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Martin L. Mosher papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 16/3/55

Scope and Content

This collection (1836-1979, undated) consists of manuscripts, clippings, correspondence, diaries, transcripts of radio discussions, scrapbooks, photographs, photographic negatives, and slides. Materials relating to extension work document seed corn, especially the open-pollinated varieties, Krug Corn and Reid's Yellow Dent, and Pfister Hybrid Seeds. Mosher's senior and graduate papers related to corn production (1905, 1915) document seed corn as well. Three medicine bottles of corn are in the collection, including one bottle of corn from the Woodford County, Illinois, tests (1919-1921). The negative and photograph collection contain images of his work in Clinton County, Iowa (1912-1915); Vera Cruz, Mexico (1908-1909); Illinois (1916-1950); and of farmsteads of the 1950s across the United States. Numerous family photographs are included. There is correspondence from Perry Holden regarding the positions in Clinton County and Vera Cruz and from Henry A. Wallace regarding corn culture. Mosher's personal diaries and account books (1899-1977, not inclusive) include his work on the Corn Train. There is one diary (1909-1910, 1977) of Elva Forman Mosher is as well. Material related to the Woodford County corn test includes data, photographs, and analysis of the test. The scrapbooks include personal and genealogical material. One scrapbook is from Perry Holden to Mosher documenting Holden's career. The collection also contains unpublished material from Lemuel Mosher, father of M. L. Mosher, related to natural history near West Liberty, Iowa (1900-1915).

Dates

  • 1836-1979, undated

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

Martin Luther Mosher was born in West Liberty, Iowa on April 12, 1882 to Lemuel and Lidorena Mosher. Mosher grew up at Edgewood Stock Farm near West Liberty, graduating from West Liberty High School in 1902 (due to the change from a 3 year to 4 year high school, he graduated the same year he was a freshman at Iowa State). Mosher received a B.A. (1905) and an honorary Master of Agriculture (1915) from Iowa State College (now University). Mosher is credited as the first county extension agent for the state of Iowa, appointed in 1912 and serving in Clinton County. He was a leader in farm management, adapting the findings of scientific agriculture to farm management, and agricultural extension work.



After graduation from Iowa State, Mosher was an assistant in Iowa State's agronomy department where he was in charge of the Farm Crops Laboratory. He worked under Perry G. Holden. Holden assigned Mosher to travel on the Seed Corn Trains for about eight to ten weeks in 1905. In 1906 he became Farm Crops Specialist with the Agricultural Extension Service.



Mosher took a leave from his Iowa State duties in June 1908 through December 1909 to go to Mexico, working for private parties to help increase corn production and organize a national extension service in Mexico.



In September, 1912 he became the County Extension Agent in Clinton County. Mosher had been one of the lecturers who stopped at various points in Clinton County for the Seed Corn Trains when he worked as a lecturer under Perry Holden on the trains during 1906, and had received letters from farmers in Clinton County asking for more organization within the counties. The Iowa Corn Yield Test grew out of Holden and Mosher's work at Iowa State.



In 1916 he received a county extension agent position in Woodford County, Illinois and in 1923, he accepted a position as an extension specialist in farm management in the Farm Organization and Management Department of the College of Agriculture of the University of Illinois. Mosher completed his professional career as an extension specialist in farm management for the University of Illinois (1923-1950).



Mosher married Elva Forman on December 29, 1908. Together they had five children: Arthur, Martin Luther, Jr., Ruth Ann, Vora, and Robert. Upon retirement, Mosher returned to Iowa and lived in Grinnell until his death in 1982.

Extent

16.13 Linear Feet (24 document boxes, 5 half-document boxes, and 3 oversize boxes)

Abstract

Martin Luther Mosher is credited as the first county extension agent for the state of Iowa, appointed in 1912 and serving in Clinton County. Mosher received a B.A. (1905) and an honorary M.A. (1915) from Iowa State University. He worked under Perry G. Holden at Iowa State and traveled on the Corn Train Special in 1905. In 1908 and 1909 Mosher served as a private consultant for corn production in Vera Cruz, Mexico. In 1916 he received an extension position in Woodford County, Illinois where he promoted the improvement of local corn varieties and conducted a three-year test (1919-1921) of local corn varieties. Mosher completed his professional career as an extension specialist in farm management for the University of Illinois (1923-1950). This collection (1836-1979, undated) consists of manuscripts, clippings, correspondence, diaries, transcripts of radio discussions, scrapbooks, photographs, photographic negatives, and slides. Materials relating to extension work document seed corn, especially the open-pollinated varieties, Krug Corn and Reid's Yellow Dent, and Pfister Hybrid Seeds.

Arrangement

The collection is organized by subject.

Copies

Digital reproductions of a selection of materials from the Martin L. Mosher papers are available electronically. Please see the Electronic Resources section for a link. This digital collection also includes photos from University Photographs and materials from other collections relating to Extension and Outreach.

Items in related collections

RS 16/3. Iowa State University. Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics records

Collection Files

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Title
RS 16/3/55. Martin L. Mosher papers, 1836-1979, undated
Date
May 29, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672