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Edward Fred Knipling Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records


The Edward Fred Knipling Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records consist of materials dating from 1906 to 2003, written and collected by Edward Fred Knipling and his family. Edward Fred Knipling and his family donated the materials to the National Agricultural Library from 1999 through 2003. This collection is 59 linear feet and occupies 91 archival boxes. The holdings are part of series of collections documenting the Screwworm Eradication Program. Materials are in good condition with the exception of some fragile early manuscripts and mechanicals that have cracked where they were folded. There are no restrictions on use of this collection; however, some items must be reproduced with permission from the head of NAL's Special Collections or head of the Collection Management Branch.

In 2004, Katie McGowan and Julian Clark, both University of Maryland College Park, College of Information Studies graduate students, initiated processing of the collection. Lindsey Loeper, University of Maryland College Park, College of Information Studies graduate student, and Barbara Stommel, Special Collections Librarian, National Agricultural Library, completed the processing and production of the finding aid in 2006.



Biographical Sketch

The following biographical sketch of Edward Fred Knipling includes information on the history of the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to eradicate the screwworm, a parasite of livestock and other warm-blooded animals. Because Knipling's role in this eradication program was critical to its success, extensive information on the program is included in this biographical sketch.

Edward Fred Knipling (1909-2000) was a world-famous entomologist and theorist. He advocated the use of pest specific, preventive, and environmentally-safe methods applied on an area-wide basis. His contributions include the parasitoid augmentation technique, insect control methods involving the medication of the hosts, and various models of total insect population management. Knipling was best known as the inventor of the sterile insect technique (SIT), an autocidal theory of total insect population management. SIT controls insect populations by releasing sexually sterile males which leads to a reduced birth rate. The New York Times Magazine proclaimed on January 11, 1970, that "Knipling...has been credited by some scientists as having come up with 'the single most original thought in the 20th century.'"

Knipling, or "Knip", was born on March 20, 1909, in Port Lavaca, Texas. He was the ninth of 10 children born to Henry John Knipling and Hulda Rasch Knipling. While growing up in a German-speaking Lutheran household, Knipling worked on his father's farm from childhood through college. Knipling graduated from Port Lavaca High School at the age of 17. He studied agriculture and entomology at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). After his graduation in 1930, he continued his studies in entomology at Iowa State College (now University), where he was awarded a master of science degree two years later. Knipling later earned his doctorate from Iowa State College in 1947.

In the summer of 1934, Edward married Phoebe Rebecca Hall, whom he met while studying at Iowa State. Phoebe Knipling was a well-established scholar who at the age of 19 earned a bachelor of science degree from Catawba College in 1929. By the age of 23, she had earned master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in parasitology and protozoology from Iowa State. Phoebe Knipling later served as the first Science Supervisor for the Arlington, Virginia, public school system. The Kniplings had five children: Anita, Edward, Edwina, Gary, and Ronald.

Knipling spent his entire career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), beginning with a temporary summer job in 1930; the USDA employed him for 41 years and then provided him with collaborator status for 3 additional decades. Knipling steadily rose through the ranks and held the following three very significant positions: (1) Director of the Orlando Laboratory (1942-1946) on Emergency Research to protect U.S. and Allied armed forces from the disease-carrying insects that spread malaria, typhus, and plague; (2) Director of the USDA's nation-wide research on insects affecting livestock, man, households, and stored products from headquarters at Washington, D.C. (1946-1953); and (3) Director of the Entomology Research Division (ERD), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), headquartered at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland (1953-1971).

Working as a field aid in Tlahualilo, Mexico, he studied the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella). The following summer he was appointed junior entomologist at the Dallas, Texas, laboratory of the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine (BEPQ). In Dallas, he examined the biology and control of the screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax). From 1932 to 1935 Knipling worked in Illinois and Iowa researching cattle grubs, horn flies, and the common horse bot. In 1935, the USDA opened a new laboratory in Valdosta, Georgia, with Ernest William Laake in charge, and Knipling and Walter E. Dove as assistant entomologists. It was the mission of the staff working in the laboratory to assist the livestock industry in coping with the screwworm. The screwworm had been introduced inadvertently into the southeastern United States on infested cattle shipped from the southern Great Plains to save them from the severe drought of the Dust Bowl era.

