Poultry Building

Title

Poultry Building

Subject

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Description

Up until the mid-20th century, UMass had a department of Poultry Science (in some records referred to as the “Poultry Husbandry Department”, or simply the “Poultry Department”) within the Stockbridge School. The primary center of this department was the Poultry Research Farm which existed, according to out-of-date maps, in the area behind Stockbridge Hall and Flint Laboratory where you now find Bowditch Hall and the Physical Plant. In this space, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty would conduct experiments concerning poultry such as “the use of white plumage to produce feathering on broiler meat stocks” as one student recalled in a 1994 letter. Students also experimented with poultry breeding on the farm, and competed in regional poultry breeding competitions primarily through the University Poultry Club founded in 1927. The primary patron of the Poultry Science Department and the Research Farm was influential poultry science writer, professor, and later Dean of the Stockbridge School (1954-1971) Fred P. Jeffrey. Most of his letters of correspondence in the archives are addressed to him at “The Poultry Building #1”. The archives also contain technical documents relating to his poultry research, including actual feathers from chickens.

The exact nature of why the Research Farm came to be lost is not well documented, but clues do exist. Both Bowditch Hall and the Physical Plant were constructed in the vicinity of the Research Farm in 1959, and shortly following this, references to the Farm and the Poultry Science Department begin to fade. By 1968, the Farm was no longer visible on campus maps. The year 1968 also corresponds to the year in which the search term “poultry science” finally returns no results in the annual yearbook as available in its online format. However, a letter in the Fred P. Jeffrey collection in the university archives suggests that the Research Farm may have had some form of existence beyond 1968. The letter, dated 1971, is a particularly nasty exchange between Jeffrey and a John Gayley Jr., President of Harford Metal Products Inc., Aberdeen, MD. Jeffrey had received, for the Research Farm, a set of defective poultry cages. The way the cages were constructed provided no accessibility between the poultry and their water supply. Jeffrey proclaims in this letter: “48 dehydrated [chickens] … authorize me to recommend a particular type of Hell” for the cage designer and the company president. Gayley responded to Jeffrey with a formal apology letter, and an offer for a free redesign of the cages. The archives do not follow this correspondence any further. The Research Farm in 1971 must have been in the midst of its twilight years, and perhaps operating in a reduced functionality comparable to its peak in the early 20th century.

Creator

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Source

UMass Special Collections and University Archives

Publisher

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Date

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Contributor

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Rights

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Relation

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Format

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Language

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Type

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Identifier

RG150-0005177, RG150-0005180, RG150-0005185, RG150-0005186, RG150-0005190

Coverage

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Original Format

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Physical Dimensions

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Files

RG150-0005177.png
RG150-0005180.png
RG150-0005185.png
RG150-0005186.png
RG150-0005190.png
Date Added
August 31, 2012
Collection
Central Campus
Item Type
Still Image
Citation
“Poultry Building,” Lost UMass, accessed May 29, 2017, http://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/33.