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SCHOFFELMAYER, VICTOR HUMBERT

SCHOFFELMAYER, VICTOR HUMBERT (1878–1962). Victor Humbert Schoffelmayer, newspaper writer and agricultural authority, was born in 1878 in Stuttgart, Germany, and was taken as an infant to Chicago with his parents, who soon took him back to Germany; his father returned alone to Chicago, where he died, and Victor was nine years old when his mother brought him back to the United States. He was educated at New Engelberg College, a Benedictine boarding school in northwest Missouri, and at Josephinium Technical College in Ohio. He also attended classes at Cornell University and Kansas State College of Agriculture. He became ill, possibly from tuberculosis, and in 1896 moved to San Antonio, where he met William H. Menger of the Menger Hotel, who sent him to Castroville to regain his health. Later Schoffelmayer worked for Menger as a writer on the Southern Messenger. He taught school briefly in Pilot Point, Texas, in 1897, studied painting under George Upp in Missouri, and then opened a piano studio in Keokuk, Iowa. Beginning in 1905 Schoffelmayer was a reporter on a number of newspapers in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Minnesota. He was the art and music critic on the Minneapolis Journal before he became editor in 1913 of the Southwest Trail, a monthly agricultural-development journal financed by the Rock Island Railroad Lines to attract settlers to the Southwest. Working out of Chicago, he edited the Southwest Trail at a time when there were few agricultural bulletins published. He and his wife, Carrie, traveled over 50,000 miles a year in a special railroad car, promoting farm machinery and distributing agricultural literature. With the coming of World War I the Rock Island Lines project ended.

In December 1917 Schoffelmayer began working for George Bannerman Dealyqv as field editor of the Semi-Weekly Farm News, a subsidiary of the Dallas Morning News; soon thereafter he became agricultural editor of the Dallas Morning News. During the 1920s and 1930s his department urged a diversified farming program for the small farmers of Texas. His insistence on the need for crop diversification led to the establishment of the Institute of Technology and Plant Industry at Southern Methodist University (later separated from the university and renamed the Texas Research Foundationqv). Schoffelmayer was in charge of radio station WFAA's "Farm Hour" from its beginning in the mid-1930s until his retirement in 1947, after which he served as a consultant on the staff of the Southwest Research Institute. During his long career he did much to advance farming and ranching methods in Texas. He was the author of four books: Texas at the Crossroads (1935); White Gold (1941), the story of the cotton industry of the Southwest; Here Comes Tomorrow (1942), a study of Texas agricultural methods and related problems in European farming; and Southwest Trails to New Horizons (1960), an autobiography.

Schoffelmayer served as president of the Texas Chemurgic Council and as a member of the board of trustees for the Texas A&M Foundation and board of governors of the National Farm Chemurgic Council. He was a fellow of the American Geographic Society, a life member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, and a member of the Texas Academy of Scienceqv and Sigma Delta Chi, an honorary journalism fraternity. In 1937 he served as president of the Texas Geographic Society, and in 1939 the Dallas Agriculture Club elected him Man of the Year. In 1906 Schoffelmayer was married to Carrie Foster Fleming of St. Louis, Missouri; after her death in 1944 he was married in 1949 to Mrs. Aimee Worthen Friedgen of Los Angeles. He died on April 30, 1962, in Durate, California, and was buried there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of Texas, 1967. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"SCHOFFELMAYER, VICTOR HUMBERT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc12), accessed October 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 30, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.