Knipling transferred to the Menard, Texas, laboratory of the BEPQ to continue his research. He worked at Menard from 1937 to 1940 conducting research on the screwworm. The staff at Menard included Roy C. Melvin, Henry Edward Parish, and Raymond C. Bushland (with whom he later collaborated on several crucial screwworm projects). The laboratory was charged with developing formulations, or "smears," to treat animals infested with screwworms. The smears served two functions--to kill the screwworms that infested the animal and to seal the wound to reduce the chances of re-infestation. The resulting Smear 62 could accomplish both of these tasks with a single application. Yet, Knipling realized that an effective wound treatment would never fully control the screwworm fly and would always entail high labor costs. According to Knipling, "What we needed was some preventive measure."

While at Menard, Knipling formulated an autocidal method of insect control which involved overwhelming the wild populations with genetically altered or sterile males to either suppress or eradicate the total population in an ecologically isolated region. This controversial method became known as the sterile insect technique (SIT). It had three main components:

  • mathematical modeling (conceived by Knipling) that predicts the probability of sterility when an uncontrolled wild population is subjected to releases of sexually sterile insects at an initial over-flooding ratio, which assures a decline in the number of progeny produced in the target population;
  • a mechanism for mass rearing the number of insects necessary to overwhelm the natural population (which was developed by Melvin and Bushland); and
  • a method for sexually sterilizing the mass-reared insects (which eluded scientists until Hermann Joseph Muller's irradiation studies in 1950).

The development of SIT was put on hold for several years because the needed technology was still unknown at this time. After Menard, Knipling was placed in charge of a station of the Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals in Portland, Oregon. At this post, he investigated mosquito populations of the Pacific Northwest. The United States then entered World War II and Knipling's work took a new direction.

In 1942, Knipling was called to lead a team of scientists in Orlando, Florida. The staff at Orlando included Raymond C. Bushland and Arthur W. Lindquist (who was also involved with screwworm research in the 1930s). The team's task was to find methods to control insect populations that transmit diseases such as typhus, malaria, and plague to the U.S. and Allied forces. The laboratory received samples of numerous chemicals and materials from all over the world, each of which was tested for its capability to control insect pests. The lab developed a successful louse powder, designated the name MYL, for the troops to use for controlling body lice and similar pests. The next advance came from a sample of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) from the J.R. Geigy Company in Switzerland. The lab not only developed DDT into a product that could help the troops, but they also made DDT practical for many other agricultural purposes.

After the war, Knipling returned to Iowa State where he earned his Ph.D. in entomology. In 1946, Emory Clayton Cushing retired from the position of Chief of Insects Affecting Man and Animals Branch and Knipling was chosen to replace him. While in this position, Knipling consolidated all screwworm research at a new Livestock Insects Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas. After the reorganization of the USDA in 1953, Knipling became the Director of the Entomology Research Division (ERD) of the newly created Agricultural Research Service (ARS). In this capacity, he was able to shift the focus of insect control from chemical insecticides to other methods such as biological and parasitoid. This served as a major landmark in the development of ecologically sound alternatives to the mass use of insecticides.

By the early 1950s, the screwworm had become a major concern. Lindquist forwarded to Knipling a reference to an article in the January 1950 issue of American Scientist written by Hermann Joseph Muller, a geneticist who had won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1946. Muller's "Radiation Damage to the Genetic Material" explains how x-rays could be used on fruit flies for sterilization without negatively affecting sexual behavior or competitiveness in the wild. Muller agreed with Knipling's theory that sterile insect technique (SIT) would be feasible for controlling the screwworm.

Knipling pursued research on sterility by radiation. He turned to Bushland, who had become the director of research at the Kerrville, Texas, laboratory of the ARS. Using Knipling's theory and Muller's technique, Bushland completed a successful experiment. The sterile male flies were able to mate competitively, and the percentage of sterile males in the population was about equal to the percentage of infertile egg masses oviposited by female flies. Bushland later discovered that using gamma rays from cobalt-60 was a less expensive, but effective alternative to x-rays.

