California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
HOWARD SPRAGUE REED, PH.D., has given his life to study and researches and the scientific application of the principles of plant physiology, and for the past six years has rendered many important services to the citrus industry of Southern California in his position as professor of plant physiology at the Riverside Citrus Experiment Station.
Dr. Reed was born at North East, Pennsylvania, a section famous for its grape industry, on August 6, 1876, son of Joseph H. and Emma Gertrude (Sprague) Reed. His father, a native of Pennsylvania, is an extensive farm owner in Erie County, owns and conducts two large farms, and has also enjoyed an influential place in the community for many years. He has served as burgess, as town clerk and county auditor. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and one of his ancestors, Colonel Joseph Reed, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Dr. Reed's mother was born in New York State and is now deceased. Her people on coming from England settled in Connecticut in Colonial times.
Howard Sprague Reed as a boy attended the grammar and high schools of North East and subsequently entered the University of Michigan, where he was graduated A.B. in 1903. As a youth his inclinations led him to an enthusiastic study of botany, and while carrying his classical studies at the University he served as assistant in plant physiology from 1899 to 1903. From 1903 to 1906 he was instructor in botany at the University of Missouri, and at the same time was doing his advanced work in science which earned him the degree Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Missouri in 1907. From 1906 to 1908 he was expert in soil fertility for the Bureau of Soils of the United States Department of Agriculture. Dr. Reed was Professor of Mycology and Bacteriology at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and also Plant Pathologist of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station from 1908 to 1915. While thus engaged he obtained a leave of absence and went abroad during 1913, studying plant chemistry at the University of Strasburg, Alsace. France, and Naples, Italy, where his investigations in plant physiology were chiefly conducted on marine plants. Much of the material he collected for his studies came from a grotto on the Bay of Pozzuoli, a grotto mentioned in Virgil's writings, and also near the town of Pozzuoli, where Saint Paul landed after his shipwreck on his journey to Rome.
Dr. Reed was appointed professor of plant physiology with the University of California and assigned to his duties with the Riverside Citrus Experiment Station in July, 1915. He is an authority of national reputation in his chosen field. His manual of Bacteriology, published in 1914, is one of the leading text books on that subject in use in agricultural colleges. He has written many other articles on plant physiology and plant pathology, published as bulletins or in scientific periodicals.
Dr. Reed was a delegate to and attended the Tenth International Congress of Agriculture at Ghent, Belgium. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a member of the American Botanical Society, a member of the American Society of Biological Chemists, the Phytopathological Society and president of its Pacific Division and past president of the San Jacinto section of the Western Society of Naturalists. Dr. Reed has also thoroughly interested himself in local affairs at Riverside and is a member of the City Park Board. He is a member of the Sigma Xi scientific fraternity, a republican, a member of the Calvary Presbyterian Church and the Kiwanis Club of Riverside. August 17, 1904, he married Mary Hannah Dewey, of Owosso, Michigan, in which state she was born. Her father, George M. Dewey, was for many years prominent in Michigan newspaper affairs. Her father is a first cousin of Admiral George Dewey. Mrs. Reed is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
During the winter of 1921-22, Dr. Reed visited Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica and Cuba, studying the plants and fruits of those countries. The trip was one of intense interest, and brought him in contact with many new phases of the fruit industry.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011