PA Commission on Chestnut Tree Blight
At the onset of the blight pandemic, the federal government did little to understand or control the spread. The blight was first discovered and named at the Bronx Zoo in 1904. During the next 10 years, until 1913, the Federal government spent a little over $165,000. In 1913, the legislature in Pennsylvania appropriated $240,000 for the year for research and control. It was during these years that the PA Blight Commission was compiled and the following records were put together.
As more research is going into the host and pathogen, albeit fruitful research, those who witnessed first-hand or have account of the tree's initial virtual extinction are less and less. In our experience, it is those who felt the tragedy first hand who are drawn to continuing in the struggle to restore this species.
The research and work chronicled by the proceedings of the PA Blight Commission will help to ensure folks will not soon forget the potential destruction that an ill-thought out transfer of material or approaches to control can cause. Although the actions taken by the state of PA were well-thought out, we may well have lost some a good deal of diversity through the actions of the Blight Commission.
The following documents are important both scientifically and historically. Many thanks need to be given to Kathy Fescemyer, Penn State University's Life Sciences Librarian, and Sue Oram, PA-TACF's Administrative Assistant the two who helped head the scanning and on-line documentation project. Thanks must also go to several other members of PSU's library team: Sue Kellerman, Heather Solimini, Albert Rozo, Amy Paster, and Lawrence Wentzel, as well as Penn State Univerity's Library Preservation Department which makes the posting of these (and similar) historical documents possible.