The next stage was field experimentation. In late 1951, an experiment was established on Sanibel Island in Florida by Knipling, Bushland, and Alfred H. Baumhover, an entomologist working with Bushland at Kerrville. The experiment proved that it was possible to drastically reduce the screwworm population by releasing sterilized flies. Because the island was only two miles from the mainland, however, the continuing influx of screwworms from the Florida peninsula prevented eradication. The scientists needed a more isolated area.

In 1953, shortly following the Sanibel experiment, Knipling received a letter from Benjamin A. Bitter, a veterinarian on the island of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Bitter was looking for a way to deal with the screwworm problem that had invaded the island from South America. Knipling responded with a proposal for a joint experiment between the United States and the Netherlands. Knipling clearly stipulated that SIT was only a theory, and could not be guaranteed to work. Bitter was interested in the cooperative effort and the team of Knipling, Bushland, Lindquist, Baumhover and Bitter spent nine months planning the experiment. About 150,000 sterile screwworm flies per week were released over Curacao, a small island of 176 square miles; within 3 months and 4 generations of the targeted insect, the screwworm was eradicated from the island.

From the Curacao experiment, the scientists learned how to put together a full-scale eradication program. Components of the experiment included mass rearing of screwworm flies, proper sterilization equipment and procedures, and an efficient aircraft method of dissemination.

Although the Curacao experiment had not initially been well publicized in the United States, its success soon garnered attention from agricultural officials. Most of this interest came from Florida. Through a series of meetings with state and federal officials, Knipling helped secure the initial appropriations to eradicate the screwworm from the Southeastern United States. The Florida eradication program was given a boost when, in December 1957, an unseasonably cold air mass swept through Florida and killed all screwworms southward to a line running from Tampa to Vero Beach, Florida. The USDA took advantage of this situation and began releasing the sterile flies. The program was considered a success when no screwworms could be found in Florida after the end of June 1959.

Livestock producers in the Southwest, especially those in Texas, favorably viewed the Southeast screwworm eradication program. The challenges in Texas were much more difficult than those encountered in Florida. They included an increased area, a larger insect population, less isolation, and the guarantee that flies could easily reinfest the area from outside the program's jurisdiction. To solve the screwworm problem in the Southwest, a fly production plant was constructed in Mission, Texas, and the partnership of the Mexico-USA Screwworm Eradication Commission launched joint operations to maintain a sterile border between the United States and Mexico to reduce the possibility of reinfestation. By 1972, the screwworm had been officially eradicated from the United States.

The screwworm eradication programs are practical examples of the application of Knipling's theories on total insect population management. The programs involved: using field experimentation to gather baseline data on the wild population using this baseline data to develop a model of the likely effects of a SIT program; conducting a pilot project to assess the validity of the model and the readiness of the technology; conducting detailed planning; constructing laboratories and mass rearing facilities; developing methods of handling sterilization and aerial release; and properly using monitoring methods. This area-wide model was considered to be far more effective than the use of chemical insecticides on small populations of insect pests on a case-by-case basis. Knipling further discussed his model in his 1979 book, The Basic Principles of Insect Population Suppression and Management (USDA Agriculture Handbook 512).

The sterile insect technique helped to save billions of dollars for the livestock industries in the United States, Mexico, and Central America at an attractive cost to benefit ratio. This, however, was not the only technique of population control Knipling developed. He considered his work on insect parasites to be as equally important as SIT. He also believed that when combined with SIT, the parasitoid augmentation technique could be more effective for managing insect populations than either one operating alone. Knipling's second book, Principles of Insect Parasitism Analyzed from New Perspectives: Practical Implications for Regulating Insect Populations by Biological Means (USDA Agriculture Handbook 693), published in 1992, contains information on the use of parasites for insect control.

Knipling served as the director of the ERD until 1971, at which time he became the science advisor to George W. Irving, Jr., Administrator of the ARS. Two years later, Knipling retired from the USDA, having served for over 40 years. After retirement, he continued to collaborate with ARS and contribute to the literature of entomology. During this period, he completed about 30 of his more than 200 publications on insects, and many more works that were not published. Knipling remained active in the field of entomology until the weeks prior to his death in March 2000.

