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“W” is for Wannamker, John Edward (1851-1935)

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“W” is for Wannamker, John Edward (1851-1935). Agriculturalist, civic leader. Born at Poplar Spring in what is now Calhoun County, Wannamaker graduated from Wofford College. He was keenly interested in agricultural improvement, and applied his considerable resources to agrarian research and innovation. He practiced crop rotation, scientific livestock breeding, and seed development. Dismayed that many farmers continued to grow cotton, he sought to break dependence on the old staple. In the 1930s he experimented with soybeans, seeking to develop a seed stock suitable to South Carolina soils and climate. A leading advocate of comprehensive agricultural education, Wannamaker lobbied for the establishment of an agricultural college in South Carolina. When Thomas Green Clemson bequeathed his land to the state for that purpose in 1888, John Edward Wannamaker was appointed one of the life trustees of Clemson College.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.