Southwestern United States and Mexico Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records

Introduction

The Southwestern United States and Mexico Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records occupy 58 linear feet, or 101 letter sized document boxes, 10 legal sized document boxes, and 1 folio box. The collection contains materials dating from 1922 to 2013, with bulk dates 1960 to 1990. Most of the collection was donated to National Agricultural Library by Paul T. Stanford, an administrator for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Weslaco, Texas, in 1997. In 1998, two additional boxes were donated by Sidney Kunz, an ARS scientist in Kerrville, Texas, and were added into the collection. Materials are in good condition and there are no restrictions on use. Emelie M. George and Lindsey Loeper, both graduate student assistants from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, arranged and described the collection during 2004 and 2006.p>


Disclaimer

Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) acquires, arranges, describes, preserves and makes available rare materials significant to the history of agriculture. Materials are obtained through donation or active collection in accordance with the established Special Collections collection development policy. Special Collections staff organize and describe materials according to archival principles and create descriptions and indexes to enhance access. Staff do not edit or otherwise modify the original materials. The views expressed in the collections do not necessarily reflect the policies of the National Agricultural Library or the United States Department of Agriculture.


Historical Sketch

Below is a timeline of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) screwworm research highlights.

1858: First reported screwworm cases on Devil's Island, French Guiana

1933: Emory Clayton Cushing and Walter S. Patton recognized screwworm fly as its own species, Cochliomyia hominivorax (different from the blowfly species)

1934: USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established research station at Valdosta, Georgia (closed 1936) to conduct research on screwworms by scientists Ernest William Laake and Edward Fred Knipling

1935: ARS secured funding for research on screwworms. Raymond C. Bushland began research on artificial diets for rearing screwworms.

1937: Bushland and Knipling are transferred to ARS laboratory in Menard, Texas. Bushland began research on controlling screwworms through chemical means. Knipling began research on sterile male technique, an autocidal theory of total insect population management.

1938: USDA developed Smear 62, an insecticidal wound treatment

1939: Bushland is transferred to Orlando, Florida, to conduct research on mosquito control

1940: Knipling is transferred to Orlando, Florida, to conduct research on insects affecting man

1946: Bushland transferred to ARS laboratory in Kerrville, Texas. Knipling transferred to USDA-ARS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

1950: Arthur W. Lindquist introduced Knipling to Hermann Joseph Muller's research on genetic mutations in fruit flies by radiation. Bushland and Donald E. Hopkins began tests on sterilization of screwworms using radiation.

1951: Alfred H. Baumhover arrived at Kerrville, Texas, to work on screwworm eradication using sterile male technique. Sanibel Island, Florida, was the first field test to use the sterile male technique.

1954: Baumhover traveled to Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, and began successful screwworm eradication campaign using sterile male technique

1955: Baumhover returned to Orlando, Florida, to work on eradication of screwworms from the Southeast United States. Mass rearing techniques were developed.

1955-1957: A mass fly production facility for rearing screwworms is built in Bithlo, Florida. Screwworms successfully eradicated in a 2000 square mile field test area near Orlando, Florida.

1958: ARS built mass fly production facility near Sebring, Florida

1959: Screwworms successfully eradicated from the Southeast United States

1962: ARS Southwest United States screwworm eradication program began with flies produced at the Kerrville, Texas, ARS laboratory. Mass production facility built at Mission, Texas.

1963: ARS developed program specializations. Billy Gene Hightower studied screwworm ecology in Texas. Alfred H. Baumhover studied sterile fly distribution. Leo E. LaChance studied screwworm genetics. Maxwell M. Crystal studied chemosterilants.

1964: Baumhover transferred to Oxford, North Carolina, to work with the Tobacco Insects Investigations

1966: USDA declared screwworms eradicated from Southwest United States, except Texas continued to be infested until 1982. United States and Mexico conducted a feasibility survey for a screwworm eradication program in Mexico, which resulted in the establishment of a screwworm eradication program in Mexico.