Throughout his career, Knipling was honored with fellowships and honorary memberships from such organizations as the Entomological Society of America, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Knipling was also the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including several honorary doctor of science degrees. These awards include the British King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom, the Presidential Medal for Merit, the National Medal of Science, an ARS Science Hall of Fame induction, the World Food Prize, and the Japan Prize. ;In 1988, the U.S. Livestock Insects Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas, which was created in 1946 as the merger of the Dallas, Uvalde, and Menard laboratories, was rededicated in honor of Knipling and Bushland.

Special Collections would like to thank Waldemar Klassen for his extensive contributions to this section. Klassen worked closely with Knipling and the USDA's pest management programs throughout his career. He has served as the National Program Leader for Pest Management (ARS, USDA, 1972-1983), director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (ARS, USDA, 1983-1988), associate deputy administrator for Plant Sciences and Natural Resources (ARS, USDA, 1988-1990), before moving on to positions within the Joint FAO/IAEA Division for Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in Vienna, Austria (1990-1994). Klassen currently serves as the director of the Tropical Research and Education Center at the University of Florida. Materials involving Klassen can be found within this collection in Series I, IV, and VI.

Extended Biographical Sketch (PDF|152KB)

Scope and Content Note

The Edward Fred Knipling Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records are part of a series of collections documenting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Screwworm Eradication Program. Knipling concentrated on screwworm research from 1931-1940 and during the Curacao and Southeast eradication programs in the 1950s. This collection covers all of the areas of entomology researched by Knipling during his career with the . His research included parasite control methods and work on boll weevil, fruit fly, tsetse fly, and various species of ticks and moths. In addition, the collection reflects Knipling's continued activity in entomology after his 1973 retirement from the . These materials were donated to the National Agricultural Library from 1999 through 2003 by Edward Fred Knipling and his family.

The majority of the items date from the 1930s through the 1990s. Materials contained in the collection include scientific research, letters, biographies, photographs, news clippings, artifacts, and awards. These materials are primarily in English, but some documents are in German, Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese.

Series I contains biographical materials collected from all eras of Knipling's life. Biographies and autobiographies are in this series, along with materials from Knipling's academic career and personnel records from the . Materials on Knipling's associates and family are in Subseries I.D., including birthday, retirement, and funeral announcements. Obituaries for Knipling and several of his associates are located in Subseries I.D.3.

Knipling was well respected for his work in entomology and was honored by many government agencies, professional associations, academic institutions, and professional publications. Materials relating to honors and awards (Series II) consist of certificates, medals, plaques, and related information including ceremony programs, news clippings, and nomination materials. Noteworthy awards received by Knipling include the 1995 Japan Prize, the 1992 World Food Prize, and the 1960 Hoblitzelle National Award in the Agricultural Sciences. Some materials in the honors and awards series are cross referenced with the professional membership materials in Series III. Information about membership in professional organizations, as well as fund-raising, events, association publications, and related correspondence, are found in the professional membership series.

Correspondence (Series IV) is a major part of the collection and there is one series dedicated to it. The correspondence series focuses both on Knipling's work as an entomologist and consultant with the as well as personal correspondence. Correspondence is present elsewhere in the collection when it connects directly to the content of the series. For example, folders in the honors and awards series contain awards related correspondence.

The collection of speeches (Series V), typically given at professional or academic conferences, meetings, and lectures, displays Knipling's wide variety of research interests and the progression of his work in entomology. Most of the speeches (Series V) cover Knipling's theories on total population control. Included are speeches on managing specific pests. Some of the speeches serve other purposes, such as acceptance of honors and awards or the introduction of colleagues.

Knipling composed hundreds of articles (Series VI.A.) on his own or in collaboration with others. The collection includes published and unpublished articles and reports. Knipling's manuscripts (Series VI.D.) are his draft working copies. Most of these manuscripts were eventually published, but not all of the published works in the collection are represented in manuscript form. The subseries of published articles (Series VI.A.) contains reprints of Knipling's works. The subseries on books (Series VI.C.) demonstrates Knipling's use of broad ranging communication with colleagues for cutting edge research findings, and the critical thinking and thorough analysis and synthesis of complex insect population data sets that distinguish Knipling's work.

