Naomi Chapman Woodroof (1900-1989)
Woodroof's early life was challenging. She spent long hours helping with her father's sheep and cattle ranch, she crossed the Snake River by rowboat daily to attend school, and she participated in and judged livestock shows. After obtaining her degree in animal husbandry from the University of Idaho, she found no openings for women in this field and turned to plant pathology, receiving a master's degree, also at the University of Idaho, in 1924.
Although the University of Georgia and other southern universities did not accept women as either students or faculty, the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin had no such policy, and Woodroof joined the staff there as an assistant biologist. Her first assignment was to work on cotton-seedling root disease, which she identified and developed a method to control.
In reviewing her work at Tifton, former colleagues called Woodroof the unsung hero in plant pathology in the Peanut Belt. Even though some of her work had been attributed to others, peanut growers recognized Woodroof on her retirement by naming her an honorary member of their "Ton-an-Acre" Peanut Club. After retiring from the Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Woodroof
In 1967 the Woodroofs retired and began extensive travels to South and Central America, China, and South Africa, lecturing and gathering information for Jasper Guy Woodroof's later book publications. Naomi Chapman Woodroof never sought fame or recognition, and it was not until after her death that she received both. The pavilion showcasing Georgia's agricultural products for visitors to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta was relocated to the campus of the Georgia Experiment Station and named the Naomi Chapman Woodroof Agricultural Pavilion in honor of her pioneering work in agriculture.
Lawrence K. Akers, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
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