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Title: Dr. R. B. Becker
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024709/00001
 Material Information
Title: Dr. R. B. Becker
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Becker, R. B. ( Interviewee )
Miller, Joyce ( Interviewer )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: October 28, 1976
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Bibliographic ID: UF00024709
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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DATE: October 28, 1976

M: I am Joyce Miller. I am interviewing Dr. R. B. Becker at the Dairy
Science Department on the University of Florida campus. It is
October 28, 1976 at three o'clock in the afternoon. Dr. Becker and
I will be discussing life in the 1930s in Gainesville. I would like
to start out by just asking Dr. Becker when you came to the university
and what the university looked like the first time you saw it in 1929?

B: Dr. Arthur L. Shealy [Head Professor Animal Husbandry] invited me to
come and visit the university in October of 1928. He met me at the
Atlantic Coastline Railway station. First he took me to the White
House Hotel which formerly had been the dormitory for the local
academy which preceded the University of Florida. Then we went to
see the dairy barn and the dairy herd. The dairy herd was mostly
Jerseys at that time, except there were three Guernsey cows and one
Dutch Belted cow that belonged to the College of Agriculture but were
kept there. One cow was kept there because it belonged to the former
president of the university for his milk supply.

M: Is that Dr. Murphree that you are referring to?

B: That was Dr. Murphree who owned that cow, but all of the others have
been property of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station from the
very beginning of the herd. When the herd was at Lake City, the
cows were owned by the experiment station.

M: Where was the dairy barn at that time?

B: That was the second dairy barn on the campus. It was immediately south
of the auditorium. The cows had to walk a mile from there to the
pasture because some of the university facilities had grown around and
taken up the area and used it for other purposes. The plant introduction
garden was one which was jointly U. S. Department of Agriculture.

M: You say they had to walk a mile to...?

B: They had to walk a mile to the nearest corner of the pasture. So they
only got to the pasture once a day. For the remainder of the day they
were fed corn silage, or sorghum silage which was stored in monolithic
concrete silos that John M. Scott [Assistant Director to the Experiment
Station] had built there in 1914.

M: You started teaching in 1929?

B: I was employed totally by the experiment station, but as soon as I
came, Professor EClaude H.] Willoughby [Head Professor of Animal
Husbandry and Dairying], who was very heavily overloaded in the
teaching field, asked me to teach nutrition for him. He was using
a textbook by H. P. Armsby. That was the textbook that I followed,
as he had started with it.

M: Willoughby is a relation to Mrs. Alice Parrish?

B: Yes, C. H. Willoughby was her father.

M: When you came here in 1929, where did you come from?

B: I came from Oklahoma A & M [Oklahoma State University of Agriculture
and Applied Science] at Stillwater, Oklahoma.

M: Florida had already been somewhat experiencing the Depression because
we had the bust in 1926. In 1929 when the Depression came and through-
out the rest of the country in '30 and '31, do you recall that Depres-
sion and anything about Gainesville such as soup lines?

B: Yes, there were. The tax situation and the funds in the capitol at
Tallahassee were very, very restricted. The university at that time
and the experiment station were dependent upon what they called the
general fund. The state road department had its own separate funds,
and they were untouchable so far as others were concerned. But after
four and a half months without any paycheck for the campus labor and
staff, Oscar Thomas and C. E. (Tootey) Perry went to Tallahassee and
talked with Governor Carlton. Governor Carlton withdrew state road
department funds so as to take up that slack until the next legislature
could again make provision for taxes to come into the general fund.

M: Do you recall any effects on the town?

B: Yes, the grocers and other people in town, the merchants, many of them
just accepted charge accounts for their customers. So they were in a
very difficult situation.

M: How did it effect your family in particular?

B: It happened that Ihad a little nest egg that I could draw on, but it
would not last long. So we were able to piece out the four-and-a-half-
month period without any paycheck at all.

M: When President Roosevelt was elected, was there a change in attitude
among professors and among the townspeople as to maybe hope for the

B: I think the Depression period was part of the reason that he was
elected. And it did. It affected not only the state legislature,
but it affected all of the state. Earlier, the forest people's lands
had been taxed. So they hurried to cut all of the pine off of the good
land. Then they allowed that land to revert to the state for non-
payment of taxes. The legislature made a provision that anyone who
would pay the taxes for three consecutive years on a piece of land that
had been tax delinquent could get a clear title to it. In that way,
the tax situation came back to a little better balance, and allowed
the state treasury. with action of the state legislature, to put
funds in there. They were for the university, which is an important
part of the income for this town. They could receive their regular
payroll and pay their bills with the grocers and the dealers in the town.