1974: The Lincoln-Eden Report, "The Southwestern Screwworm Eradication Program: A Review," is published. Charles G. Lincoln and William Gibbs Eden were tasked with evaluating the Southwestern United States Screwworm Eradication program after poor results spanning 1972-1974. They concluded that the program was a success despite some minor faults and the research should continue.

1977: The ARS Screwworm Research Unit relocated from the Mission, Texas, laboratory to a sterile fly production facility near Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas, Mexico

1984: A new gelled diet is developed by ARS for use in mass rearing screwworms

1990: "Severn Run's Cazador," a German wirehaired pointer, is trained by John Bertram Welch to detect screwworm larvae and screwworm infested animals

1991: Mexico was declared screwworm free

1994: Screwworms eradicated from Belize and Guatemala. Panama City, Republic of Panama, became the headquarters for the USDA-ARS Screwworm Research Unit.

1995: Screwworms eradicated from El Salvador

1996: Screwworms eradicated from Nicaragua

1999: Screwworms eradicated from Honduras

2000: Costa Rica declared screwworm free


Scope and Content Note

The Southwestern United States and Mexico Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records consist of the materials produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) during the daily activities of eradicating the screwworm from the Southwestern United States and Mexico from the 1930s through the mid-1990s. The materials were generated by the screwworm program’s administrative headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, the multiple laboratories in Texas, most significantly Mission and Kerrville, and the laboratory in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. The majority of the materials are correspondence, reports, and data, but screwworm release maps, bound data journals, and specimen collection forms are also present. The materials are in good condition and make up five series with a number of subseries. This collection spans 58 linear feet and contains materials from 1922 to 2013; the bulk of materials are from 1960 to 1990.

The Southwestern United States and Mexico Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records are arranged into five different series, reflecting content, organizational structure, and geographic location. Though the materials were not, in most cases, organized when accessioned by National Agricultural Library (NAL), the original order of the materials has been retained wherever possible. The first series consists of materials relating to the screwworm program at large and includes general administrative materials, general correspondence, and travel information relating to professional meetings, conferences, and trip reports. The second series consists entirely of publications and is divided by those publications used by the ARS scientists for research, manuscripts written by ARS scientists, and some ephemeral materials like brochures and newsletters.

The final three series are divided by geographical location, including the Southwestern United States, Texas, and Mexico. The first series relates to the Southwestern U.S. screwworm program and is organized by Southwestern States in general; states included are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Series IV covers Texas specifically, since the bulk of the materials for this region came out of the Texas program, where the screwworm problem was more widespread. The final series (Series V., Fieldwork in Mexico) contains materials related to the USDA-APHIS Screwworm Research Unit’s activities in Mexico and is divided by administrative records, reports, and data. Further description of the materials contained in each series and subseries may be found in the series description.


Series Description

Series I. Screwworm Eradication Program. 1936-2000. 14.5 boxes.

The Screwworm Eradication Program series includes materials relating to the non-research functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) program to eradicate screwworms. The materials are divided into three subseries; general administration materials are located in subseries I.A., subseries I.B. contains correspondence, and subseries I.C. contains travel related materials.

  • Subseries I.A. General Administration. 1936-1992.
  • Series I.A. contains materials relating to the general administration of the program. The bulk of the materials were produced by the program's headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Subjects covered include information about screwworm research, the program's budget, the program's status, and some information about personnel. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

  • Subseries I.B. Correspondence. 1971-1984.
  • The records in Series I.B. consist entirely of correspondence relating to the screwworm program in general. Topics discussed within the correspondence include the status of the program and its initiatives and some informal reporting on experiments and studies undertaken by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. This material is arranged chronologically.

