Jacob E. Metzger came to the Maryland Agricultural College in 1914. He was a professor of agronomy and head of the Department of Agronomy, supervisor of the Agricultural Department of the Maryland High Schools for the State Department of Public Instruction, agronomist of the Maryland Experiment Station, and acting director and director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station from 1937 to 1939. Metzger also established and directed the university's first summer school in 1914. Metzger took part in research and experiments which led to development of "beardless" barley, conducted research on a special type of turf grass for golf courses, and was a noted author of bulletins and articles on soil research and other related fields. His papers consist of speeches, research papers, and recollections on subjects related to his career. Topics include agriculture in Maryland, agricultural education in college and secondary schools, alfalfa, soils, and corn production in Maryland.
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The Jacob Elry Metzger papers cover the period 1915 through 1938 and consist of typescripts and reprints of course lectures, radio talks, research papers, and addresses given by Metzger on subjects relating primarily to agriculture and agricultural education in Maryland. Other topics are more specific and deal with issues such as soil erosion, lawn management, crops, and international agricultural issues.
Jacob Elry Metzger was born on July 30, 1882, in Blair County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pennsylvania State College in 1911 and came to the Maryland Agricultural College in 1914. He organized the Department of Agricultural Education and the Maryland Agricultural College's first summer school. The original purpose of the summer session, according to Metzger, was so that "field plots, laboratories, shops, libraries, livestock, orchards, instruction and other facilities used by the regular students of the college might be available to those who for any reason find it more convenient to attend during summer months." The first Summer School, held in 1914, hosted thirty-five courses; the number increased to forty-eight in 1915 (to accommodate 141 students). Metzger directed the Summer School for four years. He was also the supervisor of the Agricultural Department of the Maryland High Schools for the State Department of Public Instruction and wrote extensively about agricultural education.
In 1917, Metzger became head of the Department of Agronomy and Agronomist of the Experiment Station, holding both positions for over twenty years until his death. Metzger took part in research and experiments that led to development of "beardless" barley, conducted research on a special type of turf grass for golf courses, and was a noted author of bulletins and articles on soil research and other related fields. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Society of Agronomy, as well as the Academy of Political and Social Sciences. In 1930, Metzger was a United States Representative at the One-Hundredth Anniversary of Natural Nitrates, held at Santiago, Chile.
Active in campus life, Metzger was a member of the Athletic Board and the Scholarship Committee. He also served as president of the University of Maryland chapter of Phi Kappa Phi from 1930 to 1931 and was a president of the University of Maryland Chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, in 1935. In addition, he was a president of the Prince George's County Kiwanis Club and a member of the Mount Herman Masonic Lodge.
In 1929, the university appointed Metzger Assistant Director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. When Dr. H. J. Patterson retired as Director of the station in 1937, Metzger assumed this position as Acting Director, while continuing in his position as head of the Department of Agronomy. In June 1939, he became Director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Metzger died on December 25, 1939, of a heart attack while on vacation in Florida. He was fifty-seven years old. His wife, Jane (Jennie) Butts Metzger, survived him.
The Papers of Jacob Elry Metzger consist of one series:
Jacob Elry Metzger's widow, Jane Butts Metzger, donated the papers to the University of Maryland in 1940 as part of a larger book donation. The Marylandia and Rare Books Department of the University of Maryland Libraries transferred the Papers of Jacob Elry Metzger to the Archives and Manuscripts Department (later the Special Collections and University Archives) in 1991.
Prior to acquisition, the Jacob Elry Metzger paper were bound together in a hardcover binding. The papers remain in this binding, however items have been distinguished and numbered by inserting a piece of acid-free paper before the first page of each article.