The photographs (Series VII) cover award ceremonies; insect research programs, facilities and equipment, and colleagues; insect pests Knipling studied; and travels to Hawaii and India. Many official portraits of Knipling are included. Photographs used as documentation in Knipling's research are in print, slide, and negative formats. The bulk of the series is comprised of photographic prints. Photographs Knipling requested from colleagues for use in his book, The Basic Principles of Insect Population Suppression and Management, appear in Writings (Series VI).

The subject files (Series VIII) on pests, pest management techniques, chemicals, and committee and conference materials contain publications written by other scientists that Knipling consulted for his own work. The pest related files make up the largest subseries. Knipling's written works concentrate primarily on the boll weevil, fruit fly, heliothis, and screwworm.

Series IX contains physical artifacts from Knipling's career at the , such as a nameplate, paperweights, and professional association pins.

Series Description

Series I. Biographical Materials. 1930-2003. 2.5 boxes.

The biographical materials describe Edward Fred Knipling's life. They include numerous biographies written about Knipling over the course of his career, as well as autobiographical works authored later in his life. An oral history interview transcript with Knipling's sister, Hulda Sellingsloh, is included and provides information on Knipling's family life. Professional advancement materials are included, such as job offers, promotional materials, and press releases. Also included in this series are retirement and funeral announcements, for Knipling as well as some of his colleagues. Items of note are Knipling's college transcripts and course notes and a handwritten evaluation of Knipling's co-workers in Orlando in 1941, including Raymond C. Bushland, Emory Clayton Cushing, and Arthur W. Lindquist. This series is arranged by topic then chronologically within each topic.

  • Subseries I.A. Biographies. 1959-2003.
    Subseries I.A. is predominantly composed of biographies and autobiographies about Edward Fred Knipling, spanning the length of his career and life after his retirement. Also included is a biography of Knipling's wife, Phoebe Knipling, and an oral history interview transcript with Hulda Sellingsloh, Knipling's older sister. One item of note is a letter written by Knipling to his daughter outlining specific events he would like included in his obituary.
  • Subseries I.B. Personal Work Records. 1930-1996.
    This subseries contains materials relating to Knipling's USDA employment. Included are work calendars and correspondence containing details on Knipling's early assignments and promotions. Press releases relating to Knipling's promotions are included, as well as Knipling's correspondence with superiors requesting a change of assignment. This series contains job solicitations and offers from outside companies and associations.
  • Subseries I.C. Education Records. 1935-1946.
    Knipling's college transcripts from both Texas A&M College and Iowa State College are located in this series as well as a book of Knipling's personal course notes and an entomology exam.
  • Subseries I.D. Life Events. 1971-2000.
    Subseries I.D. contains materials relating to significant events in the lives of Knipling and his colleagues, including birthdays, retirement, and obituaries. This series is not exclusive to Knipling and materials in sub-subseries 2 and 3 are predominately focused on Knipling's colleagues.
    • Sub-subseries I.D.1. Birthday Greetings. 1973-2000.
      This sub-subseries contains greetings from colleagues and professional associations regarding Knipling's birthday. Also included are materials relating to a birthday celebration for Fred Lowe Soper, former Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau.
    • Sub-subseries I.D.2. Retirement Materials. 1971-1990.
      The Retirement Materials subseries contains correspondence regarding the retirement of Knipling and his colleagues. The majority of the materials are retirement announcements and letters of congratulations from Knipling to his colleagues. The press release announcing Knipling's retirement and congratulatory retirement letters from his colleagues are included.
    • Sub-subseries I.D.3. Funeral Programs and Obituaries. 1971-2000.
      This sub-subseries contains death announcements, funeral information, and obituaries for many of Knipling's colleagues, as well as letters of condolences sent to their family members. Materials from Knipling's funeral are included, such as the funeral program and a speech prepared by Knipling's son, Edward Byron Knipling.

Series II. Honors and Awards. 1924-1997. 14.25 boxes.

Series II contains many of the honors, awards, and diplomas given to Knipling, as well as related correspondence, articles, and ceremony programs. The series is arranged chronologically by the award date. Within each folder for an award, the materials are arranged with programs first, then related publications and news clippings, followed by correspondence and other materials. For a full list of the honors and awards in this collection, see Appendix B.

Series III. Professional Membership. 1946-1997. 1 box.

