials||2||17||South Dakota State College Course Schedule||1917|
|Biographical Materials||2||18||Texas A and M College Graduate Work||1936-1937|
|Biographical Materials||2||19||Writings about McFadden||undated|
|Biographical Materials||2||20||Writings about McFadden, Poem to Edgar McFadden||undated|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||1||Donahue, Roy L., Story of My Life by A. Soil, Texas A and Cooperative Extension, Soil Building and Conservation Series, Number 11||1949|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||2||Handwritten Notes Regarding Hope Derivatives, Possibly by Darrell Wells or V.A. Dirks||undated|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||3||History of Small Grain Crops in Texas||1976|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||4||Important 1929 Crop Percentages in Eight South Dakota Counties||1929|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||6||Letter to K.S. Quisenberry from H. Macy||1950|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||5||Letter to V.A. Dirks from S.C. Salmon Regarding First Observance of Wheat Resistance to Stem Rust||1953|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||8||Materials from the Rockefeller Archive Center Regarding McFadden's Hope Wheat||1943-1951|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||7||McFadden and Small Grains Pathology||1945-2001|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||9||Petersen, R.F., Twenty-five Years' Progress in Breeding New Varieties of Wheat for Canada, The Empire Journal of Experimental Agriculture, Volume 26, Number 102, April 1958||1958|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||10||Rust Resistance in Mexican Wheat||1951|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||11||Small Grain Breeding||undated|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||12||Waldron, L.R., Breeding Common Wheat Since 1916 at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station||1950 circa|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||13||Wheat and Small Grains||1914-1982|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||14||Wheat Breeding||1940-2013|
|Collected Material Relating to Work||3||15||Yields of Wheat Varieties in South Dakota||undated|
|Correspondence||3||18||Objections to Joining the War in Europe||1941|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||20||Evaluations of Hope Wheat||1925-1933|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||21||Hope Wheat Testimonials and Correspondence with Farmers||1927|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||22||Newspaper Clipping on Webster CI3780||1925|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||23||Project Report, Western Wheat Investigations, Comparative Value of Hope Wheat and H-44 Wheats by J. Allen Clark||1929|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||25||Registration of Hope Wheat and Webster Wheat by the USDA||1929|
|Hope Wheat and Other Varieties||3||24||Seed Sales through the Farmer Seed and Nursery Company, Faribault, Minnesota||1929|
|Research||4||1||Flax: Note and photograph||1948|
|Research||4||2||News Release: Combat Race 15 B of Wheat Stem Rust||1950|
|Research||4||3||News Release: Seabreeze||undated|
|Research||4||4||Research Notebooks: 1916||1916|
|Research||4||5||Research Notebooks: 1917||1917|
|Research||4||6||Research Notebooks: 1925-1926 book 1; 1925-1926 book 2||1925-1926|
|Research||4||7||Research Notebooks: 1927; 1928||1927, 1928|
|Research||8||3||Research Notebooks||1945, 1946|
|Research||8||4||Research Notebooks||1947, 1948|
|Research||6||4||Research Notebooks Head Rows: Oats, Barley and Wheat||1934|
|Research||4||9||Research Notebooks Nurser: 1930 book 1; 1930 book 2||1930|
|Research||5||1||Research Notebooks Nursery: 1930 book 3; 1930 book 4||1930|
|Research||8||6||Research Notebooks Prairie View||1951, undated|
|Research||5||3||Research Notebooks Single Row Nursery and Field Plots: 1931 book 3; 1931 book 4||1931|
|Research||5||2||Research Notebooks Winter Wheat and Webster Nurseries: 1931 book 1; 1931 book 2||1931|
|Research||7||3||Research Notebooks: 8 ft. Rows||1937|
|Research||7||2||Research Notebooks: 8 ft. Rows||1936, 1937|
|Research||5||4||Research Notebooks: 9-Row Nursery and Field Plots: 1931 book 5; 1932 book 1||1931, 1932|
|Research||5||6||Research Notebooks: CO-OP and Rust Nurseries, Various Nurseries: 1932 book 4; 1933||1932, 1933|
|Research||6||1||Research Notebooks: CO-OP Nurseries and Field Plots||1933|
|Research||6||3||Research Notebooks: CO-OP Nurseries and Field Plots||1934|
|Research||4||8||Research Notebooks: Field Plots: 1929; 1930||1929, 1930|
|Research||8||1||Research Notebooks: Flax and Oats||1939|
|Research||5||5||Research Notebooks: Head Row Wheats and Various Nursery: 1932 book 2; 1932 book 3||1932|
|Research||8||2||Research Notebooks: Head Rows and Various||1939, 1942|