M: Do you recall specifically the price of milk and how that was effected
after the New Deal?

B: Yes, the price of milk originally had been very competitive, especially
in the summer period when there were no tourists in the state. With
the lack of tourist trade, sometimes in order not to have to just dump
out the milk, the producers would reduce their price down to even lower
than the cost of producing it.

M: What kind of feed did you use for the dairy cows during the Depression
when cost of feed was so high and upkeep was so high?

B: At that time, the average production for a milk cow wasn't so very
great, but if they don't have feed, they don't make milk.

M: So you would sacrifice other things in the department perhaps or in
the Agricultural Experiment Station?

B: Yes, the production was not so very high. In fact, the income from
the dairy herd maintained the animal husbandry department for six:
months of the year. The state appropriation took care of six months
and the income from the milk that was sold to the cafeteria through
Mr. Klein Graham, the business manager, financed the animal husbandry
department for the remaining six months of the year.

M: You mentioned Mr. Graham. Maybe you can tell me something about Mr.
Graham's role on campus. Was he well known? What kind of reaction
was there to Mr. Graham on campus?

B: Mr. Graham was a very efficient and considerate man in his management
of university business. In fact, one time he came and asked if we
could reduce the price of milk to the cafeteria. I told him that with
our cost of feed that had to be purchased and with the students that
were employed at the dairy farm, it would be impossible. He said,

M: And just accepted it.

B: Just accepted.

M: Was that pretty typical of Mr. Graham?

B: Mr. Graham had a great deal of business experience with the university.
He started first as a bookkeeper at Lake City, and he was business
manager from that time right straight on until he retired.

M: What was your impression of Dr. Tigert while you were here as a pro-

B: Dr. Tigert was a very capable man with very limited facilities from
the state legislative appropriations. He had to be with just one
objective at a time. His objective was primarily to get a building for
the College of Education. He did that, but he had to leave some other
things totally undone.

M: Let us talk a little about the town and what the town was like. Where
did you live in town during the thirties?

B: When we first came here just after Christmas Day of 1928, there was
almost no place to room except a hotel. We found a one-room apartment
until our household goods came from Oklahoma. Then Mr. Bruce McKinley
moved out to a house that they had just built. He said for us to make
an application for that house that they vacated. So we did make appli-
cation for that house which was just half a block from the Thomas Hotel
in the northeast part of Gainesville.

M: Were the roads between the university and your home paved at that time
or were they dirt roads?

B: Part of them were paved. University Avenue was paved in large part,
and down around the courthouse in the central part of town. Some of
the streets were paved but the majority of them were just dirt roads.

M: What kind of things did you do and your family do for entertainment
during the thirties? Did you ever go to the Lyric Theater?

B: There were just two movie houses in town. We very seldom went at all
because of the hours that it took for work. When work was over, I
was tired enough to just stay home in the main part. Work took me on
the road a good deal of the time, too. I researched the problems
connected with livestock among the experiment station duties.

M: Did you ever go to any of the springs in the area for swimming?

B: Yes, there was just one spring in the town that Mr. Addison Pound owned.
It was possible, with a small fee, to go swimming. I did not swim
there because Ihave not been able to swim on account of a handicap
in World War I.

M: Do you happen to recall the cost to go to that spring? Do you happen
to recall the price to go swimming in that spring?

B: I think the price was twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for a
child. I may be in error in that, but that is my recollection.

M: What about restaurants? Did you ever eat in any of the restaurants
such as the Primrose Inn or the College Inn?

B: The Primrose was the one good restaurant in town. The others were
fairly popular, but my wife was too good a cook, we just did not
eat out very much, especially with the children small. We had one
daughter when we came that was a year and a half old. Then some years
after that, we had a son and later another daughter. So we mostly
ate at home.

M: You mentioned that you lived within a block of the Hotel Thomas for
a while. Did you ever go to the Hotel Thomas?

B: Only when there were programs with the extension people or some other
organization like that. Once a year there was a special supper there
following an agricultural organization meeting in town. We ate
supper there after that meeting.

