A Guide to the George Myron Shear Papers, 1927-1986 Shear, George Myron Papers Ms1988-006

A Guide to the George Myron Shear Papers, 1927-1986

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1988-006


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

2018 (CC0).

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
George Myron Shear Papers, 1927-1986
Physical Characteristics
0.2 Cubic Feet 1 box
Shear, George Myron
Papers--including correspondence and published writings-- of Virginia Tech plant pathologist and physiologist George Myron Shear. Includes correspondence with the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the George Myron Shear Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: George Myron Shear Papers, Ms1988-006, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The George Myron Shear Papers were acquired by Special Collections prior to 1989.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the George Myron Shear Papers commenced and was completed in December, 2018.

Biographical / Historical

George Myron Shear, son of Cornelius and Avis Morrison Sherwood Shear, was born in Maryland on April 25, 1905. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland in 1927. The 1930 census shows George Shear living in the Arlington, Virginia home of his parents. He is described as 24, single, and unemployed.

Later that year, Shear married Olalla Elaine Glasgow (1906-1983), who, like him, had obtained a master's degree in botany at the University of Illinois in 1928. The Shears would have four children.

Also around 1930, Shear started work at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station as a plant physiologist. In 1949, he became a professor of plant physiology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was a pioneer in developing no-tillage farming techniques during the 1960s and was a noted expert on the cultivation of watercress.

George Myron Shear retired from Virginia Tech in 1970. He died in 1990 and was buried in Blacksburg's Westview Cemetery.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of George Myron Shear, a plant pathologist and physiologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University from 1930 to 1970. Among the correspondence are several 1927 letters from the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison regarding a project in which Shear was to collect for the lab various botanical samples of plants containing a milkly latex. Included among these are photocopies of two letters from Thomas A. Edison. (The project arose from Edison's attempt develop a cost-effective domestic production of rubber.) The remainder of the correspondence relates largely to requests from various individuals for copies of Shear's articles and for assistance with various projects. Other letters relate to nominees for the No-Tillage Pioneer of the Year Award. Also included is a collection of Shear's writings, consisting mostly of printed materials relating to his work with no-tillage farming. Except where otherwise noted, all articles in the collection were either authored or co-authored by Shear. The publications are followed by a bibliography of Shear's reports and articles. A booklet about no-till farming, published by Allis-Chalmers and incorporating research data from Virginia Tech, completes the collection.

Index Terms


  • Faculty
  • University Archives
  • Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Contents List

