1953 Honorary Life Member Selections

Honored at Annual Meeting of the Potato Association of America. Left to right: John Bacon, President Muncie, Stanley G. Peppin, F. A. Krantz and E. L. Newdick.

Honored at Annual Meeting of the Potato Association of America.
Left to right: John Bacon, President Muncie, Stanley G. Peppin, F. A. Krantz and E. L. Newdick.


John S. Bacon was born February 9, 189I at Westfield, N. J. He has been associated with the Potato Industry in one or more capacities for the greater part of his life. He has been head of the wholesale establishment, Bacon Brothers, Chicago, Illinois, since its origin in 1921. This firm grows, distributes and markets potatoes, both seed and table stock, from nearly all sections of the United States. It handles approximately 5000 carloads of potatoes annually and its customers and principals range from the smallest type of distributor to the largest of growers. Each customer, directly or indirectly, receives Mr. Bacon’s individual attention.

John Bacon has earned the respect and confidence of the entire trade for his efficient marketing methods, his ability to judge values and his desire to create and coordinate a feeling of close relationship between the widely different phases of the Potato Industry. His somewhat modest and retiring nature belies his boundless energy and seemingly limitless capacity for work.

Bacon’s interest in the problems ever present at the shipping point can perhaps best be exemplified by his many years of association with Starks Farms, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, both with the late Lelah Starks and before that with her father Leonard. He is, at the present time, a director of Starks Farms, Inc. The history of Starks Farms is legendary in the Potato Industry for its pioneering in the development of many hardy and good-yielding strains of seed potatoes. John Bacon is regularly consulted by the principals of that firm whose main objective is to carry on the good work of its founders. He, in conjunction with his brother Henry, has also been active in the development of Western North Dakota seed stock to the point where it is now preferred by growers in certain sections of the country.

John Bacon is a past president of the Chicago Carlot Potato Association and is a former member of the Potato Advisory Committee of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. He has been a member of the Potato Association of America for a number of years and recently became a sustaining member of that organization.

Countrywide the name of John Bacon is closely linked with the Potato Industry and a record of his contributions to all its phases cannot be condensed into a few short paragraphs. His ability and integrity have inspired confidence in the minds of potato growers, dealers and processors. The end result has been the development of one of the most outstanding potato distributing organizations in the United States. John Bacon deserves to be ranked with the leaders of the industry as having done an outstanding job in promoting the orderlv distribution of potatoes on a national scale.


Dr. F. A. Krantz was born at Westphalia, Iowa in 1890. He attended the school and college of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota, where he received the B. Sc. degree in 1918, M. Sc. in 1921. and Ph.D. in 1924. In 1919 he was made Instructor in Horticulture at Minnesota and thereafter advanced in rank to the position of Professor in 1937. Dr. Krantz has been engaged in potato breeding and in the study of potato genetics since approximately 1918. He was aware from the early beginnings of his work that most of the standard potato varieties then grown were poor prospects as parents of improved varieties because of their heterozygosity and their relative pollen sterility and lack of bloom. With characteristic patience, Dr. Krantz began a program to build up a superior breeding stock which could be used as parents of improved varieties. Through studies of the inheritance of pollen fertility and the application of the principles derived from these studies he has produced potential parent selections which are highly fertile, but which can be combined to produce varieties of low fertility and correspondingly high tuber vield.

But a program of alternate inbreeding and outbreeding these parents have also been brought to a relatively high degree of homozygosity for the important economic characters of the potato. This parent material is one of Dr. Krantz’ chief contributions to potato breeding since many of the clones exceed the ordinary varieties in certain important commercial characteristics. Most of the eight or more varieties which Dr. Krantz has developed and released have been superior with respect to earliness, low tuber set, and uniformity and quality of tubers. They have found acceptance where such characteristics are especially important. The general usefulness of the parent selections is acknowledged by the extensive use other breeders have made of them in their own potato improvement work. Dr. Krantz’ experience and discoveries in potato breeding have been published in three bulletins which are classics for their content and straight-forward exposition. Numerous other papers record the results of his studies of inheritance in the potato of tuber color, scab resistance, and other characters in which fundamental contributions to the knowledge of potato genetics were made.

Students studying with Dr. Krantz have enjoyed the privilege of working beside him in the laboratory and in the field at Castle Danger, Minnesota. This opportunity (too often rare in student-teacher relationships) has enabled his students to learn well not only plant breeding, but many other phases of scientific agriculture.

Dr. Krantz has given generously of his time and wisdom in the organizational aspects of the potato industry, including the Potato Association of America, of which he was president in 1938.

He was active in the establishment of the National Potato Breeding Program, and has served on several committees interested in potato improvement. Because of his contributions to potato culture as a research worker and teacher the Potato Association honored itself by electing Dr. Krantz to honorary life membership on September 7, 1953.


E. L. Newdick was born in Georgetown, Maine, March 8, 1888. His studies at the University of Maine were interrupted by service in the Army during the First World War. He first served the Maine Department of Agriculture in 1908 and returned to its employment after the war and has served in the Division of Plant Industry continuously since 1919.