M: Do you recall your impressions of the place? Was it very elaborate
for the time?

B: I would not call it elaborate exactly, but it was very neat and well
cared for. It was owned at that time by the Thomas family. They took
good care of it.

M: Did you ever visit the White House Hotel during the thirties?

B: No, except later the Rotary Club met in the White House Hotel in their
dining room on Tuesday noon. When I was invited there, I ate there.
Later on, I became a member but they moved from the White House Hotel
to another dining room that was maintained by some people from the
First Methodist Church.

M: Do you recall the tung industry in town and where the tung trees were
located or anything in relation to tung oil?

B: Yes. The federal research department for tung was on the campus. Some
trees were on the campus, but west of town about two miles or perhaps
a little more, there was quite a large tung grove. In the north edge of

the county, there was another tung grove. The tung industry was
quite progressive in that early time with the laboratory on the campus
for the research work. But later on other products took the place
of tung oil and it gradually has decreased until the present time,
there is almost no industry. The laboratory which was on the campus
was a federal laboratory, which was discontinued.

M: I was wondering if you remember some of the parades in town for the
tung oil festival?

B: No, I did not see the tung oil festival, but there was one thing in:
connection with tung oil that was not in its favor. They trimmed some
branches off of the tung trees and dumped them over the fence in the
pasture. The leaves were toxic. Several cows died.

M: Oh! What happened after that?

B: They did not dump any more in the pasture.

M: Do you remember the football games during the thirties that the univer-
sity played? Did you attend any?

B: No, I did not. Usually when Saturday came and the football games were
on, I attended almost none at all. But Coach Bachman, who was one of
the football coaches at that time, had been the football coach at
Kansas State Agricultural College during the time I was working there,
before he came to the University of Florida. He went from here to
Michigan and had a very excellent record up there until he retired.

M: Do you recall the way the students dressed around campus?

B: At the early time, of course, it was only boys. The girls all were at
Florida State College for Women at Tallahassee. So I think after the
girls came, the boys were a little bit more attentive as to the appear-
ance of their dress.

M: At that time in the thirties, were there women here during the summer
working on teaching programs?

B: Just during the summer period when teachers from all over the state
came for special courses that were offered. But during the remainder
of the year, unless a lady was past twenty-one years old, and was in-
terested in a subject that was not offered at Florida State College
for Women, she was not allowed to attend.

M: As far as the town went in the thirties, do you recall where you did your
grocery shopping?

B: Most of the grocery shopping at the time was done close around the court-
house and just across the street from the courthouse on the--I forget the
names of the grocery stores.

M: What about the clothing stores?

B: The clothing store was on the opposite side of the courthouse until
the fire wiped out almost that entire side of the courthouse--the
Thomas hardware, the shoe shop, a clothing store, a millinery store.
It took all but one building on that side of the block. That building
had a godd fire wall, and the firemen were able to protect that
building, but none of the others.

M: Did you see the fire yourself or do you just recall hearing about it
the next day?

B: No, we went to watch the fire.

M: In the middle of the night?

B: Yes, it burned for quite a little while. I the back of the Thomas hard-
ware, they had some paint and oil. When the fire got into that, there
was no way to prevent it from going under the facilities that they had
for fire protection at that time.

M: How did you hear about it, on the radio?

B: No, church bells were rung around town.

M: Was there a big crowd watching it that evening?

B: The people who came to watch stood back across the street, both to
be away from the heat and also to be out of the way of the firemen.

M: What about furniture stores? Where did you buy your furniture in town
at that time?

B: We moved our furniture with us from Stillwater, Oklahoma, but there was
a good furniture store, the Cox Furniture Company. They're still in

M: Did you get around between your home and the campus in a car or did
you use public transportation such as taxis, or walk?

B: There was no public transportation other than taxis. Very seldom I
took a taxi. Usually I got up in time to be at work on time and it
meant that I was late back home at night because it was two miles from
the campus to where we lived.

M: You mentioned that you had three children after you came to Gainesville.
Because of those children, do you recall some of the elementary schools
or anything about the public school system in Gainesville?

