Liberty Hyde Bailey was born in a small house in the woods on March 15, 1858 near south Haven, Michigan. He attended Michigan Agricultural College (or MAC, now known as Michigan State University) and began his studies in horticulture botany, cultivated plants. Shortly after graduating, Bailey returned to his alma mater to chair the nation’s first department of Horticulture and Landscape Gardening. Through the developing and publishing of his belief of the importance of understanding plants in gardens and those in farmer’s fields, he began to cement his reputation as the Father of Modern Horticulture.
Two years later, Bailey accepted a position at Cornell University. He continued to develop horticultural as well as his interests in agricultural education. Through his and the university’s efforts to expand education beyond university walls, the Morrill Act was passed which established the land-grant system to provide colleges devoted to the “practical arts” as well as the liberal arts in every state. To aid extension, Bailey served as director of the New York State Experiment Station at Cornell for many years. He became the natural candidate for president of the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations. After his term, President Roosevelt appointed Bailey the national chair of commission on country-life. Through his service with the Commission he also maintained his position as dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell.