Irvin M. May, Jr.
Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus
Photograph, Portrait of Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
The Diseases of the Sweet Pea
The Diseases of the Sweet Pea, Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus' dissertation. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus
Photograph, Grave of Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus in Bryan. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

TAUBENHAUS, JACOB JOSEPH (1884–1937). Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus, plant pathologist, son of Meyer and Bet Sheba Taubenhaus, was born in Saffed, Palestine, on October 20, 1884. He attended a local school before coming to the United States, where he graduated from the National Farm School of Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1904), and Cornell University (B.S., 1908, M.S., 1909). In 1913 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied under John W. Harshberger. His dissertation was published as The Diseases of the Sweet Pea (1914). Meanwhile, Taubenhaus served as associate plant pathologist at Delaware College from 1909 to 1916. In 1916 Bonney Youngblood, director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, hired Taubenhaus as chief of the division of plant pathology and physiology at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas Agricultural Experiment Station System in College Station. Taubenhaus directed the important basic research about Texas plant diseases. His studies of the diseases of onions, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, truck crops, and greenhouse crops attracted national attention. He published sixty-six articles, thirteen bulletins, and two circulars on these subjects and conducted additional studies on the diseases of melons, corn, cotton, sorghum, citrus fruits, peanuts, tomatoes, and roses. He studied block rot in cabbage and teamed with Walter Ezekiel, David Killough, J. F. Fudge, B. F. Dana, and S. E. Wolff to study cotton root rot. After years of research Taubenhaus concluded that the fungus of cotton root rot, a very destructive disease, lived on the roots of cotton plants and numerous wild plants that served as carriers of the disease. He then developed plowing practices that farmers could use to minimize losses from cotton root rot. Taubenhaus was a member of the Botanical Society of America, the American Phytopathological Society, Sigma Xi, the Authors' Club (London), and the Masonic lodge. He was also a leader in Jewish affairs at Texas A&M University and one of the founders of the Hillel Club of College Station. He married Esther Hirchenson of Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1910 and was the father of a son and a daughter. He died on December 13, 1937, in College Station. See also PLANT DISEASES.


The Jewish Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1974). Jacob Joseph Taubenhaus Folder, Texas A&M University Archives. Who's Who in America, 1936–37.

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Handbook of Texas Online, Irvin M. May, Jr., "TAUBENHAUS, JACOB JOSEPH," accessed April 18, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta14.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on June 14, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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