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Stanley Johnston papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.132

Scope and Content

The Johnston papers document the experiments, developments, and accomplishments of South Haven Experiment Station under the direction of Stanley Johnston. The collection includes correspondence, records of experiments, reports, photographs, slides, postcards, research papers (published and unpublished), and maps. These papers document the development of the Haven peach and the world-wide importance of that development; and the importance of his research with other fruits, especially apricots and blue- berries.

As for his contribution to Michigan Agriculture, Johnston's work considerably increased the scope of the Michigan fruit market. Before the development of the Haven variety, the Elberta was essentially the only marketable peach in the state. Because the Haven matured earlier in the peach season than the Elberta, it increased the length of the Michigan peach season. This, in turn, improved the profits of the Michigan peach market substantially.

Johnston's research also produced the Goldcot apricot, the first apricot variety hardy enough to withstand Michigan weather. Thus, Johnston's work with apricots made it economically feasible for Michigan fruit growers to produce apricots, an important development since apricots are the most widely used fruit in the processing of baby foods, a significant industry in Michigan.

Johnston's work with blueberries has made it possible for the increased utilization of Michigan land for the production of blueberries. Johnston and a colleague, James Moulton, crossed the highbush blueberry (which could only be grown in Southern Michigan) with the lowbush blueberry (which was native to Northern Michigan), to develop hybrids that could be grown all across the state.


  • Creation: 1921 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Stanley Johnston (1898-1969) was born in Roscommon, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in 1920 with a B.S. in Horticulture, receiving his M.S. in 1930 from that same institution. From 1920 to 1968 Johnston served as the superintendent of the South Haven Experiment Station and was appointed research professor in 1945. While at South Haven, Johnston's research focused on the development of new varieties and improvements in fruit culture, especially peaches, blueberries, apricots, raspberries, and strawberries. His major contributions included the Haven peach, the Goldcot apricot, and new strains of blueberries. Most significantly, Johnston's fruit research resulted in improved varieties which were better able to withstand Michigan weather. This, in turn, led to expansion and diversification of the Michigan fruit market.

Johnston wrote numerous published articles on his horticulture research. He was also a member of many organizations including the American Society for Horticulture Science, the International Society for Horticulture Science, the American Horticulture Society, and the American Pomological Society (of which he served as president (1946-1948).

Johnston received many awards for his work in pomological development, including the Wilder Award for outstanding service to horticulture in 1951; the Man of the Year Award granted by Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association, 1957; the Distinguished Service Award awarded by M.S.U. Alumni Association, 1958; and many more.

While in South Haven, Michigan, Johnston also took an active role in community affairs. He was a member of the Board of Education there for more than 25 years, serving as its president in 1953. He was also a member of the Hospital Board for more than 15 years, belonged to the Kiwanis Club (President and District Governor in 1937), served as Commander of American Legion Post, and was a member of the Masonic Lodge of South Haven.


4 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Series Listing







Custodial History

Gift of John Kelly and James Hancock.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Stanley Johnston Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Bjork
June 1988
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US