Materials relating to Knipling's membership in professional organizations are found in Series III. These include membership cards, honorary membership citations, organization publications, and correspondence.

Series IV. Correspondence. 1906-2000. 13.5 boxes.

Series IV contains professional and personal letters to and from Knipling. The professional correspondence is further organized by topic. Each subseries and sub-subseries is arranged chronologically.

  • Subseries IV.A. Professional Correspondence. 1938-2000.
    This subseries includes domestic and foreign correspondence that was generated by Knipling's professional roles. This subseries is further divided into subject specific sub-subseries, the largest of which is General Professional Correspondence, which contains letters to and from Knipling's colleagues, manuscript reviews, invitations to conferences, and correspondence detailing many of Knipling's projects and theories. Other subseries include job recommendations written by Knipling for colleagues, nomination materials for colleagues, and invitations for Knipling to lecture at university and company events. The bulk of the information included spans from 1971-2000.
    • Sub-subseries IV.A.1. General Professional Correspondence. 1938-2000.
      The General Professional Correspondence, the largest sub-subseries, contains correspondence with foreign and domestic colleagues, including entomologists at the USDA, private companies, professional associations, and academic research institutions. This series is arranged chronologically; folder names are specific to the documents they contain and provide correspondent's names and affiliation, when available, as well as the topic covered.
    • Sub-subseries IV.A.2. Job Recommendations and Solicitations. 1973-1996.
      This sub-subseries contains job recommendations written by Knipling for many of his colleagues. There is often a resume for the candidate as well as job descriptions accompanying these recommendations. Also included are solicitations for employment at the USDA from entomologists as well as solicitations from related organizations advertising open positions and requesting that Knipling recommend qualified candidates. Correspondence located in this sub-subseries relates only to Knipling's colleagues; materials regarding Knipling's promotions and reassignments are in Series I.B. Personal Work Records.
    • Sub-subseries IV.A.3. Nomination Materials. 1971-1998.
      Correspondence located in this sub-subseries contains information used by Knipling to nominate colleagues for various awards, fellowships, and professional honors. Materials relating to Knipling's personal nominations are found in Series II, Honors and Awards.
    • Sub-subseries IV.A.4. Invitations to Lecture. 1965-1998.
      Sub-subseries IV.A.4. contains letters from individuals inviting Knipling to lecture at professional and academic events. There is also information pertaining to Knipling's lectures, such as information on the event and drafts of the prepared lectures.
    • Sub-subseries IV.A.5. Reading Files. 1973-1983.
      This sub-subseries contains carbon copies of Knipling's outgoing correspondence. Reading files were carbon copy duplicates of outgoing correspondence that were saved as an official record and arranged chronologically. The color of the carbon copy, for example green, pink, or yellow, designated the length of time the copy needed to be retained according to government regulations. Subjects contained in this series are similar to those found in Series IV.A.1. General Professional Correspondence. The folders in this sub-subseries are only described in brief detail because the content is duplicated in other parts of the collection.
  • Subseries IV. B. Personal Correspondence. 1906-1999.
    This subseries includes Knipling's personal correspondence with acquaintances and colleagues, autograph requests, correspondence regarding complimentary copies of books, invitations to alumni events, and donations to foundations in honor of deceased colleagues. A letter from Knipling's father, dated 1933, is included as well as a poem by Joel Nelson titled, "The Screwworm."

Series V. Speeches. 1959-1992. 2.75 boxes.

The Speeches series contains speeches given by Knipling in a professional or academic capacity arranged in chronological order. Most speeches are in the form of outlines and key data. Folders are labeled by speech title; when no title was provided the location of the speech was used instead. Speeches with no date provided are filed at the end of the series.

Series VI. Writings. 1930-2000. 29.5 boxes.

The Writings series is an assemblage of Knipling's professional writings throughout his career as an entomologist and collaborator with USDA. This series has subseries for Knipling's articles (Subseries VI.A.), dissertation (Subseries VI.B.), books (Subseries VI.C.), manuscripts (Subseries VI.D.), and mechanicals (Subseries VI.E.). Articles and reports in published and manuscript forms as well as publisher type proofs are contained in this series. The materials in each subseries are arranged in chronological order, with the exception of the books subseries which maintains the original order at the time of donation.

