Identifier

UA 53.4

Dates

1873-2004

Extent

6.43 linear feet (5 records center box, 1 oversize box) photographs, specimen

Abstract

Niels Ebbesen Hansen (January 4, 1866 – October 5, 1950) was a Danish-American horticulturist and botanist who was a pioneer in plant breeding. This collection consists of articles and other materials written by Niels Hansen, during his time at South Dakota State College, as well as material gathered by Helen Hansen Loen, granddaughter of N.E. Hansen.

Historical Note

On January 4, 1866, Niels Ebbesen Hansen was born to Bodil Midtgaard and Andreas Hansen on a farm near Ribe, Denmark. His mother died when he was an infant. Andreas remarried, and with his second wife had two daughters, Helene and Kristine. The Hansen's left Denmark in 1872. They lived in New York and New Jersey for three years before migrating to Des Moines, Iowa in 1876. His father worked as a painter and is noted for his murals on the ceilings and walls of the new state house building in Des Moines.

As a boy, Hansen attended schools in New York and New Jersey but completed his education in Iowa. In March 1883, Niels enrolled at Iowa State College. He graduated with a BS degree in Horticulture in 1887. In 1895, he received his master's degree from the same college.

After graduation from college, Hansen went into commercial horticulture work. He worked for a year in Atlantic, Iowa and three years in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1895, Hansen came to South Dakota and became head of the Horticultural Department of South Dakota State College.

During his career, Hansen made eight world trips as an agricultural explorer. He searched for new grasses, fruits and other plants throughout Europe and Asia, including Siberia. He brought these plants back to America to raise or crossbreed with American varieties to produce a stronger plant. He was the originator of many new fruits, among them the Hansen hybrid plums. He is credited with the discovery and introduction of hardy Cossack alfalfa, crested wheat grass and brome grass. He developed larger apricots and plums by crossing native varieties with those he brought from Asia. He also developed pears without seeds and a rose to adorn farmyards. In 1949, a monument in recognition of Dr. Hansen and his contributions was erected on the campus of South Dakota State College.

Hansen was married twice. He married his first wife, Emma Elise Pammel on November 16, 1898. They had two children, Carl Andreas and Eva (Mrs. Dave Gilkerson). Emma died December 16, 1904. Three years later, he married Dora Sophie Pammel, his first wife's sister. The Dora died September 14, 1945.

Hansen was a member of the International Jury of Horticulture at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904 and a United States delegate to the First International Congress of Genetics in London, England in 1906. He served as secretary of the South Dakota Horticultural Society for many years. Hansen was frequently referred to as "The Burbank of the Plains". He had been on the State College staff for 55 years and held the title of Professor Emeritus. Hansen died at the Brookings Hospital on October 5, 1950, after a long illness.

Content Notes

This collection is composed of articles and other materials written by N.E. Hansen, including writings for the South Dakota Experiment Station in the form of bulletins and circulars. Includes notebooks and field records of some South Dakota Experiment Stations and early ledgers of the South Dakota Horticultural Society, for which Hansen acted as secretary. Also included is material donated by Helen Hansen Loen, granddaughter of N.E. Hansen. This material is composed of addresses, clippings, correspondence, journals, Loen Research, manuscripts, notebooks, publications, and travel material. Most of this material belonged to N.E. Hansen with the remainder being material collected by Ms. Loen for her written histories of her grandfather.

Series 1.SDSU collection.

This series is composed of addresses, collected works, SDSC Horticulture Department materials, manuscripts, notebooks, publications, SD Agricultural Experiment Station materials, and photographs.

The addresses are speeches given by Hansen at the South Dakota State Conservation and Development and Dry Farming Congress in 1911 and the International Congress of Genetics in Berlin, Germany in 1927.

The collected works consists of material collected by Hansen and includes reports on forests, sheep and forage crops. Also included are items filed as general. This material includes biographies written about Hansen, one of which is written in Danish and some material related to recognition of Hansen in 1949.

The manuscripts consist of articles written by Hansen on the subjects of alfalfa and the fine arts. The notebooks include planting records and field plot notations detailing where alfalfa, clover, grasses and grains were planted. These notebooks are dated from 1888 to 1913. The photographs consist mainly of images from travels to Siberia and Northern China in 1924. Also included are images of apples, sheep, and Hansen with trees. The photographs were removed from the collection and placed in the UA Photograph Archives for preservation. Ask staff for assistance with these items.

