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Peter Henry Rolfs Collection

Identifier: Ms Coll. 063

Scope and Content

The collection contains Rolfs' publications and unpublished papers, some written in collaboration with Clarissa Rolfs. Also included are photographs taken by the Rolfs, correspondence with Professor Rolfs and Clarissa Rolfs, and administrative reports written by Rolfs during his years in Brazil.


  • Creation: 1891-1943


Language of Materials

Materials are written in English and Portuguese.


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

Peter Henry Rolfs was born April 17, 1865 in Le Claire, Iowa. He received his B. S. from Iowa State College of Agriculture in 1889 and a M. S. from Iowa Agricultural College in 1891. He began his career at the Agricultural Experiment Station at the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City as a researcher and instructor in Botany and Horticulture. He remained at Lake City from 1892 to 1899. From 1899 to 1901, he served as a botanist and bacteriologist at the Clemson Agricultural College and Experiment Station. He returned to Florida in 1901 as head of the USDA's Plant Introduction Station and Subtropical Laboratory in Miami. In 1906, he was asked to serve as the Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and remained there until 1921. He also held the title of Director of Agricultural Extension in Florida, 1915-1920, and Dean of the College of Agriculture, 1915-1920.

In 1920, Rolfs accepted an invitation to establish and direct an agricultural school in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Rolfs served as Director of the Escola Superior de Agricultura e Veterinaria do Estado de Minas Gerais, em Viscosa, until 1929, when he became a technical consultant (Consultor Technico) on agricultural affairs for the State of Minas Gerais. He retired in 1932. During his stay in Brazil, Rolfs was assisted by his daughter, Clarissa, who functioned as his personal secretary, translator, and advisor. After 1932, Professor Rolfs and Clarissa traveled throughout Brazil, South America, and the United States studying agricultural education. He died in 1944.


5.8 Linear feet (22 boxes)


Writings, speeches, correspondence, subject files, reports and photographs of Peter Henry Rolfs, former Dean of the UF College of Agriculture (1915-1920), Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (1906-1920), and Director of the Escola Superior de Agricultura e Veterinaria, in Viscosa, Minas Gerais State, Brazil.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

Rolfs' correspondence as a staff member at the Florida Agricultural College are located in Series 87 and 88 of the University of Florida Public Records Collection. His records as head of the University of Florida's agricultural programs will be found in Series 21, 30, and 89.

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in August 2022. Recognizing that historical terms do not always completely or directly map to contemporary terms, that historical terms can be offensive or inaccurately describe a person or group, and that the presence of both historical and contemporary terms may be useful for researcher discovery, the archivist has attempted to employ historical terms as they originally appear in the context of the collection, in the description, along with contemporary terms in brackets.

A Guide to the Peter Henry Rolfs Collection
Finding aid prepared by Dept. Staff
January 2006 (Updated August 2022)
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