Scope and Contents
Language of Material:
University of California, Davis Library, University Archives
Title: Department of Pomology Records
University of California, Davis. Department of Pomology.
Identifier/Call Number: AR-015
13.6 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1912-1965
Abstract: The records of the Department of Pomology include correspondence,
course development materials, and an extensive set of photographic materials, including plates, prints, negatives, and
Physical Location: Researchers should contact Archives and Special
Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
Pomology is the only academic department in the United States devoted solely to fruit science. The University of
California, Davis Department of Pomology is responsible for instruction, research and continuing education related to the
biology and production of fruit and nut crops, maintenance of their postharvest quality and utilization of their many
products. The great diversity of fruit and nut crops, the value of their products, and the wide range of soil and climatic
conditions in California emphasize the unique role of the department.
The UC Davis Department of Pomology has historical roots that trace back to the beginnings of the University of
California. Public interest in agricultural instruction and research encouraged the California legislature to create the
University of California in 1868 with the first campus located at Berkeley. In 1905, the California University Farm Bill
authorized the University of California Regents to purchase land for the establishment of a University Farm School. In 1906,
Davisville was selected as the site for the University Farm. In 1907, the University Farm was dedicated and Davisville was
renamed Davis. By 1909, the University Farm School had opened at Davis. The UC Davis Department of Pomology began during the
1912-1913 fiscal year as the Division of Pomology located on the Berkeley campus after a reorganization of the Department
Horticulture there. The fledgling Division of Pomology was one of twenty-two divisions under the new Department of
Agriculture. Instruction was given at Berkeley as well as at the University Farm School at Davis. Research projects were
conducted at the University Farm as well as various agricultural experiment stations throughout the state of California.
Interdivisional cooperation at that time was very common. For example, research in fruit breeding was conducted with
collaboration from faculty in the Division of Genetics; investigations on irrigation practice and theory were conducted
jointly with the Division of Irrigation Investigations and Practice; studies in pest management were conducted together with
faculty from the Division of Entomology; while studies on specific fruit crops were often done in collaboration with the
Division of Viticulture and Fruit Products. Research in pruning, irrigation, soil fertility, pollination, and plant nutrition
produced historically relevant results that were of direct, practical benefit to the California fruit industry in the early
years of the Division of Pomology's founding. The work also contributed meaningfully to the scientific understanding of the
process of pollination and fertilization in fruit setting and fruit development. Study of fruit tree rootstocks was
incorporated with the student laboratory planting at Davis with rootstock material being included in the variety collections.
One of the more important areas of research begun in the first decade of the Division of Pomology was that of postharvest
handling, storage and shipping of fruit. Over the years the applications of the research have contributed to the effective
marketing of California fruits and fruit products across the country and around the world and so helped to assure the success
of the state's fruit industry overall.
As the University Farm began to change and grow, so too did the Division of Pomology. By 1922, the University Farm became
known as the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture of the University of California. In 1938, it was re-named the
College of Agriculture at Davis. In 1951, the College of Letters and Science at Davis was established and in 1952, the
College of Agriculture at Davis became independent from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1953, the Division of
Pomology became the Department of Pomology, gaining independence from the Department of Agriculture just as the University
California, Davis would gain its independence in 1959 when it was designated an independent campus of the University of
California. The Department of Pomology continued its previous studies in fruit variety improvement, soil and water
management, fruit thinning, and fruit harvesting, handling and storage while also expanding its research into investigating
the use of radiation for food preservation. Along with studying the possibilities for extending the storage life of fruits
irradiation, research in the mechanical methods of fruit handling was investigated cooperatively with the Department of
Agricultural Engineering along with research on bulk handling of fruit which brought about a major change in fruit handling
practices throughout most of the industry with a shift from the use of small field lug boxes to pallet bins for transporting
fruit from orchard to processing plant. Cooperative work with the Department of Food Science and Technology included work
fruit maturity and ripening in relation to canning practices and the quality of the processed product. Fruit breeding
programs made promising and dramatic progress especially with plums, peaches, nectarines, and strawberries.
Cooperative work extended beyond the University with the Department of Pomology playing a significant role during the
latter part of the 1960's and early 1970's in a cooperative education and research program, known as the "Convenio", between
the University of Chile and the University of California, designed particularly to assist the University of Chile to
strengthen its teaching and research in agriculture with the Department of Pomology assisting with fruit culture.
The UC Davis Department of Pomology is now part of the Department of Plant Sciences which was created by consolidating the
four commodity-based departments of Agronomy and Range Science, Pomology, Vegetable Crops and Environmental Horticulture.
This pooling of manpower and resources has fostered better focus on the teaching, research and outreach missions of one of
the leading academic programs in agricultural and environmental sciences in the country.
History by Steffany Caria
Scope and Contents
The collection includes correspondence, course development materials, and an extensive set of photographic materials,
including plates, prints, negatives, and slides.
Collection is open for research.
Liz Phillips encoded this finding aid with help from student assistant Aditi Sinha.
[Identification of item], Department of Pomology Records, AR-015, Archives and Special Collections, UC Davis Library,
University of California, Davis.
All applicable copyrights for the collection are protected under chapter 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code. Requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items. It is
not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
University of California,
Davis. Department of Pomology -- Archives
University of California, Davis -- History