George Franklin Knowlton, ESA Fellow (1940)

Dr. George Franklin Knowlton (deceased 8 April 1987), a professor at Utah State University (USU) and a U.S. Army engineer, was elected as Fellow in 1940. He was well known for hundreds of publications and pamphlets on various pest insects of beet, berry, potato, tomato, and other agricultural and rangeland crops; he made significant contributions to the ecology of the beet leafhopper Circulifer tenellus (Baker) and the dynamics of biocontrol between insects and lizards. He also contributed to the war effort in WWII by battling rodent and insect pests that plagued soldiers and their food.

Dr. Knowlton was born in Farmington, UT on 28 July 1901. He moved to Cache Valley (Logan, UT) to attend college at Utah State University, which was then called Utah Agricultural College. He received his B.S. in entomology in 1923. In 1924, he was awarded his M.S., becoming the assistant entomologist of the college, and he began teaching entomology and zoology. In 1925, he married Mary Brown Watkins in the Logan Latter-Day Saints Temple with whom he fathered two daughters. He then moved east to pursue his Ph.D. He began his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. After one year, he transferred to Ohio State University, where he received his doctorate in 1932. Upon returning to USU, he became an associate entomologist. In 1939, he was promoted to a research associate, and in 1943 he became a full professor. During WWII, he served with the U.S. Army Engineers. As the 9th service command entomologist, he headed and organized the Insect and Rodent Control Unit. He later contributed to the U.S. War Department Technical Manual by providing information on insect control.

Dr. Knowlton also served in several professional societies; he was vice chairman of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Entomologists (1939), chairman of the Pacific Slope Branch of the American Association of Economic Entomologists (1940–1941), chairman of the Northwest Vegetable Insect Control Conference (1948–1949), and president of the Utah Mosquito Abatement Association (1962).

Dr. Knowlton published numerous articles and technical bulletins. A query in Google Scholar of “author: G. F. Knowlton” returns over 350 related citations. After receiving emeritus status at USU, he continued to serve as a senior consultant on numerous federal grants. Dr. Knowlton’s service and dedication continue to be appreciated within the ESA, at Utah State University, and by soldiers and citizens across the county.

(updated July, 2012)