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USDA Pink Bollworm Project Photograph Collection

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The USDA Pink Bollworm Project Photograph Collection documents the work of the Plant Quarantine and Control Administration on bollworm detection, prevention, and quarantine measures. The materials consist primarily of black-and-white and color photographs of plant and insect specimens, scientific activities, facilities, and personnel. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Civil Rights (CR) and Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) offices donated this collection to the National Agricultural Library in March 1999.

This collection occupies 3.25 linear feet and is housed in four boxes. The materials are in fair to poor condition. There are no restrictions on the use of these materials for research. However, some materials are fragile and may require staff assistance in order to view them.

The collection was partially arranged and described by Sara Lee, Special Collections archivist. Valerie Linsinbigler, Special Collections intern, finished inventorying, arranging, and describing the collection in 2018.

Biographical Sketch

The Plant Quarantine and Control Administration (later named the Bureau of Plant Quarantine) was established in 1928 as a central agency to regulate activities related to research on insects and plants for the Bureaus of Entomology and Plant Industry. The agency assigned regulatory work to several divisions, including one for Pink Bollworm and Thurberia Control.

The pink bollworm, scientific name Pectinophora gossypiella, reduces seed cotton yield and oil content of cotton plants, prevents the normal opening of cotton bolls, and damages the locules of developing bolls. The pink bollworm is considered one of the most destructive cotton pests in the United States. Several control programs have been created to reduce its negative impact on the economy (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 2008).

In 1934, the Bureau of Plant Quarantine merged with the Bureau of Entomology to form the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine. Currently, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) administers the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program. The PPQ’s Cotton Pest Programs conduct research and eradication efforts for the southwest pink bollworm using pesticides and sterile insect release.

Scope and Content Note

The USDA Pink Bollworm Project Photograph Collection consists mainly of black-and-white and color photographs documenting the work of the Plant Quarantine and Control Administration on bollworm detection, prevention, and quarantine measures.

Photographs show scientists’ processes for cleansing the soil of bollworms, views of infested fields, and the effects of bollworms on cotton and other plants. A set of photographs mounted on boards was created as slides for a presentation titled, “Quarantine Control Measures Against the Pink Bollworm.” There are photographs of inspection sites in Texas and New Mexico, and field clean-up activities in Arizona. The collection also includes a personalized leather-bound album of colleagues’ portraits presented to the Chief of the division, Paul A. Hoidale, in 1941.

The bulk of the collection materials was originally arranged in albums or scrapbooks. The original order of each volume has been maintained, although several of the scrapbooks have been disassembled to preserve the pages from further damage caused by the bindings.

Contents Description

Box 1: Paul A. Hoidale Photograph Album. 1941.

Box 1 contains a custom leather-bound photograph album given to Paul A. Hoidale in 1941 featuring portraits of his work colleagues at the Plant Quarantine and Control Administration. These photographs are accompanied by personal information such as the subjects’ birthdates, birthplaces, and family members’ names, along with the dates and places they began working for the USDA.

Box 2: Bollworm Presentation Boards and Plant Quarantine Photograph Albums. 1998 and undated.

This box contains a set of mounted photographs for a presentation titled “Quarantine Control Measures against the Pink Bollworm” featuring images of the life cycle of pink bollworms, cotton infected with bollworms, and the harvesting of cotton. In addition, there are aerial photographs of the Subtropical Agricultural Research Laboratory (SARL), operated by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, and Texas A&M University research centers in Texas. The box houses a small red photograph album on the knapweed biocontrol training and redistribution in Wyoming and the biocontrol of leafy spurge in North Dakota during the 1998 field season. There is also a scrapbook featuring images of bridge inspection stations in Texas and New Mexico, circa 1980s.

Box 3: Pink Bollworm Project Photograph Scrapbook. 1917-1918.

This box contains a scrapbook titled “Miscellaneous Pictures: Pink Bollworm” from the USDA Plant Quarantine and Control Administration’s Pink Bollworm Project. The materials include various images of the pink bollworm, both healthy and infected cotton fields, Acala cotton bolls, and equipment used to harvest and process cotton in Texas and Mexico.

Box 4: Field Clean Up Photograph Album. 1930.

Box 4 houses an album of photographs depicting field clean-up activities. The images show workers screening and washing soil to look for hibernating bollworms; mowing fields and burning stalks to remove infected plants; and sampling soil in fields infested with bollworms. There are also images documenting plant condition after treatment in Mesa, Arizona. Other images show roadside traffic inspection stations in both Texas and New Mexico.

Selected Bibliography

Sources Used for Finding Aid

Baker, Gladys L., Wayne D. Rasmussen, Vivian Wiser, and Jane M. Porter. Century of Service: The First 100 Years of the United States Department of Agriculture. Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture, 1962.

Parmar, Vaishali R., and C. C. Patel. Pink Bollworm: A Notorious Pest of Cotton: A Review. AGRES – An International e-Journal. Volume 5, number 2: 88-97. January 2016.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, United States Department of Agriculture. Southwest Pink Bollworm Eradication Program. April 2008. Accessed 27 April 2018.

Related Collections at the National Agricultural Library

Alfred H. Baumhover Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records, 1949-1997. Manuscript Collection 266.

Gypsy Moth Research Collection, 1971-1984. Manuscript Collection 401.

For Further Research on Pink Bollworms

Naranjo, Steven E., George D. Butler, Jr., and Thomas J. Henneberry. A Bibliography of the Pink Bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders). Phoenix, AZ: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Center, 2002.

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