B: Yes, there was no kindergarten. There were private kindergartens that
each parent paid for the kindergarten service. The first kindergarten
that was public was at the P. K. Yonge Laboratory School on the
campus that Dr. Tigert was very much interested in and had that building

M: Do you remember any of the activities the schools ran that involved

B: Yes, unfortunately, I do remember because there was a policy that had
been put down from overhead that the teachers were to just allow a
youngster to do what he was most interested in. It happened that our
son George was interested in drawing airplanes and ships and boats.
When he was not doing that, he was reversing it and drawing boats and
ships and airplanes. He did not learn to read or spell until Dr.
Crago called my wife's attention to it and told us that he was three
years behind where he should be in ability to read and spell. He told
us to work at home at night with him. So every evening when I came
home during World War II, George and I sat down on the sofa and read.
We took alternate turns line by line. I would take one and he would
take one. Then I would take the next one and he the fourth one.
Also, Dr. Crago had us fix a word board that would expose just one
word at a time for him to say what word it was. By the time that
he finished high school, he was caught up almost to a year behind what
he should have been. But when he came to enter the university, he
failed in English the first year and had to take it over. That was
important because in his present work as artist for the television
station in Asheville, North Carolina, there must be no misspelled
words that go on the slides that are used over the air.

M: In these experiences at school, was this at P. K.?

B: That was at P. K. Yonge School.

M: This is when it was located where Norman Hall is today?

B: Where Norman Hall is today on the campus.

M: I understand you have been active in social organizations like the
Rotary and your church. Do you remember any events or activities that
took place?

B: Yes. Preacher U. S. Gordon had come a year before I arrived in Gainesville.
He had a very great influence, not only on that church but on all of
the other denominations over town and with the Christian athletic asso-
ciation. He was known all up and down the whole eastern seabord. I
was making up a Rotary attendance one time in Pennsylvania and sat be-
side a man who asked me, "Where are you from?" "From Florida." "What
part of Florida?" "From Gainesville." "Do you know Preacher Gordon?"

M: All the way in-Pennsylvania.

B: That was in Pennsylvania.

M: This the preacher that just recently died about a month ago?

B: Yes, that was Preacher U. S. Gordon.

M: I understand from some friends that it was the largest funeral ever in

B: Yes, many people could not even get inside the church in the auditorium

M: Do you recall the Seagle Building downtown and what it looked like in
the thirties?

B: The Seagle Building was totally vacant in the thirties. Georgia Seagle,
who was the daughter of one of the clothing people, then bought that
building and restored it to complete the building. It was just a
skeleton as far as it had gone. She donated it to the University of
Florida in the name of her brother that had been successful in the
clothing business.

M: What did the building look like?

B: The building at the time that we came was just the concrete structural
part. It had no bricks or walls in it at that time. There was a base-
ment, and the basement had water in it. There was nothing in it. When
Georgia Seagle took it over, it was completed. It was used by the
University of Florida Museum and the upper parts of it were used with
extension people for advanced extension educational work. Part of it
was used for storage. Part of it was the State Plant Board that had
offices on one floor. Dr. Newell, who was the head of the agricultural
part for the whole campus, also was the Florida Plant Commissioner. So
that part came under him, logically.

M: What did the campus look like at that time in the 1930s?

B: Most of the campus was quite open. There are about more than twice
as many buildings. I think close to three times as many buildings now
as there were then. The dairy barn was immediately south of the
present auditorium. The first dairy barn on the campus before the Uni-
versity of Florida moved here from Lake City was west of the engineering
building. That barn had been abandoned, but we were allowed to clean it
up and restore it. We used it as a nutrition laboratory for our controlled
feeding work with calves and with cows, and digestion trials with dried
citrus pulp and with other products of that kind. Calves were used in
the early mineral nutrition work with regard to what they called "salt

sick." We found that was due to lack of one of three things or a
combination of three: iron, copper, and cobalt. The first was pub-
lished in 1931 and the cobalt part was published in 1937.

M: Do you recall any of the other buildings on campus, such as the dormi-
tories that were here at that time?

B: One of them was the very first building that was built on the campus.
It was used for a laboratory and offices. I forget the name of it. Then
the other dormitories were built. There were no women's dormitories at
that time.

M: Could that have been Buckman or Thomas?

B: It was Buckman Hall.

