1951 Honorary Life Member Selections

JOHN TUCKER (1883 – 1959)

Born in England in 1883, John Tucker entered the Royal Navy in 1897 and travelled extensively. He was in the China, Korea and Japan area from 1902-1905 during the period of the Russo-Japanese war. Leaving the sea, he went into partnership with a brother in Ontario, Canada. in a vegetable crops and early potato production project in 1906, which continued until the outbreak of the first World War in August, 1914, when he joined the Canadian Naval Service and served at sea again, until 1918.

The Dominion Botanist, Dr. H. T. Gussow, secured John Tucker’s release from sea duties and, after a period of specialized training under tile late Dr. Paul A. Murphy, the virus disease specialist at that time, he introduced seed potato certification work into Manitoba in the spring of 1919 and later that year into Saskatchewan under the direction of the late Dr. W. P. Frazer, Plant Pathologist.

In 1920, he qualified as District Inspector in charge of seed potato certification work in Ontario (where the work had been under way since 1918) and continued in that capacity with headquarters at the Agricultural College, Guelph, until appointed Chief Inspector of the Dominion Certification Services at Ottawa in 1927. He continued in the latter serviceuntil his retirement in 1945. For the last two years of his service he was on loan to the Special Products Board as Manager of the Potato Section to regulate the sales and marketing for export of certified seed potatoes. During his twenty-seven years with the Dominion Certification service John Tucker travelled from coast to coast in Canada many times, and attended most of the principal potato field days as guest speaker. He was also a frequent visitor to the United States, and has spent nmch time in the potato fields of many other lands. For many years he was a regular attendant at the annual potato field days in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. In the late nineteen thirties he spent several months visiting all the principal potato growing areas throughout the United States from Maine to California. He was in Cuba on two occasions at the invitation of the Cuban Government and he visited, on special assignment, the countries of Colombia. Ecuador, Peru. Chili, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico.

John Tucker was a member of the Potato Association of America from 1920 to 1946. In the early thirties he was a member of the Executive for several years and was President of the Association for the years 1934 and 1935. He subscribed to the Journal from its inception, and contributed many articles for publication throughout the years. He was also a member of the Canadian Phytopathological Society from its inception. Other interests in potato improyement work included potato judging at fairs and Boys and Girls Club work. He has judged all the potato entries at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto, Canada, from its start in 1923 until 1946, and has judged practically every other large potato exhibition throughout Canada at one time or another, and at some in the United States of America including tbe well-known “Top-O-Michigan'” potato shows. In the Boys and Girls Club work, be prepared the contests for the potato section at the National Competitions from the beginning of that organization, and until recently judged the competitions and tlme Club entries at the annual final shows. He was recently honored for this work by being voted Honorarv Member of the Canadian Council on Boys and Girls Club Work.

Declining health in 1945 made it advisable to reduce his activities, lint quiet country living at his old home in the Province of Ontario fortunately has resulted in some improvement and he intends to continue the treatment for a while longer. John Tucker says he feels greatly honored to be chosen as the recipient of an Honorary Life Membership in the Association and remembers with gratitude the personal contacts he made with so manv members and their unfailing kindnesses towards him on every occasion in his long association with them.


Dr. William Hope Martin, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service, Rutgers University, was born June 3, 1890, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maine in 1915. Rutgers University awarded him his master of arts degree in 1917 and his doctor of philosophy degree in 1918.

From 1915 to 1918 Dr. Martin was research assistant in plant pathology at New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. He was associate plant pathologist there from 1919 to 1923 and pathologist since 1923. In 1926, he was named professor of plant pathology. He has been dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the experiment station since 1939. In 1945, he was appointed director of the Extension Service. During World War I, Dr. Martin served as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Forces.

Dr. Martin first became interested in potatoes when assigned to work on blight and scab control work about 1918. He was soon assigned to work on all types of potato research including fertilizer analysis and placement research — devoted much time to control of scab by use of sulfur, and discovered a close relationship between scab development and soil moisture.

He became secretary of the New Jersey State Potato Association soon after its organization in 1919 and served in that capacity until 1948. Dr. Martin was elected president of the Potato Association of America in 1923 and Secretary-Treasurer, and Editor of the American Potato Journal in 1933, a post which he held until 1948 when he relinquished the Secretary-Treasurer post to two successors but continued to act as Editor of the Journal to date.

Dr. Martin has guided the Potato Association through many difficult situations and has made the American Potato Journal a high class scientific Journal which is recognized as the scientific spokesman on white potato research throughout the world. In addition to his first love; potatoes, Dr. Martin is a recognized leader in many other agricultural fields.

In 1935 Dr. Martin was nanled director of research at the experiment station after serving a year as acting director during a leave of absence of the late Jacob Goodale Lipman, whom he succeeded in 1939. When the War Production Board in June, 1942, was confronted with a shortage of nitrogen, Dr. Martin was named consultant on chemicals to advise on farm fertilizers. He served part time in Washington and continued direction of the experiment station. In this position he wasable to effect substantial savings to industry and farmers through reducing the multiplicity of grades of fertilizer being produced.

During World War I I, Dr. Martin’s services were enlisted by the Federal Security Agency in conducting secret wartime research. During 1948 he devoted much time to the Committee on Agriculture of the Commission on Reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government, (the “Hoover Commission”) which studied the possibilities of streamlining the United States Department of Agriculture. Other organizations in which he holds membership include: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Phytopathological Society, Sigma Chi, Alpha Zeta and Sigma Xi fraternities.

For relaxation, Dr. Martin fishes, and vacations usually find him angling in Maine. His fondness for the sport was recognized by the New Jersey Potato Association in 1945, when members gave him a canoe with an electric outboard motor, along with other gifts, in appreciation of the 25 years he served the association as corresponding secretary. Dr. Martin promptly named the canoe “Spud.”

The Potato Association of America has been fortunate to have such an outstanding leader as the Editor of its Journal and it is with great pleasure that we bestow on him at this Annual Meeting an Honorary Life Membership in the Potato Association of America.