John B. Smith Chronology

Courtesy G. M Patterson.

1858
November 21 - Birth in New York City
1879
Passes Bar, practices law until 1884
1882
Joins Brooklyn Entomological Society, friends with George Hulst Regular contributor to Brooklyn Entomological Society's bulletin; serves as Bulletin's editor for two years.
1884
Joins USDA as Field Agent Early assignment to study insects damaging cranberries.
1886
L.O. Howard, recommends Smith for position as Assistant Curator for Division of Insects at National Museum
1888
George Hulst appointed Rutgers' first entomology professor
1889
Hulst resigns John Smith becomes Rutgers second professor of entomology on April 1, 1889
1896
Smith wins national recognition for his efforts to control San Jose scale using a combination of biological and chemical means
Early evidence of Smith's interest in mosquitoes in Entomological News (Philadelphia). Smith edited monthly column on economic entomology. In September 1896, he commented on potential mosquito problem in California caused by irrigation.
1900
Smith outlines plan for comprehensive study of New Jersey's mosquito problem. Receives funds from Edward Vorhees, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station for preliminary study of the state's mosquito problem
1901
Smith publishes a call for a "rational" mosquito crusade.
"I can see no reason why, inside a decade," he declared in the reports conclusion, "New Jersey mosquitoes should not be reduced to such a point as to be practically unnoticed. Extermination, be it noted, is not claimed. The plan contemplates permanent relief, based upon intelligent activity, along well developed lines."1
May 16 - Meeting in South Orange where Leland Osian Howard speaks leading to the formation of the South Orange Improvement Association. Association members apply oil as larvacide. Spencer Miller requests Smith's assistance.
1902
April 3 - New Jersey legislature approved Smith's request for $10,000 to "investigate and report upon the mosquitoes occurring within the state, their habits, life history, breeding places, relation to malarial and other diseases, the injury caused by them to agricultural, sanitary and other interests of the state, their natural enemies, and the best methods of lessening, controlling or other wise diminishing their numbers."2
Appropriation's Committee omits funding from budget. Governor Franklin Murphy supplied Smith with $1,000 from his emergency fund.
1903
Organized a meeting of the Conference Committee on Mosquito Extermination.3 Receives $9,000 from Assembly for study of mosquitoes Control experiments in Monmouth County.
Meeting of "First Convention to Consider the Questions involved in Mosquito Extermination" on December 16, 1903 in New York City. L.O. Howard's paper called for a "world wide crusade" against mosquitoes. Smith's paper described the scientific and practical work taking place in New Jersey Meeting leads to formation of National Mosquito Extermination Society
1904
Smith leads effort to amend 1887 New Jersey Health Act adding six words to description of a public nuisance "waters in which mosquito larvae breed." Duffield Amendment passes and is signed into law over opposition of state health secretary who argues only Anopheline mosquitoes are health problem.
Smith prepares Mosquito Extermination Exhibit for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition commemorating the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase. Exhibit wins Gold Medal
Smith's Mosquitoes of New Jersey is published (book bears 1904 copyright but does not appear until February 1905)
National Mosquito Extermination Society second meeting December 1904 Group changes name to American Mosquito Extermination Society. Smith speaks at the meeting along with L.O. Howard, William Gorgas, Spencer Miller, Quitman Kohnke and Henry Clay Weeks
1905
Smith received letter from Professor Henry J. Quayle at UC Berkeley telling him that Smith's book is "the only guide I have for practical control work on a large scale."4
Alvah Doty, New York City's contagious disease officer, requests Smith's assistance in organizing mosquito control work on Staten Island. Friction with Henry Clay Weeks leads Smith to break connection with American Mosquito Extermination Society.
1906
Smith and Conference Committee on Mosquito Extermination win Assembly's approval for $350,000 appropriation for control of salt marsh mosquitoes. No money is provided in the budget for the work. Smith suffers attack of nephritis. Directs Newark ditching work from his sickbed.
1907
Cutbacks in state support for Smith's mosquito control effort at the moment when salt marsh work is beginning to produce benefit.
1908
New Governor, Franklin Fort, opposed increasing funding for mosquito work.
1909
Legislature made no provision in regular appropriation for continuation of Smith's mosquito work at the Agricultural Experiment Station. Smith forced to lay-off his assistants.
1910
Smith spends much of year organizing a campaign against gypsy moth invasion that threatened crops
Formation of the North Jersey Mosquito Extermination League Smith advises the new anti-mosquito organization. Their goal is to secure funding for mosquito work.
1911
Fall Discussion of legislation authorizing the formation of mosquito abatement districts. Collapses in August and is bedridden for nearly a moth.
Smith's health continues to fail.
Smith ambivalent about the proposals
1912
January - Smith endorsed revised proposal giving the director authority to approve and/or modify the commissions' budgets.
March 9 - John B. Smith dies
March 21 - Woodrow Wilson signs the bill authorizing the formation of mosquito commissions in New Jersey
October 1 - Thomas Headlee becomes professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and entomologist for the Agricultural Experiment Station

The record of Smith's research, teaching, and service was extraordinary. He produced more than 600 publications including three enormous catalogues of the insects of New Jersey, popular books such as Our Insect Friends and Enemies, and scientific and practical guides to various aspects of economic entomology. In addition to his publications, Smith taught three or four courses each semester. A partial list of his major scientific and popular works includes:

1 John Smith, "Report of the Entomological Department of the New Jersey Agricultural College Experiment Station for the Year 1901," (John Murphy Publishing Co., 1902), vol., 587.

2 John Smith, Report of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Upon Mosquitoes (Trenton: Report of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station 1904), 1.

3 Ralph Hunt, "The Anti-Mosquito Movement," Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Mosquito Extermination Association ( Hotel Chelsea, Atlantic City, New Jersey: New Jersey Mosquito Control Association., 1915)

4Quayle, letter to John B. Smith, April 18, 1905 in John B. Smith, "Office Book Received Letters March and April, 1905," (Department of Entomology, Blake Hall, Rutgers University, 1905), vol., 5.


Center for Vector Biology