The society that almost wasn't: issues of professional identity and the creation of the American Phytopathological Society in 1908. Academic Article uri icon


  • The creation of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) in 1908 was a response to the developing professionalism in the biological and agricultural sciences in the United States between 1880 and 1920. During this period, a new generation of plant pathologists emerged in the United States Department of Agriculture, agricultural colleges, and state agricultural experiment stations with a methodological and theoretical framework to determine the cause and nature of disease and make control recommendations based on experimental evidence. These plant pathologists, in turn, became eager to establish a professional identity, for some an identity separate from traditional botany and mycology. For these scientists, the goal would be facilitated by establishing a new society for plant pathologists. The story of the creation of APS is best understood within the nature of the ensuing debates over identity and the merits of forming a new society among its first generation of scientists.

published proceedings

  • Phytopathology

author list (cited authors)

  • Peterson, P. D., & Scholthof, K.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Peterson, Paul D||Scholthof, Karen-Beth G

publication date

  • January 2010