  • Subseries I.C. Travel: Conferences and Meetings. 1968-2000.
  • The last section of the first series contains materials gathered by ARS scientists during meetings and conferences of professional societies to which they belonged. Agendas, papers given at meetings, and itineraries are found in this subseries. Professional organizations that are represented here include the Agricultural Research Service, Entomological Society of America, International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Livestock Insects Workshop. These materials are arranged alphabetically by the organization's name. Also included in this subseries are a number of trip reports written by ARS scientists as they explored new regions in which to bring the screwworm populations under control. Trips were taken to Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, and other countries.

Series II. Publications. 1922-2013. 10 boxes.

Materials in this series are textual materials produced or used by employees of the Screwworm Eradication Program. Unpublished materials and their accompanying documentation are located in subseries II.A. (Manuscripts). Publications in subseries II.B.(Publications for Background Research) and subseries II.C. (Ephemeral Publications) were collected by ARS scientists and employees as reference or souvenir. Subseries II.A. and II.B. are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name while subseries II.C. is arranged alphabetically by the type of material.

  • Subseries II.A. Manuscripts. 1967-1994.
  • The first subseries in the second series consists of manuscripts written by ARS scientists for publication in scholarly journals. Included are correspondence with editors and corrections to manuscripts. Also included are manuscript writing guidelines from USDA. Rearing, diet, sterilization, strain development, mutations, SWASS (Screwworm Adult Suppression System), and genetics are just some of the subjects covered by the manuscripts. These materials are organized alphabetically by the author's last name. Materials with no author are interfiled alphabetically by subject.

  • Subseries II.B. Publications for Background Research. 1922-2002.
  • Series II.B. is a grouping of publications that ARS scientists collected for their use as secondary source material in their own writings and as reference material for use in fieldwork. For the most part, these materials are copies of originals and can be readily found in other repositories. The materials are arranged alphabetically by author's last name or by subject.

  • Subseries II.C. Ephemeral Publications. 1957-2013.
  • The last subseries of Series II consists of ephemeral publications such as brochures, newsletters, and clippings used to educate the public about the screwworm problem. Also included are several maps of regions in Mexico and Texas as well as a "Stamp Out Screwworms" pin from Mission, Texas, 1977. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Series III. Fieldwork in the United States. 1959-1992. 6 boxes.

Series III contains materials relating to the fieldwork research conducted throughout the Southwestern United States. This series does not contain materials relating specifically to Texas; Texas related materials can be found in Series IV (Fieldwork in Texas).

  • Subseries III.A. General. 1966-1980.
  • This section of Series III consists of general materials from the USDA headquarters regarding the screwworm program in the Southwest United States that are not specific to an individual state. Examples of the types of materials present are records of screwworm cases found in the Southwest listed by month, year, species of host animal, and placement of wound. Also included are records of larval samples received by the screwworm laboratories for identification. The materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically.

  • Subseries III.B. States. 1959-1992.
  • This subseries consists of materials created in a specific southwestern states. Materials include larval specimen reports, quarterly reports, and information on the North Dakota State University cooperative screwworm program. States represented in this series include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Oregon; materials from Texas are included in Series IV. The arrangement of this subseries is alphabetical by state, then alphabetical by folder title, and finally chronologically.

Series IV. Fieldwork in Texas. 1931-2002. 27 boxes.

All materials located in Series IV were created in relation to screwworm eradication research and fieldwork conducted in Texas. This series is divided into four subseries by the function of the material, including Administrative Records (subseries IV.A.), Correspondence (subseries IV.B.), Reports (subseries IV.C.), and Data (subseries IV.D.).

  • Subseries IV.A. Administrative Records. 1962-2002.
  • The types of administrative records included are forms, memorandum, and training and security manuals. The materials are organized by alphabetically by the type of material.

  • Subseries IV.B. Correspondence. 1978-1982.
  • Correspondence from fieldwork in Texas is located in this subseries. The materials are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the correspondent and then chronologically.

