Smith obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1886 from the University of Michigan, and in 1889, he was awarded a doctor’s degree for work on peach yellows. In 1886, Smith was employed by the USDA, a position he held for 40 years. Smith played a major role in establishing the field of phytobacteriology, and in his effort to demonstrate the importance of bacteria in plant disease, he showed that the United States was becoming a leader in plant pathology research. His interest in bacteriology was driven partially by his desire to discover the cause of peach yellows. He also spent a portion of his career working on Fusarium diseases of a variety of crops. He collaborated with W. A. Orton, and their work led to the development of disease resistance. Smith was a charter member of APS.
(Submitted for publication in July 2008.)
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