  • Subseries VI.A. Articles. 1934-2000.
    A prolific writer, Knipling published hundreds of research papers over a 66 year period that he wrote either as sole investigator or with colleagues. Most of the articles in this subseries are reprints of Knipling's published works. Two bibliographies Knipling compiled, "Contributions to Literature by E. F. Knipling" (1983) and "Screwworm Bibliography" (1996), have been placed at the beginning of this subseries for reference.
  • Subseries VI.B. Dissertation. 1946-1947.
    In 1947, Knipling completed his Ph.D. dissertation entitled Evaluation of Certain Chemotherapeutic Agents for External Blood Sucking Parasites at Iowa State College (now University). This subseries includes the outline and early drafts of his dissertation and his preliminary examination notification.
  • Subseries VI.C. Books. 1971-1996.
    The Books subseries includes correspondence from Knipling requesting data, unpublished research findings, references, and photographs from his colleagues that he utilized in writing his two books. Knipling authored The Basic Principles of Insect Population Suppression and Management published in 1979 and Principles of Insect Parasitism Analyzed from New Perspectives: Practical Implications for Regulating Insect Populations by Biological Means in 1992. The Japanese translation of the 1979 edition of The Basic Principles of Insect Population Suppression and Management signed by Juro and Seiko Koyama on November 30, 1989 is housed in this subseries. Letters Knipling sent acknowledging materials received and distributing copies of his books are included. Thank you letters from colleagues and international collaborators who received copies of these books praise the lasting impact of Knipling's contributions to the field of entomology.

    Originally, this collection included two Agriculture Handbooks authored by Knipling. One cataloged copy of each of Knipling's books The Basic Principles of Insect Population Suppression and Management (NAL Call Number 1 Ag84.Ah no. 512) and Principles of Insect Parasitism Analyzed from New Perspectives: Practical Implications for Regulating Insect Populations by Biological Means (NAL Call Number 1 Ag84.Ah no. 693) is housed in the Rare Book Collection, Special Collections. Copies of these Agriculture Handbooks are also available in the National Agricultural Library's general collection.

  • Subseries VI.D. Manuscripts. 1930s-2000.
    Knipling's draft working copies of articles comprise the Manuscript subseries (Subseries VI.D.).Some of the articles in subseries VI.A. do not exist in manuscript form in subseries VI.D. The publisher type proofs were separated and moved from the manuscripts to the Mechanicals subseries.
  • Subseries VI.E. Mechanicals. 1949-1971.
    Due to their format, the publisher type proofs were pulled from the Manuscripts and combined with the tables into the Mechanicals subseries VI.E. Most of the type proofs are housed in the Oversize boxes.

Series VII. Photographs. 1930-1996. 4 boxes.

The Photographs series contains photographs related to Knipling's work and personal life. Materials are available in print, slide, and negative formats. Topics include USDA portraits, award ceremonies, research facilities and equipment, and insects. Videocassettes and films that were previously a part of this section have been moved to the Audiovisual Materials: Screwworm Eradication Program Records (Collection 215). All subseries are arranged chronologically except for Subseries VII.F. (Insects), which is arranged alphabetically by the insect's scientific name.

  • Subseries VII.A. Knipling Portraits and Personal Photographs. 1930-1996.
    Many USDA commissioned professional portraits of Knipling, from throughout his career, are located here. Also found in this subseries are Knipling's personal photographs documenting various trips, both professional and personal.
  • Subseries VII.B. Award Ceremonies. 1946-1996.
    Photographic documentation of award ceremonies, featuring Knipling as recipient and presenter, are located in this subseries. Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Hubert Horatio Humphrey, and Richard Milhous Nixon are featured.
  • Subseries VII.C. Colleagues. 1930s-1993.
    Subseries VII.C. features casual and staged photographs of Knipling's USDA colleagues, including Raymond C. Bushland, Henry Edward Parish, Arthur W. Lindquist and Hermann Joseph Muller.
  • Subseries VII.D. Research Information. 1946-1990s.
    This series contains photographs and slides that were used for research purposes. Presentation slides of graphs and data are the most prominent material. A collection of photographs from the Sanibel Island, Florida, screwworm research experiment is included.
  • Subseries VII.E. Research Facilities and Equipment. 1962-1990s.
    Photographs of research facilities throughout the United States and Mexico, as well as eradication and research equipment used in these facilities, are included here.
  • Subseries VII.F. Insects. 1941-1987.
    Subseries VII.F. includes photographs and slides of insects for research purposes. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by insect scientific name; in cases when the scientific name could not be located the materials are filed by the common name.

