1952 Honorary Life Member Selections


Mr. Harold J. “Red” Evans, representative and champion of the potato industry in New York State, and also in the eastern part of the United States, of Georgetown, New York, was elected an honorary life member of the Potato Association of America at its Annual Meeting at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York on September 7, 1952.

“Let ‘Red’ do it” seems to be a favorite motto of potato growers and handlers in parts of eastern United States and also of “Red’s” fellow citizens of whatever occupation in Madison County, New York. “Red” has been “king pin” in a surprisingly great number of groups organized to look after the interests of potato growers and other agricultural and non-agricultural segments of the population.

Harold James Evans was born at Broadalbin, near Schenectady, New York, January 17, 1893. He was reared on a farm. In June, 1917, he graduated from Cornell University and in November of the same year married Elizabeth Brown. They have two sons, Norman B. and Harold J., Jr.

After graduation he was employed by the New York Agricultural Extension Service, being Assistant County Agent in Oswego County, 1917-1918, and County Agent for Nassau County, from 1918 to 1922. From 1922 to 1930 he was District Representative on Long Island for the Niagara Sprayer and Chemical Company, Inc.

Since 1930 he has been Secretary-Treasurer and, as such, General Manager of the New York Cooperative Seed Potato Association, Inc. Almost continuously since 1930 he has grown certified seed potatoes. In recent years poor health has, however, forced him to withdraw from active participation in the growing operations oll his own farm at Georgetown. The following list cites some of his additional occupations and services, present and recent. It is certainly impressive: Chairman of the Potato Advisory Committee under the Research and Marketing Act.

President, now and frequently in the past, of the Empire State Potato Club, the organization of potato growers in New York State. Vice-President for 1952, and also for 1949 and 1950, of the Vegetable Growers’ Association of America. Mr. Evans represents the Potato Section. Secretary-Treasurer of the Central New York Potato and Vegetable Council, a three-county group of growers.

Vice-Chairman of the New York State Soil Conservation Committee, 1947-1948, and Chairman of the Committee from 1948 to date. A member, during World War II years, of the Potato Advisory Committee to the United States Office of Price Administration, the Certified Seed Potato OPA Committee, and the Production and Marketing Administration Potato Advisory Committee for New York. Has been Director-at-large of the National Potato Council from its inception to the present.

The above record speaks for itself. Few of us have realized how large a part “Red” has played and is playing, under present political and sociological conditions, in the development of the potato industry in looking after the interests of those whose livelihood comes from the potato business.


Dr. Frederick J. Stevenson, Principal Geneticist, Division of Vegetable Crops and Diseases. Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Md., was elected an honorary life member of the Potato Association of America at its Annual Meeting in Cornell University, Ithaca, New York on September 7, 1952.

Dr. F. J. Stevenson has had a remarkable and varied career as a parent, teacher, and scientist. First, he is the father of eight children — 2 boys and 6 girls. His children are all college graduates except two, one of whom is in college at present and the other in junior high school. One son has his Ph.D. and the other has completed all his work for this degree with the exception of his thesis. Dr. Stevenson was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1886, where he received his elementary and secondary education. For several years he taught and acted as principal in the secondary schools of the State of Washington. The State College of Washington awarded him the degrees of Bachelor of Science in 1922, Master of Science in 1925, and Doctor of Philosophy in 1929.

From 1919 to 1922, Dr. Stevenson was an Assistant Farm Crops Specialist at the State College of Washington, and from 1922 to 1925 an Instructor and Superintendent of Practice Teaching. In 1925 he moved to the University of Minnesota as Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and remained there until 1930. Since then he has been associated with the United States Department of Agriculture as a geneticist, senior geneticist, and principal geneticist to lead the National Potato-Breeding Program, which was organized in 1930. Under the direction of Dr. Stevenson this program has been enlarged on a cooperative basis to include formal agreements among 25 States and the United States Department of Agriculture, and informal cooperation with 16 additional States. Also, informal cooperation is carried on with Canada and many other foreign countries.

The outstanding success and progress of the National Potato-Breeding Program since 1930 are largely due to the knowledge and ability of its leader, Dr. Stevenson, who directly and indirectly has been responsible for the introduction of 27 potato varieties since 1932. In 1951 these new varieties accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the certified potato seed produced in the United States and more than 70 per cent of the seed production in the three maritime provinces of Canada.

Breeding potato varieties resistant to virus, fungus, and bacterial diseases and superior in cooking and marketing qualities has been stressed with exceptional results by Dr. Stevenson. He has been responsible for the development of potato varieties and seedling varieties that show resistance to several diseases combined in them. His contributions to the literature on the cytology, breeding behavior, and genetic analysis for several disease-resistant characters have added immeasurably to the future information of the potato breeder. During his 22 years of research with potatoes he has become the leading authority in this country on potato investigations and has an enviable international reputation.