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H. Harold Hume Collection

Identifier: Ms Coll. 066

Scope and Content

This collection contains Hume's personal, professional, and administrative papers as Assistant Dean from 1931-38 (sparse for those years), and then Dean of the College of Agriculture (1938-1943), Provost for Agriculture (1943-1949), and Acting President of the University (September 1947), as well as for the thirteen years of active retirement during which time he came to be even more widely recognized as a leading educator and one of America's foremost horticulturists of the twentieth century.

The collection is divided into three series. Included in the first series (MS66a) are chronologically-arranged correspondence, various reports, an alphabetically-ordered subject/genre file, manuscripts, and photographs. The second series (MS 66b) is comprised of various materials accumulated by Hume relating to agriculture in general or peripherally related to his professional duties. The third series (MS66c) is made up of early drafts of several of his major works along with a number of miscellaneous writings on a variety of subjects. Also included are public addresses and radio talks. Each series is described separately.


  • Creation: 1898-1962
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1937-1960



University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Biographical/Historical Note

Of rural Canadian roots, H. Harold Hume's college training was received at the Ontario Agricultural College (Guelph), the most respected school of agriculture in Canada. He earned an M.S.A. from Iowa State and in 1899 Hume became head of the Department of Botany and Horticulture at the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City. After five years of vacillating support from the Florida legislature, Hume resigned his position and accepted a similar post at the North Carolina Experiment Station. Fortunately for Florida, however, Hume's work with pineapples and other crops had established for him an excellent reputation. Thus opportunities opened up which led Hume back to the land which he must have already come to love. Relinquishing his academic career, Hume became associated with the Glenn St. Mary Nursery Company, one of the two oldest, and at the time, one of the largest nurseries in the state. His active association with the Nursery lasted for twenty-five years; he concluded his tenure as Chairman of the Board. During the same period Hume was president of the E.O. Painter Fertilizer Co. of Jacksonville.

In 1929 Florida agriculture faced a major crisis - that of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. So great was the threat to the state's fruit and vegetable industry that practically every state employee in agriculture and many from private industry were recruited to fight the invasion. Hume was among these, and his work in the eradication campaign led in 1931 to his appointment as Assistant Director of Experiment Stations. Since his previous association with the state, the number of employees in the experiment station(s) had increased from four to seventy-five. In a few years Hume was promoted to Assistant Dean and then in 1938 was appointed Dean of the College of Agriculture. In 1943 with the retirement of Wilmon Newell he acquired the title of Provost of Agriculture which he held until his own retirement in 1949 at the age of 74.

With his release from administrative duties, Hume pursued his horticultural interests with renewed fervor. European travel expanded his circle of camellia enthusiasts to include some of England and the Continent's foremost plantsmen and taxonomists. His interest in Hollies deepened and he published a definitive work on the subject, his eighth major horticulture work. He continued to play an active role on numerous boards and committees, including several of international scope. His vigorous mind did not succumb until his ninetieth year.


15.45 Linear feet (39 boxes and 1 microfilm reel)

Language of Materials



Personal, professional, and administrative papers of horticulturist and educator H. Harold Hume, as well as photographs, manuscripts of his publications, and a collection of historical documents related to Florida agriculture. The collection contains documents related to his administrative duties in the University of Florida's College of Agriculture, including records related to the Experiment Stations at Lake Alfred and the Everglades.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

See Series 87 and Series 88 in the University of Florida Public Records Collection for Hume's correspondence during the years 1899-1904.

A Guide to the H. Harold Hume Collection
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
December 2008 (Updated July 2019)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America