Series VIII. Subject Files. 1911-2000. 22.75 boxes.

Series VIII is comprised of professional research materials that Knipling used for his own writing and research interests. This series contains published articles, correspondence, materials documenting eradication programs, and committee materials. Series VIII consists of four subseries; the materials are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within each subject area.

  • Subseries VIII.A. Pests. 1911-2000.
    Subseries VIII.A., the largest of the four subseries, is composed of materials on pests, listed alphabetically by the pest name. Groupings of different variants, such as fruit flies and tsetse flies, are listed under the main pest type and then subdivided; for example, tsetse fly materials can be found under the subject heading Flies--Tsetse Fly. Materials in this subseries focus on pest eradication programs and research materials on a wide number of pests, including materials on the boll weevil, fruit flies, heliothis, and the screwworm.
  • Subseries VIII.B. Pest Management Techniques. 1954-1999.
    Subseries VIII.B., Pest Management Techniques, is composed of published reports and professional correspondence. It covers the broader techniques of pest management that were used in many of the eradication programs, including biological and genetic control. Some of these materials include discussion of specific pests.
  • Subseries VIII.C. Chemicals. 1944-1985.
    Subseries VIII.C. contains information on chemicals used in pest management. These include insecticides such as DDT as well as chemicals that try to mimic natural chemicals such as man-made pheromones. This subseries contains professional reports, published articles, and commercial advertisements for specific products.
  • Subseries VIII.D. Committee and Conference Materials. 1971-1999.
    Subseries VIII.D. is composed of materials from several committees and conferences in which Knipling was involved. These materials primarily focus on his involvement in selecting honorees for awards which are presented at the conferences.

Series IX. Artifacts. 1965-2000. 1 box.

Materials in this series consist of three dimensional artifacts from Knipling's career, including memorabilia from associations, pins, and various insects encased in plastic.


Information for the Biographical Sketch, Scope and Content Note, and Major Correspondents was taken from the following sources:

Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, Kerrville, Texas." Accessed April 24, 2006 from

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Pest Detection and Management Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Program." Accessed April 19, 2006 from

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Boll Weevil Eradication Program." Accessed April 19, 2006 from

"Emory C. Cushing, 1897-1974." Journal of Economic Entomology 67, no. 4 (August 1974): 566.

Higdon, Hal. "Well, If Not DDT, Then What?; It just may be that a man named Edward Knipling has the answer." New York Times Magazine. January 11, 1970.

International Atomic Energy Agency. "Eradicating the Tsetse Fly on Zanzibar Island." Accessed April 19, 2006 from

Klassen, Waldemar. "Edward F. Knipling: Titan and Driving Force in Ecologically Selective Area-Wide Pest Management." Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 19, no. 1 (2003): 94-103.

Knipling, Edward Fred. "20th Century Insect Control." Agricultural Research. July 1992. Accessed May 4, 2006 from

Knipling, Edward Fred, Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

National Geographic. Atlas of the World, 6th revised edition. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1995.

The Nobel Foundation. "Hermann Joseph Muller - Biography." Accessed May 27, 2004 from

Oral Histories: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

Perkins, John H. Insects, Experts, and the Insecticide Crisis. New York: Plenum, 1982.

Screwworm Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Screwworm Research Unit." Accessed April 19, 2006 from

Special Collections, National Agricultural Library. "STOP Screwworms: Selections from the Screwworm Eradication Collection." Accessed April 24, 2006 from


Click here to download the appendices to the collection. (PDF|151KB)

  • Appendix A: Professional Timeline with USDA
  • Appendix B: Honors and Awards
  • Appendix C: Major Correspondents
  • Appendix D: Related Collections
  • Appendix E: Web Resources
  • Appendix F: List of Abbreviations

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