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Coffman, Franklin A. (1892-1977) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Coffman, Franklin A. (1892-1977)
Fuller Form: Franklin Arthur Coffman


Historical Note:

Chronology

1892 December 30, born in Jewell, Kansas

1908 Passed grade school exams

1914 June 18, graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College with a bachelor of science degree in agronomy

1914-1916 Worked as station superintendent, Philippine Bureau of Agriculture

1916-1917 Attended graduate school and worked as a student instructor in botany and plant physiology, Kansas State College

1918-1924 Worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, Akron, Colorado

1919 June 18, married Alta Johnson

1922 Received master of science in agronomy, plant breeding major, plant physiology minor, from Kansas State Agricultural College

1923 April 23, daughter Alice Winifred Coffman born

1924-1963 Worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

1926 April 25, Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

1949 October 26, elected Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy

1950-1962 Served as secretary of the National Oat Conference

1962 Received the Superior Service Award from the United States Department of Agriculture, December 31, retired

1966 Received Distinguished Service in Agriculture Award from Kansas State University

1976 December 20, died in Prince George County, Maryland, buried in Columbia Gardens Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

1977 Oat History, Identification and Classification published

K-State alumnus Franklin A. Coffman was a noted agronomist who specialized in oat experimentation and research.  He was born in Jewell, Kansas in 1892 to Rachel and Ernest Coffman.  Both parents attended Kansas State Agricultural College.  Coffman entered the sub-freshman class at Kansas State Agricultural College in 1908.  In 1911, he entered the freshman class.  He majored in Agronomy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree in 1914.  Six of Coffman's siblings graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College.

From 1914-1916, Coffman worked for the Philippine Bureau of Agriculture as the station superintendent in charge of corn.  He returned to Kansas and began studies for a master's degree, but did not complete the program at that time.  He moved to Akron, Colorado to work for the United States Department of Agriculture.  In 1922, Coffman completed his Master of Science in Agriculture at Kansas State Agricultural College, as a plant breeding major, plant physiology minor.

Upon graduation, Coffman continued to work for the United States Department of Agriculture where he remained employed until his retirement in 1962.  The positions he held at the United States Department of Agriculture increased in importance and responsibility as Coffman built a reputation for his work in oat experimentation and research.  In 1957, he became the principal agronomist in charge of winter oats and was responsible for 120 experiment stations in 44 states.

Throughout his career, Coffman published approximately 200 articles and several books.  He edited the book Oats and Oat Improvement and wrote five of the book's 15 chapters.  Upon his retirement in 1962, Coffman received the Superior Service Award from the United States Department of Agriculture.  In 1966, he received the Distinguished Service in Agriculture Award from Kansas State University.  After retirement, Coffman continued his involvement in oat research.  The book Oat History, Identification and Classification, was published in 1977, a year after he died.

Coffman married Alta Johnson in 1919 and had a daughter, Alice Winifred, in 1923.  He had two grandsons.  Coffman was an accomplished photographer and poet.  Many of his poems were published in the Washington Post.  Coffman was an avid sportsman and made many trips to western states and national parks.  He was also a genealogist and did extensive research on both sides of his family.

Note Author: Jane Schillie





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