Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dr. Horace S. & Vilma G. Telford

Telford Headshot
Horace Telford

Entomology Chair: 1951 – 1969

Dr. Horace Telford was born December 16, 1909 in Idaho Falls, ID. After completing high school, Horace started his academic career at Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, CA. He spent a short period at Texas Technological College in Lubbock, TX, before completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, in 1933. Horace relocated to the University of Minnesota where he received his Master of Science in Entomology and Economic Zoology in 1936. He continued at the University of Minnesota to complete his Ph.D. in Entomology, with a minor in Aquatic Ecology in 1941. The American Association of Editors presented Horace Telford with the ‘National Prize for Journalism’ in 1940.

Horace has always been an avid fisherman and his first permanent position was North Dakota Sate University in Fargo, ND where he performed analysis of water (aquatic biology.) A stint with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries was followed by his service as an Aquatic Biologist with the Institute for Fisheries Research in Ann Arbor, MI. Other employment included “Supervisor of Grasshopper Control’ USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine in Idaho. His first position was a State Entomologist was with the North Dakota Experiment Station first as an Assistant Entomologist (1940-42) and then an Associate Entomologist (1943-44). From 1944 to 1947, he worked for Hess and Clark Company in Ohio where his research discovered the DDT effected animal tissue.

Dr. Telford jointed the Washington Agriculture Experiment Station at WSC (Washington State College) in 1947. He was hired on a split appointment between Agriculture and Zoology. He is recognized as the first person to discover that DDT accumulated in body fat and milk. Dr. Telford’s research interests were the taxonomy of Syrphidae (a family of beneficial flies), agricultural entomology, and the history of entomology and zoology. He taught Entomological History and Literature, Principles of Applied Entomology, and Pesticides and the Environment. Dr. Telford directed the research of five graduate students and served on the thesis committees of many students. He is a lifetime member of Sigma Xi and the Entomological Society of America. Dr. Telford was  Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the American Institute of Biological Scientists, and Entomological Society of  Washington.

Early in the 1950’s, Dr. Telford started an effort to establish and independent Department of Entomology, within the College of Agriculture. This involved several WSU entomologists located at various Agricultural Research Centers scattered throughout the state. Professor Telford forced the issue by petitioning the university administration to unify the elements of entomology with those in Agriculture. This petition was granted and Dr. Telford became the first Chair of the Department of Entomology, which moved into the newly completed Johnson Hall. Dr. Telford was the administrative leader of a group of entomologists from 1951 through 1968. He retired from WSU in 1975; however, he was appointed an advisor to the University of Curatiba in Brazil for one year and continued to teach Agricultural Entomology at Florida A & M through much of the 1980’s. His international experience includes sabbaticals to Brazil and Costa Rica.

Vilma G. Telford was born November 20, 1908 at Tanawanda, New York where she grew up and attended school. Following high school she received her teacher’s certificate from Buffalo State College, after which Vilma taught school for several years near Grand Island near Niagara Falls. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Home Economics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, following which she worked as a County Extension Agent in New York. Vilma later obtained her Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University and later joined the faculty at Cornell University as a Specialist in the Home Economics Department.

Vilma became a County Extension Agent, first in New York, then in Bozeman, MT and on to Washington State University’s Colfax Office. It was here that she met Horace Telford and in April of 1958 they were married in Seattle, WA. They then settled in Pullman. Vilma died of age related causes at the age of 89 on October 13, 1998.

Their three children, Charles Telford, Carol Ann Telford Butler, and Vivian Telfor Anderson, establish this endowment in honor of Dr. Horace S. Telford.