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Mally, Frederick William (1868–1939)

Horace R. Burke Biography Entry

Frederick W. Mally, pioneer entomologist and horticulturist, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 30, 1868. He received a B.A. in 1887 and an M.S. in 1889, both from Iowa State College, where he studied with Seaman A. Knapp, whose agricultural demonstration work was responsible for initiation of the Agricultural Extension Service in the United States (see TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE). In 1891, after brief employment in Illinois and in the United States Department of Agriculture on cotton bollworm studies, Mally moved to Texas. In 1893 he published a valuable report on the pink bollworm as Bulletin 29 of the United States Department of Agriculture. The same year he resigned from federal service and became manager of the Galveston Nursery and Orchard Company, near Dickinson. There he served as director of the Texas Commission on Insect Pests and Fungus Diseases. He was also active in getting the first orchard and nursery inspection law passed in Texas.

In 1899 he became the first professor of entomology at Texas A&M. His assignment was to study the boll weevil. In this capacity he established in 1899 the first field laboratory for study of the pest. He was the first to establish details of the life cycle of the boll weevil, to stress use of early-maturing cotton varieties as a way of managing the pest, and to advocate the use of lead arsenate to control it. His 1902 Report on the Boll Weevil was one of the earliest comprehensive works on the life history and control of the weevil.

Mally resigned his position at Texas A&M in 1902 and entered the nursery business. In 1909–10 he served as state entomologist of the Texas Department of Agriculture and published one of the first comprehensive agricultural surveys of the Panhandle. He became Bexar county agricultural agent in 1915 and served in this position until his retirement in 1938. He also promoted onion culture in South Texas. He served as president of the Texas State Horticultural Society, the Texas State Truck Growers Association, and the Texas Entomological Society. He presided over the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Texas Entomological Society on February 9–11, 1939, although he suffered from poor health at the time. Mally, who was married to Mattie (Tabor), died at San Antonio on May 7, 1939, and was buried in Bryan.

Journal of Economic Entomology 32 (August 1939). V. A. Little, A Brief History of Entomology at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (College Station: College Archives, 1960). H. Osborn, Fragments of Entomological History (2 vols., Columbus, Ohio: Spahr and Glenn, 1946). San Antonio Express, May 8, 1939.

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

Horace R. Burke, “Mally, Frederick William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 14, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995