Box-Folder 1 folder: 1
Correspondence with the Thomas Edison laboratory, 1927
Box-Folder 1 folder: 2
General correspondence, 1927-1986
Box-Folder 1 folder: 3
Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station publications, 1933-1947
  • "The Effect of Nutrition on the Chemical Composition of Winesap Apple Foliage" (Technical Bulletin 106), 1947
  • "The Effects of Soil Reaction on the Growth and Chemical Composition of Annual Garden Flowers" (Technical Bulletin 63), 1938
  • "Factors Affecting Physiological Breakdown of Maturing Tobacco" (Technical Bulletin 74), 1941
  • "Field and Laboratory Studies on Frenching of Tobacco" (Technical Bulletin 49), 1933
  • "Plant Tissue Tests Versus Soil Tests for Determining the Availability of Nutrients for Tobacco" (Technical Bulletin 84), 1943
  • "The Improvement of Watercress Culture" (Purnell Fund Project), n.d.
Box-Folder 1 folder: 4
Virginia Polytechnic Institute Extension Division publications, 1947-1969
[2 folders]
  • "How Soil Reaction Affects the Supply of Plant Foods" (Bulletin 136, rev.), 1947
  • "How Soil Reaction Affects the Supply of Plant Nutrients" (Bulletin 136, rev.), 1960
  • "Reduced and No-tillage Practices for Growing Corn in Virginia" (Bulletin 553, repr.), 1965
  • "Virginia Weed-Control Guide" (Control Series I), 1969
  • "Apple Diseases and Their Control in Virginia" (Publication 374), 1970
  • "No-tillage Corn: Current Virginia Recommendations" (Publication 342), 1970
Box-Folder 1 folder: 5
Virginia Polytechnic Institute publications, 1968-1973
  • "No-tillage (Sod-planted) Corn in Virginia: Why and How" (Agronomy Department MA 77), 1968
  • "Rotations for No-tillage Corn in Virginia" (Research Division Report 147), 1973
Box-Folder 1 folder: 6
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture publications, 1940-1968
  • "Frenching of Tobacco Distinguished from Thallium Toxicity by Spectrographic Analysis" (repr. from Journal of Agricultural Research), 1940
  • "Thrips Injury of Peanut Seedlings" (repr. from The Plant Disease Reporter), 1941
  • "Commercial Growing of Watercress" (Farmers' Bulletin 2233), 1968
  • "Growing Watercress" (Leaflet 448), 1959
Box-Folder 1 folder: 7
Journal and magazine reprints and extracts, 1934-1975, n.d.
[2 folders]
  • "Calcium Accumulation in Apple Fruit Infected with Venturia Inaequalis (Cooke) Wint" (Physiological Plant Pathology 1), 1971
  • "Calcium Translocation in the Peanut (Arachis Hypogaea L.)" (Agronomy Journal 63), 1971
  • "Color as an Index of Nitrogen Content of Leaves of York and Stayman Apples" (Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science 52), 1948
  • "Comparative Lime Effects on Continuous No-tillage and Conventionally Tilled Corn" (Agronomy Journal 65), 1973
  • "Comparative Yield and Fertilizer Efficiency of No-tillage and Conventionally Tilled Corn" (Agronomy Journal 64), 1972
  • "Continuous Corn by the No-Tillage and Conventional Tillage Methods: A Six-Year Comparison" (Agronomy Journal 61, 1969
  • "The Development of the No-tillage Concept in the United States" (Outlook on Agriculture 5), 1968
  • "Effects of Low Levels of Atrazine on Some Mineral Constituents and Forms of Nitrogen in Zea Mays L." (Agronomy Journal 64), 1972
  • "Effects of Low Levels of Bromacil on Some Mineral Constituents and Forms of Nitrogen in Glycine Max (L.) Merrill" (Agronomy Journal 64), 1972
  • "Factors Affecting Fruit Development of the Jumbo Runner Peanut" (Agronomy Journal 47), 1955
  • "Growing Corn Without Tillage" (Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 25), 1961
  • "Influence of Time of Planting and Digging on the Jumbo Runner Peanut" (Agronomy Journal 51), 1959
  • "Lanolin as a Wound Dressing for Trees" (Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science 34), 1937
  • "Leaf Nitrogen and Color Responses to Nitrogen Fertilization" (Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science) 59, 1952
  • "The Mealybug Makes a Discovery" (Virginia Fruit) , n.d.
  • "Moisture and pH Studies of the Soil Under Forest Trees" (Ecology 15), 1934
  • "No-tillage Corn" (Agricultural Chemicals), 1969
  • "No-tillage Tobacco Studies in Virginia" (Tobacco Science 15), [1976]
  • "Notes on Winter Damage in 1985/86 in the Blacksburg Area" (Mid-Atlantic Rhododendron News and Notes 13), n.d.
  • "Potentials for Pine Mouse Control with Ground Sprayed Chlorophacinone" (Virginia Fruit), 1971
  • "Residual Fertility in Soil Continuously Field Cropped to Corn by Conventional Tillage and No-tillage Methods" (Agronomy Journal 67), 1975
  • "Some Ways by Which Nutrition May Affect Severity of Disease in Plants" (Phytopathology 34), 1944
  • "Stand and Early Growth of Orchardgrass and Red Clover Seeded After No-tillage Corn" (Agronomy Journal 61), 1969
  • "Studies on Inanition in Arachis and Phaseolus" (Plant Physiology 6), [1930]
  • "Variations in Response of Different Varieties and Hybrids of Field Corn to Planting Rate" (Journal of the American Society of Agornomy 38), 1946
  • "Weed Control in Limited-tillage Systems" (Monograph Series, Weed Science Society 2), [1985]
  • "What is No-tillage?" (Australian Country Magazine 26), 1969
  • "Winter Cover Crops for Sod-planted Corn: Their Selection and Management" (Agronomy Journal 59) , 1967
  • "Winter Injury of Rhododendrons" ([Virginia Journal of Science 29]), [1978]
Box-Folder 1 folder: 8
Typescript drafts, [1964-1985, n.d.]
Box-Folder 1 folder: 9
George Myron Shear bibliography, n.d.
Box-Folder 1 folder: 10
"No Nonsense Guide to No-til Farming" (Allis-Chalmers), [1969?]