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Arthur B. Howard (1837-1907) of Belchertown, Massachusettsmarker, was America's foremost strawberry breeder of his time. His Howard 17 (Premier) variety is the ancestor of most American strawberries today. Howard was one of the few breeders before 1900 to use systematic methods. He wrote many horticultural articles for the New England Homestead, the leading agricultural paper of that time. S.T. Maynard, a close friend of Howard, was the first horticulture professor of Massachusetts. Howard's son, Everett, joined the effort to develop a variety of plants. The Howard 17 was selected from about 800 seedlings from a cross made in 1904. Unfortunately Howard died, 11 June 1907, before his strawberry was named and introduced. Other plants that were named and introduced were the Howard apple, Howard Star Petunia, Royal Splendor Verbena, Lilliput Zinnia, and the Bay State tomato. In 1929, the American Pomological Society gave the Marshall Wilder Medal for notable fruit varieties to A.B. Howard and Son for Premier or Howard 17 as the most widely grown of all strawberries, 1908.

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