Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Levi Stockbridge Papers
Levi Stockbridge was born in Hadley, Massachusetts on March 13, 1820 to a well-known family of agriculturalists, lawyers, and educators. He attended local schools as a boy, and due largely to his own initiative and efforts, became a widely respected expert and pioneer in agriculture. He also had a reputation as a fine public speaker, a talent he cultivated at the local lyceum.
Stockbridge came to Massachusetts Agricultural College (M.A.C.) in 1867 as an instructor in agricultural research. During his tenure as instructor and president of M.A.C. (1867-1882), he conducted many experiments and developed experimental methods and formulas on manuering, and chemical fertilization, which won him wide acclaim. Stockbridge was also a consumer advocate of the time, demanding that public trials of farm equipment take place on the grounds M. A. C.
Stockbridge enjoyed the respect and devotion of his students. He was firm and demanding with them, as demonstrated in his carefully kept attendance and labor records, as well as fair and compassionate, often loaning money to his students and even to the college during hard times.
As a noted agriculturalist, he served on the Massachusetts Cattle Commission from 1869-1891, and on the State Board of Agriculture for 12 years. His work on the Cattle Commission dealt to a great extent with control of contagious diseases among cattle.
Stockbridge participated in civic affairs and politics. A stalwart of the Grange, he was a leader in the cooperative movement. He served as a town selectman, town moderator, and assessor at various times for the town of Amherst, as well as a state legislator - elected to the House of Representatives in 1855, 1870, and 1883, and serving in the Senate from 1865 -1866. He was unsuccessful in a bid for a U.S. Congress seat on the 1880 Labor-Greenback party ticket.
Stockbridge remained active lecturing and traveling until his death on May 2, 1904, at the age of 84.