Preliminary Guide to the Alfred Halvorson Papers 1951-1985
MSSM. 006

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Halvorson, Alfred R., 1921-
Alfred Halvorson papers
MSSM. 006
Date [inclusive]
40.0 linear feet of shelf space, 40 boxes
Collection materials are in English.
The Alfred Halvorson Papers consist of materials related to his research in soil science and his work as a faculty member at Washington State University. The collection contains data and surveys about soil in Eastern Washington, Halvorson's published and unpublished work about subjects like fertilizer, soil pH, and soil testing. The collection also contains professional correspondence, speeches, and photographs.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]. Alfred Halvorson Papers, 1951-1986. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical Note

Dr. Alfred R. Halvorson (1921- ) was a Professor in the Department of Crop and Soils Sciences at Washington State University, who retired in 1986. Dr. Halvorson was the Extension Specialist in Soil Testing, where he developed and promoted the Soil Testing Laboratory from 1957 to 1982. Dr. Halvorson was also the Mayor of Pullman, Washington, from 1991 to 1995.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains the research materials of Dr. Alfred R. Halvorson (1921- ), who was a Professor in the Department of Crop and Soils Sciences at Washington State University until 1986. The collection includes research materials related to soil testing and Dr. Halvorson's work as an Extension Specialist in the Soil Testing Laboratory at WSU from 1957 to 1982. These research materials include papers pertaining to orchard research with Alcoa, soil and plant fertility, nitrate nitrogen in soils, water quality, agricultural safety, fertilizers, the agricultural applications of algae and "crop conditioners," yield enhancing seed treatment, methods for measuring fertilizer, the effects of volcanic ash on farming, tillage, soil temperature, hydroponics, plant diseases, organic gardening, animal waste management, composting, crop tolerance of saline and alkali soils, erosion, application of limestone to balance soil pH, air pollution, soil acidity, Palouse watershed water quality, soil conservation, arsenic, irrigation, the impact of the energy crisis on Washington agriculture, forestry, Australian agriculture, and the history of soil testing at Washington State University, as well as materials concerning various agricultural products produced in Washington and by professional organizations in the field of agronomy, and various publications on related subjects. The collection also contains internal correspondence, memorandums, annual reports and reviews, fiscal records, grant applications and documentation, correspondence with other universities' agronomy departments, farmers and orchardists, materials pertaining to Dr. Halvorson's employment with WSU, speeches, photographs, reports, and printed materials (journals, clippings, etc.).

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This is an unprocessed collection. It consists of multiple accessions received between 1986 and 1996: MS.1986.21, MS.1986.46, MS.1987.31, MS.1990.57, MS.1996.29. It has not yet been arranged.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2013

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Revision Description


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available for research use.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Al Halvorson to Washington State University Libraries in 1986, 1987,1990, and 1996. This is an unprocessed collection with multiple accessions.

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed.

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Related Materials

Related Material

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Names and Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Washington State University -- Faculty -- Archives


  • Photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pullman (Wash.) -- History -- Sources

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Halvorson, Alfred R., 1921-


  • Agriculture -- Washington (State)
  • Agriculture
  • Colleges and universities
  • Washington (State)
  • Photographs

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Detailed Description of Collection

Accession MS.1986.21 circa 1956-1985  6.0 linear feet

This accession contains departmental administrative files, research reports used for annual faculty review, speeches, soil testing data, and photographs. This accession also includes subject files on Halvorson's work with Alcoa and his work about nitrate nitrogen.

Accession MS.1986.46 circa 1956-1985  11.0 linear feet

Most items in this accession are from 1978-1985. This accession contains a draft of Halvorson's article about the use of algae in wheat farming, information about the soil testing laboratory at Washington State University, research about volcanic ash from Mount Saint Helens, speeches, research notes, teaching materials, and annual research reports from the 1980s.

Accession MS.1987.31 circa 1956-1985  10.0 linear feet

This accession contains a file of Halvorson's publications from the 1960s-1980s, speeches, research data on soil pH and texture, and teaching files on short courses offered by Halvorson.

Accession MS.1990.57 1951-1982  8.0 linear feet

This accession contains ledgers listing soil tests performed from 1951-1959, research on fertilizer and soil testing, and a correspondence file organized alphabetically containing mostly materials from 1975-1982 and a separate correspondence file for county agencies from 1970-1982.

Accession MS.1996.29 1955-1985  5.0 linear feet

This accession contains research on fertilizer and soil testing dating back as far as 1955, correspondence from 1983-1985, and a draft of Halvorson's history of soil testing at Washington State University.