February 21, 2011
In this month’s newsletter from the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries there appears an update on the Robert Becker Memorial Library located on the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) campus in Decorah, IA. The following is adapted from that article with the author’s permission.
Robert Becker was an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences here at Cornell and was active in vegetable and extension programming. He was a specialist on the history of vegetable production and varieties grown in the U.S. and served as an advisor to Colonial Williamsburg and Old Sturbridge Village. He also participated in the development of the heritage vegetable garden at the Genesee Country Museum.
In 1992 he retired but continued to devote significant time to the Experiment Station. After his death in 1996, his family donated his 650 volume book and journal collection to SSE to honor his memory as an active seed saver and longtime supporter of the organization. In 1998 SSE’s library was named in his honor.
The Becker Library is located in the loft of SSE’s administrative office building, an oak timber frame structure built primarily by local Amish carpenters. In 2010/2011 about 1000 historically important books and journals were purchased from a private collector to augment the library’s holdings. Librarian Bill Musser sees a growing future for the collection: “Expansion or relocation is quite simply inevitable… for now, [our] top priority is to successfully complete the cataloging of… backlogged material, making the rich resources of the Robert Becker Memorial Library accessible both within and beyond the posts and pegs of a library grown from seed.”
Readers may access the full text of the Becker Memorial Library article here.
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