|Research||6||2||Research Notebooks: Head Rows Oats, Barley and Wheat||1933|
|Research||6||5||Research Notebooks: Lake City Nurseries and Small Grains, Texas||1934|
|Research||7||1||Research Notebooks: Nurseries and Yield Data||1935, 1936|
|Research||7||5||Research Notebooks: Rod Rows and Field Plots||1938|
|Research||7||4||Research Notebooks: Victoria and Head Rows||1937, 1938|
|Research||7||6||Research Notebooks: Wheat Rod Rows, Head Rows, and Rust Nurseries||1939|
|Research||8||5||Research Notebooks: Winter Wheat||1949|
|Writings and Speeches||9||2||Artificial Synthesis of Tricticum Spelts||1944|
|Writings and Speeches||9||3||Autobiography for a Farm||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||4||Bananas: a Possible Source of Polio Virus (Preliminary Report)||1953|
|Writings and Speeches||9||5||Bearing Mendel's Law of Heredity and Malthusian Doctrine of Population||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||6||Breeding Disease Resistant Cereals||1938|
|Writings and Speeches||9||7||Breeding Rust Resistant Small Grains for South Texas||1939|
|Writings and Speeches||9||8||Confessions of a Plant Breeder||1925-1926|
|Writings and Speeches||9||9||Crosses of Wheat with Closely Related Genera||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||10||Emergency Oil Crops Flaxseed||1943|
|Writings and Speeches||9||12||Flax Production in South Texas||1939|
|Writings and Speeches||9||11||Flaxseed Production in the Texas Blacklands||1939|
|Writings and Speeches||9||13||Foreword||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||14||Genome Approach in Radical Wheat Breeding, Journal of the American Society of Agronomy, Volume 39||1947|
|Writings and Speeches||9||15||Hope Wheat: the Boyhood Dream of a Disease Resistant Wheat that Came True||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||17||Important Developments in Small Grains and Flax||1941|
|Writings and Speeches||9||19||Improving Small Grain Crops of Texas||1946|
|Writings and Speeches||9||18||Improving Small Grain Crops of Texas||Undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||16||Inheritance of Family Traits||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||20||Kiwanis Club in Redfield, South Dakota Talk||1929|
|Writings and Speeches||9||21||Long Road of Wheat Improvement||1947|
|Writings and Speeches||9||22||McFadden's Remarks||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||23||Mental Inventory||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||24||My Aim in Coming to College||1914|
|Writings and Speeches||9||25||Nature Cure||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||26||New Sources of Resistance to Stem Rust and Leaf Rust in Foreign Varieties of Common Wheat, USDA Circular 814, July 1949||1949|
|Writings and Speeches||9||27||Notes on Grains||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||28||Old Number Six and the Texas Small Grains Program, 1889-1969||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||29||Possibilities and Difficulties in the Field of Wheat Crossing||1928|
|Writings and Speeches||9||30||Problems in Small Grain Production in Southern Texas||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||31||Problems that Challenge the Wheat Breeder||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||32||Product from the Desert||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||33||Program and Progress in Developing Rust Resistant Small Grains||1938|
|Writings and Speeches||9||34||Radical Wheat Breeding||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||35||Red Rust: the Story behind the Story||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||36||Relation of New Rust Resistant Small Grains to the Future Food Supply||1940|
|Writings and Speeches||9||37||Rust Situation||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||1||Scientific and Popular Publications of E.S. McFadden||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||38||Seabreeze Wheat||1947|
|Writings and Speeches||9||39||Signpost||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||40||Small Grain||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||41||Student Room||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||42||Synthetic Rust-proof Bread Wheats in the Dakota Farmer, February 1, 1925||1925|
|Writings and Speeches||9||43||Untitled Brown County, South Dakota Talk||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||44||Untitled Flaxseed||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||45||Untitled Polio||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||47||Untitled Speech||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||46||Untitled Wheat Production in Mexico||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||48||Webster 50 Years Ago||undated|
|Writings and Speeches||9||49||Wheat-Rye Hybrids in The Journal of Heredity, Volume 8, Number 7, July 1917||1917|