EBEN EUGENE REXFORD

by Unknown

The subject of this sketch has lived in Wisconsin since the seventh year of his life. He was born at Johnsburgh, New York, on September 16, 1848. With his parents he removed to Wisconsin, where he came to love the products of the soil and the processes by which they might be made more and more beautiful. Not merely plant growth has been of interest to him; the development of Wisconsin institutions also, especially its schools, has been of the most vital concern to him. Few men have been more deeply interested in the schools of any community than has Mr. Rexford in the schools of his village, and few have more effectively encouraged the teaching of agricultural facts in the schools than he.

Mr. Rexford's life has been spent quite largely at his country home near Shiocton, where he has found much of the material for the line of writing in which he has been especially interested. The country home has furnished him with opportunities for pleasurable development of which few have even dreamed. His career is worth studying, if for no other reason than to disprove the thought that rural life is a life of toil and hardship devoid of the privilege of acquiring that finer sense for the beautiful. Mr. Rexford's life has been rich in the companionship of people and of animals and plants. This last has given that training which makes him an authority along the line of floriculture.

Mr. Rexford received his training beyond the rural schools at Lawrence College, Appleton, where he pursued the college course until his senior year. When he had gone thus far in his course, the care of his home demanded his attention; and, characteristic of the man, he sacrificed his own personal interests for the greater good he might do. The city of Appleton and its institutions, especially its college and its churches, still possess strong bonds of interest for him. The college, in turn, is justly proud of his attainments and conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Literature in 1908.

After his school career, Mr. Rexford took up his work at his country home near Shiocton, where he has been actively associated with all phases of the development of community life. Good roads found a strong advocate in him; the introduction and development of farm machinery and farm improvements have found him a leader. For school programs and for  church exercises he has contributed much in providing music, or in directing the musical part of the program.

Early in life Mr. Rexford conceived the notion of sharing his best thoughts with his fellows through expressing them for publication, and it is said that he has been a contributor to the press since the age of fourteen. He has written extensively for a large number of magazines. The Ladies' Home Journal and Outing have published more of his articles, perhaps, than any other magazines. These magazine contributions comprise poems and articles upon gardening, flower culture, and the making of the country home. While the articles show extensive scientific knowledge, they are so written as to be easily comprehended by the ordinary reader.

The various articles have been collected into book form and the following discussions upon the garden and its plants were listed in the 1912 catalogs: Flowers, How to Grow Them; Four Seasons in the Garden; Home Floriculture; Home Garden; Indoor Gardening. These discussions are made up largely of Mr. Rexford's own experience in doing the things he writes about. From among the flowers in his living room or the plants in his garden you can easily imagine him in his quiet, neighborly way telling you the things that will aid you in successfully raising flowers or vegetables. We are closely drawn to him, for there is no show about what he does, but that simple kindliness of one who desires to help.

While extracts from books of the type above listed would not generally form good selections for reading, yet so different is the style of composition of Mr. Rexford that we feel that a few illustrations here will be of great interest as showing the qualities above mentioned. The first two selections are taken from his "Home Floriculture," a book published by the Orange Judd Company, and will illustrate Mr. Rexford's intense interest in his plants as well as his simple style in telling us the things of help to us.

EBEN E. REXFORD EBEN E. REXFORD