The publications consist mainly of SD Agricultural Experiment Station bulletins written by Hansen. Also included are some creative works by Hansen, poems written for Hobo Day and a copy of The Yellow and Blue, the South Dakota State College school song for which Hansen wrote the words.

The South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station material consists of field records for the Agronomy Department and cover mostly the Brookings experiment station, although a few have notes for the Highmore experiment station. This material is dated from 1915 to 1947.

The Horticulture Department material consists of ledgers, which contain records of individuals who joined the South Dakota Horticultural Society and a list of the free premiums they received, usually packets of seeds, and annual reports of the Society. Also included were miscellaneous items that were kept in the ledgers, which were removed and placed in a separate folder for conservation purposes. These ledgers are dates from 1908 to 1929.

The Plant Specimens were collected by Hansen on his travels as an agricultural explorer for the United States Department of Agriculture. He searched for hardy grasses, fruits, and other plants throughout Europe and Asia and brought them back to the United States to raise or crossbreed with American varieties to produce hardy plants. Each Specimen is mounted on an 11.5 x 16.5 inch herbarium sheet accompanied by a label printed in Russian in Cyrillic letter with hand-written notation in blank ink.

Series 2. Loen collection.

This series is composed of addresses, clippings, correspondence, journals, Loen Research, manuscripts, notebooks, publications, and travel material. The material is this series was collected by Helen Hansen Loen, granddaughter of N.E. Hansen. Most of the material belonged to N.E. Hansen with the remainder being material collected by Ms. Loen for her research.

The addresses are composed of speeches given by N.E. Hansen at various venues including the SD State Horticulture Society and the International Congress of Genetics in Berlin, Germany in 1927. This material is dates from 1905 to 1936.

The clippings consist of newspaper and magazine article clipping about N.E. Hansen. Topics include plant breeding, grapes, thornless roses, alfalfa, fruit, wheatgrass, and travels. Many of the articles are biographical.

The correspondence material is dated from 1873 to 1943. The bulk of this material is correspondence between N. E. Hansen and his father, Andreas. Also included is correspondence between family members, friends. and business associates Many of the letters, especially between Niels and his father, are in Danish. Ms. Loen had these letters translated. These translations are included with the original letters. Most of the material consists of original letters, envelopes (some of which are empty), translation transcripts, and notes by Helen Loen. Also included are postcards dated from 1913 from N.E. Hansen to his son Carl with Hansen traveled in Russia.

The journals were kept by N.E. Hansen and cover college and travel years. Included are loose notes, ephemera, financial statements, and business cards. Pressed leaves were found in the journal dates 1882-83. This material is dated between 1879 and 1922. The Loen Research material consists of material gathered by Helen Hansen Loen in compiling written histories of her grandfather, Niels Ebbesen Hansen. Included in this material is correspondence, genealogical research, N.E. Hansen biographical information; including his academic career at Iowa State College and his professional career at South Dakota State College.

The manuscripts consist mainly of original manuscripts written by N.E. Hansen. Included is an unpublished manuscript titled "Russia as Observed by an Agricultural Explorer," written between 1934 and 1937. This includes at least two copies of each page, some of which are handwritten, and some that are edited by cutting and taping. This material is arranged alphabetically by title. The unpublished manuscript "Russia as Observed by an Agricultural Explorer" is arranged by page number. This was done to allow researchers to see the evolution of Hansen's editing and to show the various topics covered by the manuscript.

The notebooks include miscellaneous notes on plants, a calendar of events, and course work while Hansen attended Iowa State College. This material is dated 1883 and 1908-1909.

The publications consist mainly of reprints of bulletins written for the SD Agricultural Experiment Station. Also included are reprints of other published articles and a copy of The Yellow and Blue, the South Dakota State College school song for which Hansen wrote the words. This material is dated between 1904 and 1947.

The travel material deals with Hansen's travels to Russia, Siberia, Central Asia, Turkestan, and Northern Africa. Included are maps, expenses, and a permit issued by Russia for Hansen in 1897. This material is dated between 1897.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

Follow this link for more information:

https://www.sdstate.edu/sdsu-archives-and-special-collections/university-archives

Language

English

Publisher

South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Rights

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

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