M: Did you ever fear, at that time, walking around campus late at night
or walking abound the town at night or were things fairly calm and

B: We first came here during Prohibition. Prohibition was all a theory.
There was moonshine available to anyone who knew where to go and get it.
At one end of the block where we lived, there was a car wreck on one
Saturday night. The next Saturday night there was a wreck on the other
end of the block. Mrs. Becker, Harriet, decided that we were going to
move away from there. She was afraid because our son, who was just a
little tot then, had a little red wagon. He wanted to get out on the
street and go up and down. She was afraid that he would have an
accident. So we moved.

M: This time you moved to....

B: We moved five blocks west of the city limits, which was about as distant
from work as the White House Hotel area had been when we first came.

M: Where were the city limits at that time?

B: The city limits were just west of the present president's house on
West University Avenue.

M: Do you recall any of the government in Gainesville during the thirties?
Any of the mayors, such as Mr. Batey, Tench, Mr. Dell, or any of the
government people?

B: Yes, Hal Batey was a dealer in feeds when we came. A man from Jack-
sonville came over to try to sell some citrus pulp that was partially
dried and had been stored at Sanford. The dealer obtained it by paying
the warehouse storage on it. Hal Batey was the one who came with the
county agent, Albert Lawton, with this feed dealer from Jacksonville to
Dr. Hume's office, Assistant Director of Agriculture at the time in the

experiment station, to see if it was anything better than sawdust in-
sofar as feed was concerned. That was the start of our part of the
dried citrus pulp. John M. Scott had fed the very first citrus pulp
in this state or perhaps anywhere in 1925 to the dairy herd in what we
used to call the new dairy barn south of the auditorium on the campus.

M: When did you begin your research with citrus?

B: I had to go to Havana, Cuba, on a job, and Dr. CH. Harold] Hume
[Assistant Dean, College of Agriculture] requested me to stop in
Tampa on the way back from Havana to see the man who had formerly been
in charge of the citrus canner near Bradenton, Florida. But the
canning division had been voted out the previous year, and so there were
no opportunity to work with them. But just a little later, the man
from Jacksonville started to make partially dried citrus pulp between
two canneries on the northwest part of Tampa. That was available for
the first two years. The dryer was an old discarded coal dryer and
it was very inefficient. Sometimes it would overheat and burn. He
would have to close down to stop the fire. Dr. Hume went down to see
the dryer. He was very much disgusted with it. So he required one of
the men on the staff, W. M. Neal, to look into dryers. Neal applied a
chemical addition that causes the bound water in the pectin to be re-
leased so that you could just squeeze it out with your hand. That was
the beginning of the present dried citrus pulp industry which is now
expanded so that it takes one-half of the weight of the material that
goes into the citrus canneries, mostly for citrus orange concentrate.

M: About what year was this?

B: I would have to look on the record to be sure [1936 and 19383.

M: That is okay because we can get that later. Do you recall the feeling
of the university and the town together? Were there separate social
events for both or were the relationships between the town and the
university very good?

B: All the way through I think there has been a very good relationship
between Gainesville and the business centers downtown because they were
so dependent upon that part of the population for their business.

M: You would frequently go to activities in which non-university personnel
were also involved?

B: There was a University Women's Club. Mrs. Welmon Newell was one of
the leaders in it. That was not restricted to the station or campus.
Any women in town who were university graduates-and there were quite a
few in other lines of work who were members there.

M: How about the cost of living between then and now? For instance, the cost
of what you were paying on your house? What kind of comparison between
then and today?

B: Inflation has been so great that there is practically no comparison. For
instance, a house that cost $2,900 on three lots at one time with ter-
mite infestation in it, has cost me about three times to just to complete
the termite eradication.

M: Do you recall any controversy in the thirties about the Cross Florida
Barge Canal?

B: There was very little said on it at the beginning so far as the people
in Gainesville that heard say, but at the present time there is a very
great deal of opposition about it.

M: I understand you had some connection with malaria in the thirties. Maybe
you could explain that.

B: Yes, malaria was very widespread intown when we first came. In fact,
it was so widespread that all of my family except me had malaria. Dr.
Tillman, who was our physician, suggested that the family go to a
wives' home in Ohio for all summer long, take medication and try to
get rid of it. The town had mosquito inspectors that went to each
yard to see that there were no standing water in any container. Those
inspectors found a boat just over the side fence that had water standing
in it and full of mosquito wigglers.

M: In your home?

B: Just across the fence from our home.

M: Was it widespread? Did quite a few people in town have malaria?

B: Oh, malaria was very widespread. That was why it was that the town put
on mosquito inspectors as a part of their work.

