Snapshots from the Statuary Hall at the U. S. Capitol – Norman Borlaug and Florence R. Sabin

I have decided to showcase unlikely pairs of historical figures who have things in common with each other in the National Statuary Hall in this new series, “Snapshots from the National Statuary Hall at the U. S. Capitol.”

In this segment, I am pairing Iowa’s Dr. Norman Borlaug, Ph.D, often called the “Father of the Green Revolution; and Colorado’s Dr. Florence R. Sabin, M.D, remembered as a pioneer for women in science.

In the first segment, I paired Michigan’s Gerald Ford, a former President of the United States, and Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederate States of America.

I am currently approximately half-way through a series in which I am taking an in-depth look at who is represented in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC, in which sculptures of prominent American historical figures are housed, two for each state.

First, Norman Borlaug, one of the two statues representing the State of Iowa in the National Statuary Hall.

The other was Iowa’s Civil War Governor, Samuel J. Kirkwood.

Dr. Norman Borlaug was an American Agriculturalist who led initiatives around the world that lead to significant increases in agricultural production, we are told, known as “The Green Revolution.”

Norman Borlaug was born in March of 1914 on his Norwegian great-grandparents’ farm in the Norwegian-American community of Saude, Iowa, in Chickasaw County.

Borlaug worked on the family farm west of Protivin, Iowa, from the ages of 7 to 19, raising things like corn, oats and livestock.

He attended the one-room New Oregon #8 rural school in Howard County, Iowa, through the 8th-grade, a building that is owned by the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation as part of his legacy.

For the remainder of his secondary-education he attended Cresco High School, excelling in athletics.

He received his higher education at the University of Minnesota, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry in 1937, a Master of Science degree in 1940, and a Ph.D in plant pathology and genetics in 1942.

Borlaug was employed as a microbiologist by DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, between 1942 and 1944, where it was planned he would lead research in agricultural bacteriocides, fungicides and preservatives.

With the entry of the U. S. into World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th of 1941, his lab instead was converted to conduct research for the U. S. Military, like the development of glue that resisted corrosion in the warm salt water of the Pacific; camouflage; canteen disinfectants; DDT to control Malaria; and insulation for small electronics.

The Mexican President Avila Camacho, elected in 1940, wanted to augment Mexico’s industrialization and economic growth, and the U. S. Vice-President Henry Wallace, who saw this as beneficial to the interests of the United States, persuaded the Rockefeller Foundation to work with the Mexican government in agricultural development.

They in turn contacted leading agronomists who proposed the Office of Special Studies within the Mexican Government to be directed by the Rockefeller Foundation, and staffed by Mexican and American scientists focusing on soil development; maize and wheat production and plant pathology.

Borlaug was tapped to be the head of the newly established Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program in Mexico, a position which he took over as a geneticist and plant pathologist after he finished his wartime service with DuPont in 1944.

In 1964, he was made the Director of the International Wheat Improvement Program at El Batan on the outskirts of Mexico City, as part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (or CIMMYT), the funding for which was provided by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, and the Mexican Government.

Interesting to note that Borlaug felt that pesticides, like DDT, had more benefits than drawbacks, and advocated for their continued use.

Borlaug retired as Director of the CIMMYT in 1979, though stayed on as a Senior Consultant and continued to be involved in research in plant research.

He started teaching and doing research at Texas A & M University in 1984, and was the holder of the Eugene Butler Endowed Chair in Agricultural Biotechnology, for which he advocated the use of as he had for the use of pesticides, in spite of heavy criticism.

Norman Borlaug died at the age of 95 in September of 2009 in Dallas.

There is a memorial to him outside of the city of Obregon, at CIMMYT’s Experiment Station in Mexico’s Sonora State, where there are miles and miles of cultivated land, where tractors plow the land, airplanes spray pesticides on the crops; mechanical harvesters reap the wheat; trucks carry the crops to town from where they are shipped around the world.

Among other awards in recognition for his achievements, Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977; and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006.

It is interesting to note that the old Des Moines Public Library Building has been the Norman E. Borlaug/World Food Prize Hall of Laureates for the World Food Prize since 1973, an international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.

The old Des Moines Public Library Building was said to have been constructed in 1903, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

The World Food Prize is awarded here in October of every year and the World Food Prize Foundation is endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

It is also interesting to note that in Norman Borlaug’s home state of Iowa, Power Pollen is located in Ankeny.

Power Pollen’s mission statement is to preserve and enhance crop productivity by enabling superior pollination systems.

Well, that sounds great, but when I was looking for information on Power Pollen, I encountered the information that in 2021, Power Pollen announced a commercial license agreement with Bayer Pharmaceuticals designed to help corn seed production.

And what’s wrong with that picture?

Monsanto was acquired by the German multinational Bayer Pharmaceutics and Life Sciences Company after gaining United States and EU regulatory approvals on June 7th of 2018 for $66-billion in cash, and Monsanto’s name is no longer used.

Next, Dr. Florence R. Sabin is one of the two statues representing the State of Colorado.

The other is NASA astronaut Jack Swigert.

Dr. Florence R. Sabin was an American medical scientist.

As a pioneer for women in science, she was the first woman to become a professor at a medical college in the Department of Anatomy at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1902…

…the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1925…

…and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1925, when she became head of the Department of Cellular Studies and where her research focused on the lymphatic system; blood vessels & cells; and tuberculosis.

The Rockefeller University was founded in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller, and was America’s first biomedical institute.

Florence R. Sabin was born in Central City, Colorado, in 1871, to a mining engineer father and schoolteacher mother.

Her mother died in 1878, and she and her sister went to live with their uncle in Chicago, before moving to live with their grandparents in Vermont.

In 1885, she enrolled in the Vermont Academy at Saxton River, where she was able to develop her interest in science.

She attended Smith College in Massachusetts, and graduated in 1893 with her Bachelor’s degree.

In 1896, Sabin enrolled in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, which had opened in 1893, and she graduated in 1900.

Her two major projects were on producing a 3D model of a newborn’s brain stem, which became the focus of the 1901 textbook “An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain,” and the second was on the development of the lymphatic system in the embryo.

In her retirement, she became involved in Public Health in the State of Colorado at the invitation of the Governor at the time.

Among other things, as a result of her work, the “Sabin Health Laws” were passed, modernizing public health care in Colorado by providing more beds to treat Tuberculosis, which led to a reduction in the number of cases.

Florence R. Sabin died at the age of 81 in October of 1953, and her remains were interred in the Fairmount Mausoleum at the Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this video, I am showcasing unlikely pairs of historical figures who are represented in the National Statuary Hall who have things in common with each other in this “Snapshots from the Statuary Hall” series.

In this pairing, Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. Florence R. Sabin both worked under the auspices of the Rockefellers in their careers, and both researched and taught in their respective academic fields at the University Level.

The next unlikely pairing from the National Statuary Hall that I am going to showcase for things in common is Huey P. Long for Louisiana and Helen Keller for Alabama.

Author: Michelle Gibson

I firmly believe there would be no mysteries in history if we had been told the true history. I intend to provide compelling evidence to support this. I have been fascinated by megaliths most of my life, and my journey has led me to uncovering the key to the truth. I found a star tetrahedron on the North American continent by connecting the dots of major cities, and extended the lines out. Then I wrote down the cities that lined lined up primarily in circular fashion, and got an amazing tour of the world of places I had never heard of with remarkable similarities across countries. This whole process, and other pieces of the puzzle that fell into place, brought up information that needs to be brought back into collective awareness.

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