full text File Size: 677 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag



Liberty Hyde Bailey was instrumental in separating Horticulture from Botany and establishing it as a distinct scientific pursuit. He was a botanist, horticulturalist, plant breeder, traveler and plant explorer, outstanding teacher, astute and successful administrator, lobbyist, rural sociologist, prolific writer and superb editor, environmentalist, philosopher, poet, and visionary.

Born on a farm in Michigan in 1858, Liberty Hyde Bailey graduated from the Michigan Agricultural College with a degree in botany. After working with the renowned botanist Asa Gray at Harvard, he returned to Michigan to teach horticulture and landscape gardening. In 1888, he came to Cornell to build a new curriculum in practical and experimental horticulture. In 1904, the Legislature passed a bill establishing the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell, and Liberty Hyde Bailey became its first dean. In that role, he established new departments to complement existing fields of study, and appointed Cornell's first women professors. In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to chair a presidential Country Life Commission.

Bailey retired from Cornell in 1913, but continued his scientific, practical, and philosophical pursuits, and made his home in Ithaca for the rest of his life. He wrote and edited numerous books, from textbooks to essays and poems. He traveled extensively on botanical collecting trips, and continued his studies of palms, blackberries, grapes, cabbages, pumpkins and squashes. During his lifetime, he received innumerable awards and honors. Liberty Hyde Bailey died in 1954 at the age of ninety-six.


March 15, 1858 Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. born near South Haven, Michigan
1862 Sarah Harrison Bailey, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr.'s mother, dies
1863 Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr. marries Maria Bridges
1873 Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. delivers first public speech, "Birds," to the South Haven Pomological Society and is elected Ornithologist of the organization
1877-1882 Attends Michigan Agricultural College in Lansing, Michigan; studies Botany under the instruction of Dr. William Beal; meets Annette Smith
1882 Graduates from Michigan Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Science degree
1882 Works in Springfield, Illinois as a reporter for the Morning Monitor
Feb. 1883 Moves to Cambridge, Massachussetts to work as an assistant to Harvard botanist Asa Gray
June 1883 Marries Annette Smith
1885 Accepts professorship at Michigan Agricultural College; publishes first book "Talks Afield: About Plants and the Science of Plants"
1886 Receives Master of Science degree from Michigan Agricultural College
June 29, 1887 Daughter Sara May Bailey born
1887 Invited to give a series of lectures at Cornell
1889 Begins work as a Professor of Practical and Experimental Horticulture at Cornell
Nov. 17, 1889 Daughter Ethel Zoe Bailey born
1899 Appoints Anna Botsford Comstock as first female professor at Cornell
1904 Becomes Dean of New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell
1908 Leads a Commission on Country Life at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt
1911 Appoints Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose as Professors in Home Economics
1913 Retires from position of Dean; begins a Herbarium at home on Sage Place
1917-1949 Travels around the world on plant collecting expeditions
1926 Elected President of the Botanical Society of America
1935 Gives Hortorium to Cornell
1935 Daughter Sara dies
1938 Wife Annette dies
1944 Bailey's idea for a campus arboretum, botanical garden, and research field is realized with the opening of the Cornell Plantations
Mar. 15, 1948 Bailey misses 90th birthday party in Ithaca because he is on plant collecting trip in West Indies
Dec. 25, 1954 Bailey dies at his home in Ithaca
1958 United States Post Office issues a comemorative stamp honoring gardening and horticulture in America