M: Were there any other major diseases that you can recall from that period?

B: Not necessarily major diseases, but in the early period when people did
not know as much about nutrition as they do now, many of the people
who came in from the country where they are on a live-at-home program,
the wife commented especially how scrawny they looked. In other words,
they were anemic from lack of iron and perhaps copper in their foods
that they were growing on the live-at-home program in the surrounding
area, and even to some extent in town.

M: I am not familiar with the live-at-home program. What is that?

B: They buy very little except maybe sugar and salt and perhaps a little bit
of meat that they cannot catch in the way of fish. They depend wholly
upon vegetables that have been grown on the local land.

M: Were quite a few people living like that around this area?

B: Oh, yes, it was quite common, especially in the rural population close
around town.

M: Do you recall Professor [Ludwig W.3 Buchholz [Professor of Bible]?

B: Yes, that is the old Professor Buchholz, who was teacher of religion on
the campus. Yes, he was very strict.

M: Did you know his son?

B: Yes, his son was the principal of the high school down at Buchholz
High School downtown.

M: When they refer to Prof Buchholz, are they referring to the son, who
was the principal or do you know?

B: Dr. Buchholz was the man who had come from Tampa to have charge of a
religious program on the campus, but Fritz Buchholtz was the son who
was principal of the high school downtown. Fritz was a very strict man
and he had very good control over the discipline of the school. There
was no foolishness. It was all school.

M: Do you recall any of the black leaders in town in the thirties such as
Charles Chestnut or A. Quinn Jones?

B: Yes, Charles Chestnut was the undertaker, and his son is running for a
position on the....

M: A member of the school board now.

B: A member of the school board at the present time.

M: Did you ever meet any of the black leaders or did you know them personally?

B: I never knew them personally, but Dr. Shealy, our head of the department,
did. At one time on the station, farm, Henry Zeigler, who was the station
foreman,had, I think, seven black preachers and some deacons working on
the labor staff on the experiment station farm.

M: Was this quite unusual to have blacks employed through the university?

B: No. Many were employed that way. At Oklahoma A & M where I came from,
there were none on the campus then, but there are at the present time.

M: What about the doctors and dentists in town? Do you recall who was
your doctor and any interesting experiences going to the doctor?

B: Yes, Dr. Tillman was our doctor. When he had to be away for one vaca-
tion period, he assigned Dr. J. H. McClamrock to fill his vacancy.
Dr. McClamrock has been our family doctor from that time until today.
Perhaps the leading physician of Gainesville was Dr. W. R. Thomas.
He got the physicians of this town and county and of the state to work
together where prior to his leadership, they worked each one to himself.

M: Do you recall a dentist that you had at that time?

B: Our dentist was Dr. Tyson who had an office upstairs over the Florida
Theater. One of the men who was with him, Dr. G. W. Schwalbe, who is
still a dentist in town, but he takes on no new patients because of the
time required for new patients.

M: You mentioned that their office was above the Florida Theater. Is that
where the Florida Theater was five years ago, and where the Great
Southern Music Hall is now?

B: It is still there.

M: What about an attorney? Did you ever have any chanceto interact with
an attorney in town, and if so, who was that?

B: No, the only time that I have had any necessity for an attorney was in
the settlement of my wife's estate after she passed away in 1947.

I: Do you recall listening to WRUF radio at that time, and any of the programs
that they had on WRUF?

B: Yes, under J. Francis Cooper, there were a succession of men who carried
on what they called the Florida Farm Hour. Everyone on the staff was
called on to help with that at various times. In fact, there was one
incident especially that was significant. Wheinthe experiment station
was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, J. Francis Cooper called on a
number of the people who had done certain parts of the experimental work
in the station. He called on WCayne] M.Neal [Associate Professor of
Animal Nutrition] and me to talk about the work on mineral nutrition,
the "salt sick" it was called. Nutritional anemia is "salt sick." Some
people on a farm in northwestern Michigan were listening to that program.
The wife said to the husband, "Is not that very similar to what they call
'Lake Shore disease' up here?" "Yes, it is," he said. So they talked
with their county agent, but he did not know anything about it. Then
the county agent talked with the druggist and the Veterinarian. To them
it was a strange language, but they got the extension dairyman, A. C.
Baltzer. Baltzer got ahold of"Short"'C. E. Huffman, who was at the
experiment station. He knew the work that had been done at the Florida
station. Shorty wrote me. So we sent him a mimeograph that was being
used with the county agents and others in Florida, the veterinarians and

whoever was necessary. That was the beginning of the conclusion of
Lake Shore disease because they knew how to handle and prevent it.

