Botanist and Inventor George Washington Carver 1864-1943
American Botanist and Inventor.
Dr. George Washington Carver was born in Diamond Grove, Missouri, around 1864. He is one of the United States' most famous agricultural scientists. He is best known for his research on peanuts and his commitment to helping poor Southern African American farmers.
Dr. Carver left Iowa for Alabama in the fall of 1896 to direct the newly organized department of agriculture at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a school headed by the noted African American educator Booker T. Washington. After becoming the institute’s director of agricultural research he devoted his time to research projects aimed at helping Southern agriculture, demonstrating ways in which farmers could improve their economic situation. He conducted experiments in soil management and crop production and directed an experimental farm.
At that time agriculture in the Deep South was in serious trouble because the unremitting single-crop cultivation of cotton had left the soil of many fields deplesaated of nitrogen. Erosion had then taken its toll on areas that could no longer sustain crops. As a remedy, Dr. Carver urged Southern farmers to plant peanuts and soybeans which, since they belong to the legume family, could restore nitrogen to the soil while also providing the protein so badly needed in the diet of many Southerners.
Among Carver’s many honours were his election to Britain’s Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (London) in 1916 and his receipt of the Spingarn Medal in 1923. Late in his career he declined an invitation to work for Thomas A. Edison at a salary of more than $100,000 a year. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt visited him, and his friends included Henry Ford and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Foreign governments requested his counsel on agricultural matters: Joseph Stalin, for example, in 1931 invited him to superintend cotton plantations in southern Russia and to make a tour of the Soviet Union, but Carver refused.In 1940 Carver donated his life savings to the establishment of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee for continuing research in agriculture.
Source: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Catalog Number owi2001002474/PP
Source: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Catalog Number owi2001046654/PP