The State of Maine has indeed been fortunate during the past forty years to have as a part of its potato industry the services of E. L. Newdick. Probably no one individual has done more to develop Maine’s seed industry and promote the use of better seed potatoes than has “Dick” by which name he is commonly known. He took the ball, so to speak, around 1914 at which time seed improvement work in Maine was almost unheard of. Probably the most important key to “Dick’s” success in this venture has been his inborn desire to see the right things done and his uncanny ability to handle individuals in such a way as to accomplish this end. Throughout his years of work with seed potatoes he has used as a guide the council of the best research workers in the field. He has taken these results and interpreted them into their practical forms and then sold them to the potato growers of Maine.

He has always demonstrated his ability to be a leader not only in his field of specialized work but also in his every day life. These qualities led to “Dick’s” appointment as Chief of the Division of Plant Industry in 1922. The University of Maine recognized Mr. Newdick by awarding him an honorary Master of Science degree in 1939. His fellow employees in the State House have looked to him for leadership many times in both social and business capacities. His leadership was again recognized in 1948 when he was elected president of The Potato Association of America.

In 1947-1948 he was also chosen to tour Europe as a collaborator in agricultural relations for the U. S. State Department. He started certification in Maine in 1914 and has helped build it up to a point where Maine now ships approximately 8,000 carloads of certified seed annually to approximately 20 states. As this industry grew and the problems grew with it many functions became needed to service it. Some of these are the Florida Test, Foundation Roguing Service, and the Maine Seed Potato Board. Pages could be written explaining these functions but suffice it to say that they all are a necessary part of this growing industry.

Probably the one function he has worked at the hardest and which is his favorite is the Seed Board’s Super Foundation Farm at Masardis. This is a state-operated seed improvement farm, established in 1947 as a source of the highest quality foundation seed for the foundation seed growers of Maine. The success of this venture can best be judged by the demand for the seed being produced on this farm which is sold in small lots to seed growers in the state for planting seed plots. Demand for this seed has increased steadily since the farm was started until the present time, it is difficult to furnish growers with the quantity of seed of the various varieties requested. He has acted as secretary of the Seed Board and as such has actually been general manager of this project. It certainly is a very important link in the chain of better seed production. These are some of the achievements that make E. L. Newdick a worthy recipient of honorary life membership in the Potato Association of America.


Sydney George Peppin was born in Bristol, England, December 15th, I885. He attended Public Schools and Queen Elizabeth’s private school in that City, graduating from the latter with a certificate of the Cambridge Junior Examinations. He came to Canada in 1904 and entered the Public Service in the Dominion Department of Agriculture in 1914 as a Potato Inspector in the Division of Botany. In 1916 he was appointed Assistant to the late Dr. Paul A. Murphy, Pathologist-in-Charge of the Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Under his direction he organized the Canadian Seed Potato Certification Service in that province in 1917 as well as carrying on extensive investigatorial work on Potato Diseases, with special reference to virus diseases, of which little was known at that time. He continued to work under Dr. Paul Murphy until early in 1920, at which time Dr. Murphy returned to Ireland.

Early in 1920 he was instrumental in forming the Prince Edward Island Potato Growers’ Association, as it had then become apparent there were immense possibilities for the production and sale of Certified Seed Potatoes. He was, however, more concerned with the production end, although at the same time he gave careful study to the requirements and desires of the purchasers of seed potatoes.

For several years he carried on the investigational work instituted by Dr. Murphy. As District Inspector in charge of Seed Potato Certification in Prince Edward Island he was instrumental in building up the acreage devoted to seed potatoes from a few acres in 1918 to a high of 32,079 acres in 1928, with the Irish Cobbler and Green Mountain varieties then mostly in demand.

In 1924 Mr. Peppin was honored by being elected Vice President of the Potato Association of America. His interest in the Potato Association has continued throughout his many years of service to the potato industry. The next decade saw a somewhat reduced acreage, although the annual average amounted to some 17,500 acres. During the next decade from 1941 to 1950 the annual average acreage under inspection in Prince Edward Island amounted to approximately 25,600 acres, with an all time high reached in 1948 of 38,743 acres.

It was during this period from 1918 until his retirement from the Public Service in 1950 that he saw a build-up in the trade of Certified Seed Potatoes, from a part carload of less than 500 bushels to more than 3,700,000 bushels in 1950. This trade involved shipping to many states in the United States, as well as to most of the other Republics of North and South America, also to Europe and Africa, and to all the Provinces of Canada. He travelled extensively in the United States and made one trip to Cuba promoting the use of Canadian Certified Seed. It is interesting to record here that he introduced the Sebago variety to Prince Edward Island by obtaining a 15-pound sample from Dr. Charles Clark, Presque Isle, Maine in 1939 and has seen that variety become so popular that by 1953 there were more than 16,000 acres entered for inspection, all of which emanated from that original peck sample.

Now after a period of 36 years in handling certification work, as well as catering to nearly 4000 growers annually, Peppin feels that he is entitled to take it easy and allow his successors to carry on.