M: I have asked you quite a few questions. Maybe you would like to just
tell me anything else about the thirties that you recall.

B: When we first came to look over the station as a possibility of being
employed here, the thing that struck me especially was the number of
cows in the herd that had broken either hips or ribs or both. I
did not comment about it because it was just an observation. But before
I came in December, 1928, one cow, number 59 UF, a sixteen-year-old
Jersey cow, was down with a broken pelvis. Dr. Shealy had saved her.
Dr. Dorsey CA.] Sanders [Head, Department of Veterinary Science] helped
to autopsy that cow, and pictures of her bones have been used in Brazil
just in the last few weeks.

M: From back then?

B: From back then. Dr. eLee R. McDowell [Assistant Professor of Tropical
Animal Science3 borrowed those pictures, and he just came back from
Brazil. I just saw him in the office this week. He was returning a
a photograph of those bones.

M: Did you want to say anything else about perhaps not the university but
perhaps the town in the thirties?

B: I don't recall anything especially. Was there anything in the notes
that I had?

M: Did not the White House Hotel have its own dairy at one time and supply
its own milk?

B: Yes, Oscar Thomas of that family was the one who supplied the milk.
He was one of the largest dairymen in town. The university did not
sell any milk off of the campus by a ruling of the Board of Control.
We bought milk from him because we were off the campus.

M: Then the dairy for the White House Hotel would be a dairy that would
do commercial business also with the town.

B: Yes, it was Oscar Thomas. On the northwest part of Payne's Prairie was
his dairy located.

M: Were there any other dairies in town at that time?

B: Yes, there were a number of small dairies scattered around town. The
Carlton Dairy was over at Hawthorne, but Mr. and Mrs. Blake had a
dairy down in what is now just west of Hogtown Creek. Northwest of
Payne's Prairie there was a widow lady who was operating a dairy.
"Tooty" Perry had his own dairy. First it was up near Pickerson Springs,
and then he moved that dairy down southwest of Payne's Prairie.

M: Were these all commercial dairies or strictly family dairies?

B: They were all commercial dairies, but there were family cows in town
too, just as the former president of the university bought a family
cow and placed her with the experiment station herd so as to get his
milk supply from there.

M: Besides the president of the university, could an average person in
town buy a cow and give it to your station to take care of?

B: No, that was the only cow outside of Professor Willoughby's cows that
were in the station herd. The station herd was very small at that time
when we came. In fact, when we came there were twenty-eight cows and
the accompanying numbers of young animals for replacement.

M: To give some kind of comparison, how many are there today?

B: I think there are close to 150 to 200 head on the present Dairy Research
Unit. That Dairy Research Unit was purchased because of a friend of the
university wanted a dairy farm for study of problems related to feed
production as well as having just the milk and the laboratory to study
milk. But that is the present Dairy Research Unit which came after
Dr. Tigert retired.
Dr. J. Hillis Miller [President of the University of Florida] was
here. When Dr. Miller first came, a committee came to call on Dr.
Miller. They asked that Dr. Hume, Dr. Shealy and I go with them to
Dr. Miller's office. When we went into Dr. Miller's office, he sat down
and said, "Nice day, gentlemen," and other pleasantries. Then he said,
"Now, gentlemen. You have a problem that you came to talk with me
about. What is it?" The chairman, Alf Neilson from West Palm Beach
said, "Yes, Dr. Miller, we do have. We want a dairy farm where we can
have the problems in feed production studied along with the care of the
dairy herd." Dr. Miller turned and just simply said, "Well, gentlemen,
what are you waiting for?" At two o'clock that afternoon, three of us
were looking for land.

M: Between Mr. Graham [Business Manager] and Mr. Miller and some of the
other people, it was helpful then to dairy science.

B: Yes, it is only through cooperation that anyone can make any progress.

M: I would like to thank you so much for giving your time. I know your
time is very valuable. And you are a very renowned person. I have
read a biography of you, and I know that you have done outstanding
research in your field. I thank you very much.

B: You are welcome.

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