The 1930s

Katherine Esau

Katherine Esau began her long and illustrious career as a plant anatomist with work on plant viruses in sugar beet fields.

The first botany faculty arrive, including sugar-beet expert Katherine Esau. Research and teaching both grow throughout the decade as the university continues to develop an identity distinct from UC Berkeley.

1930s: Donald M. Reynolds assists in discovery of streptomycin.

1931: Botanist Katherine Esau joins the faculty; her research focuses on plant viruses damaging California crops.

1931: Botanist Alden S. Crafts is hired to conduct research on strategies for agricultural weed control.

1934: The 17 female students on campus organize the Cal Aggie Women’s Association.

1938: Crafts wins a Guggenheim fellowship to study the functioning of sieve tubes of plants.

1939: With the advent of a home economics program in the 1930s, the female student population at Davis rises to 168.