Elwyn Marshall Meader
Elwyn M. Meader was
born March 31, 1910 in Rochester, New Hampshire. He received his B.S. in
1937 from the University of New Hampshire and his M.S. in 1941 from
Rutgers University, where his thesis was "A Method for Determining
the Relative Cold Hardiness of Dormant Peach Fruit Buds."
From 1938 to
1941 he did research on peaches for the U.S. Department of Agriculture
at Rutgers, from 1941 to 1945 on berries at Beltsville, from 1945 to
1946 he was associate professor at the University of Vermont, and from
1946 to 1948 he was horticulturist with the U.S. Army in Seoul, Korea.
from 1948 to 1966 he was a professor of horticulture at the University
of New Hampshire, his alma mater.
retiring in 1966, he continued his plant breeding work and released many
new varieties into the public domain. In 1978 he was awarded an
honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of New Hampshire.
love of plants combined with a Yankee view of their good and bad points
and the desire to improve them, plus contact with Albert F. Yeager, made
him a very successful plant breeder.
creations made great profits for the nurseries, seed companies and
producers but he did not believe in patents or royalties. He said,
"I was working for the taxpayer and the results on my work belonged
to them." This is an attitude sorely lacking in these modern
As a deeply
religious Quaker, his life's path was focused on the desire to improve
fruits and vegetables for the world's farmers and gardeners. During his
long career, Professor Meader introduced many new plant
varieties. A generalist in his work, he introduced more than sixty new
plant varieties, some of which include:
bean & 'Colebrook' watermelon (1951)
Beauty' bean (1954)
'Royalty' purple podded bean, 'Red Shellout' bean & 'Pinnochio'
Butternut' squash & 'Miss Kim' lilac (1958)
Midget' watermelon, 'Golden Turban' squash, 'Nectarmelon'
squash & 'Market Midget' watermelon (1960)
casaba melon (1961)
peach, 'Fallred' raspberry & 'Goldpack' squash (1964)
pepper, 'Sweet Chocolate' pepper, 'Applegreen' eggplant &
'Eat-All' squash (1965)
rutabaga, 'Sweet Grantie' muskmelon & 'Marketmaster'
Dill' cucumber (1967)
raspberry & 'Redgold' squash (1968)
Jack' pumpkin & 'Fireside' popcorn (1969)
blueberry & 'Mericrest' nectarine (1971)
persimmon & 'August Red' raspberry (1973)
Chief' rutabaga (1976)
'Envy' soybeans (1977)
'Midnight Snack' sweet corn (1978)
his feelings about obscure and heirloom varieties, his reply is as
timely now as it was in 1984 when he replied. He said, "I don't
like the idea of seedsmen discarding old varieties because of a lack of
sales volume. The loss of genetic diversity isn't healthy.
After all, we're indebted to our ancestors, for the heirloom varieties
we have, so I encourage individuals to carry on, growing their own
passed away on July 19, 1996.
"A Plant Pioneer," Vic
Sussman, Organic Gardening Magazine, September 1984
"The Strawberry: History,
Breeding and Physiology," G. M. Darrow.
Memories about Elwyn M.
Meader Family Genealogy
honoring plant breeder Elwyn Meader
History of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, 1887-1987,"
Station Bulletin 529, December 1990