  • Subseries IV.C. Reports. 1931-1993.
  • A variety of reports are located in subseries IV.C., such as annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly reports. Topics contained in the reports include information on screwworm fly production rates, costs, release schedules and maps, and screwworm diet in their documentation of the daily activities of the laboratory. These reports were produced in a number of screwworm research and production laboratories in Texas, most significantly Mission and Kerrville. Materials are arranged alphabetically by location. A large collection of reports, titled the "Screwworm Larvae Collection," are organized alphabetically by Texas county and have been grouped together at the end of the subseries.

  • Subseries IV.D. Data. 1971-1990.
  • Larvae collection statistics, organized by county, show every screwworm related wound in Texas from 1979 to 1980. Other data collected in this series include fly release schedules and coordinates and weather tracking information. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type and then chronologically.

Series V. Fieldwork in Mexico. 1962-2001. 43.5 boxes.

All materials located in Series V were created in relation to screwworm eradication research and fieldwork conducted throughout Mexico. Similarly to Series IV, this series is divided into four subseries by the function of the material, including Administrative Records (subseries IV.A.), Correspondence (subseries IV.B.), Reports (subseries IV.C.), and Data (subseries IV.D.).

  • Subseries V.A. Administrative Records. 1970-1993.
  • This subseries contains administrative records created at the sterile fly production plant in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. The materials include information on the construction and security of the laboratory, the Mexican-American Commission for the Eradication of the Screwworm, and information on shipping screwworm pupae to other countries. Materials have been arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically within each group.

  • Subseries V.B. Correspondence. 1974-2001.
  • Correspondence from fieldwork in Mexico is located in this subseries. The materials are divided between the strictly Mexico correspondence and materials relating to the University of Texas. These two groups are arranged chronologically.

  • Subseries V.C. Reports. 1974-1997.
  • Reports from the sterile fly production facility in Mexico are arranged chronologically in this series. Weekly, annual, and war room reports are included in this series.

  • Subseries V.D. Data. 1962-1993.
  • The scientists at the Mexico screwworm production laboratory were involved in many experiments and studies in order to increase the productivity of the plant and to more completely understand the nature of the screwworm. The data created from these experiments is included in this subseries. The data is arranged by the experiment's subject, such as strain development, mutations, larval/pupal experiments, egg development, and isozymes, and in chronological order. Also included are survey maps, body counts of wounded animals at specific ranches, and bound journals of field notes and experimental data.


Bibliography

Information for the Historical Sketch and the Scope and Content Note was taken from the following sources:

Baumhover, Alfred H., Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

Oral Histories: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

Screwworm Research Unit. "History of USDA-ARS Screwworm Research and the USDA-ARS Screwworm Research Unit." Accessed October 3, 2005 from http://www.screwworm.ars.usda.gov/HISTORY1.htm.


Bibliography

Information for the Historical Sketch and the Scope and Content Note was taken from the following sources:

Baumhover, Alfred H., Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

Oral Histories: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library.

Screwworm Research Unit. "History of USDA-ARS Screwworm Research and the USDA-ARS Screwworm Research Unit." Accessed October 3, 2005 from http://www.screwworm.ars.usda.gov/HISTORY1.htm.


Appendix A: Related Collections

Listed below are screwworm related manuscript collections housed in Special Collections, National Agricultural Library as of June 2007:

Artifacts: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 348.

Audiovisual Materials: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 215.

Baumhover, Alfred H., Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 266.

Graham, Owen Hugh, Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 213.

Husman, Chester N., Awards: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 349.

International Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 355.

Knipling, Edward Fred, Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 210.

Oral Histories: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 305.

Promotional Materials: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 214.

Severn Run's Cazador (Caz), Screwworm Detection Dog, Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 310.

Southeastern United States Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 212.

Southwestern United States and Mexico Collection: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 211.

USDA Entomology Research Division Records. Manuscript Collection 237.

Wyss, John, Papers: Screwworm Eradication Program Records. Manuscript Collection 338.