Pieters, Adrian J. (Deceased)
Adrian was born on November 18, 1866, to Roelof and Hendrika Pieters in Alto, Wisconsin. He received his BS degree from the University of Michigan in 1894 and his PhD degree from the University of Michigan in 1915. Adrian traveled and studied in Germany from 1910 to 1912. He married Hattie May Bailey on June 30, 1896. Hattie died in 1935 and he married Mary R. Burr in 1936. He was a botanist in charge of seed and plant introduction and distribution in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the period from 1900 to 1906 and an instructor of botany at the University of Michigan from 1912 to 1915. Adrian was an agronomist with U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1915 to 1938 and was a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1938 the Progressive Farmer inaugurated the custom of announcing early in each year, recognition of some one man who had rendered distinguished service to agriculture in the south as a whole. The following is taken from the Progressive Farmer: "For service to the agriculture of our Southeastern states we nominate as “1938 Man of the Year,” Dr. A. J. Pieters who has just retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, after a record of invaluable achievement as chief of the Division of Forage Crops. We salute and nominate Dr. Pieters because of his monumental work in introducing improved lespedeza varieties in the Southern states and promoting the general acceptance of this amazing crop. Let’s hear Dr. Pieters tell how Korean lespedeza got its start in America. Among other samples of seed planted at the Arlington Farm in 1920 was one of a new lespedeza received from Korea. This was planted in comparison with several Essary selections from Tennessee and as soon as the plants were 3 or 4 inches high it was seen that here was a remarkable find. Naturally every seed was saved and for the next 3 or 4 years from 2,000 to 3,000 pounds were produced at Arlington Farm and distributed to state agricultural experiment stations and to private cooperators. The way this plant has spread to nearly every farm from Piedmont North Carolina to Kansas and to North Central Illinois shows a real need for such a plant existed and that lespedeza filled that need adequately and well. And not only did Dr. Pieters discover and develop new varieties of lespedeza, but by speeches, bulletins, and books he has made himself a missionary in its behalf, preaching everywhere its threefold value as (1) a hay plant, (2) a pasture plant, and (3) a soil-saver and soil-builder." Adrian was a founding member of the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1900 and terminated his membership in 1901. He retired in 1938 and lived in Takoma Park, D.C. He died on April 25, 1940.