Knapp, Seaman Asahel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Knapp, Seaman Asahel

Seaman Asahel Knapp (sē´mən ā´səhĕl´ năp), 1833–1911, agriculturist and teacher, b. Schroon Lake, N.Y., grad. Union College, Schenectady, 1856. He went to Iowa in 1866 and began publication in 1872 at Cedar Rapids of the Western Stock Journal and Farmer. In 1879 he became professor of agriculture and manager of the Iowa State College (now Iowa State Univ.) farm, and from 1884 to 1886 he was president of the college. He resigned to conduct in Louisiana farm demonstration work, an innovative method of instruction which he introduced, consisting of practical demonstrations on individual farms. Later, under James Wilson as secretary of agriculture, Knapp was employed by the department as a special agent to promote better farming methods in the South—particularly in the growing and handling of rice, for which he was sent to East Asia to study techniques there. His greatest work was the demonstration of methods of fighting the boll weevil. This led to the development in the Dept. of Agriculture of the Farmers Cooperative Demonstration Work division, which he headed.

He was succeeded by his son, Bradford Knapp, 1870–1938, b. Vinton, Iowa, grad. Vanderbilt Univ., 1892, who after his father's death was director of the Farmers Cooperative Demonstration Work division until the department was reorganized in 1914; until 1920 he headed the extension work in the South. He served as president at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (1923–28), at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (1928–32), and at Texas Technological College (from 1932). He wrote Safe Farming (1919).

See biography of S. A. Knapp by J. C. Bailey (1945).

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