Jesse Jarue Mark

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Jesse Jarue Mark
Alma mater
Known for
  • One of the first African-American scientists to earn a PhD in botany
Scientific career
  • Botany
  • Plant physiology

Jesse Jarue Mark was one of the first African-Americans to gain a PhD in botany, and likely to be the first at Iowa State University, where he joined the faculty.[2] He was also a Rockefeller Agriculture Fellow.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jesse Jarue Mark was born in 1906 in Apple Springs, Texas,[2] a town that had a school with 28 children in 1896 and a total population of 75 by World War I.[4] A mis-spelling of his name as Jessie in the historical record appears to have led to the assumption that he was a woman.[5]

Education and career[edit]

Mark attended the historically Black college, Prairie View State College (now Prairie View A&M University). He was awarded a baccalaureate degree in 1929.[2] Mark earned his master's degree at Iowa State University (ISU) in 1931, gained a position as professor at Kentucky State Industrial College (now Kentucky State University), and continued research associated with the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station at ISU,[2] a research program that was founded in 1888.[6]

Mark was awarded his PhD by ISU in 1935. His doctoral work, "The relation of reserves to cold resistance in alfalfa", was published in 1936 and is in university version[7] and journal version online.[8] Mark studied cold resistance by growing six varieties of Grimm alfalfa known to have different levels of hardiness to cold. He analyzed samples from 50 representative plants of each variety.

Mark was a Rockefeller Agriculture Fellow in 1935-1936.[3][9] Mark died on February 20, 1971 aged sixty-five. He is buried in the Nigton Memorial Park Cemetery in Texas.[1]


  1. ^ a b Mahoney, Eleanor (2018-01-27). "Jesse Jarue Mark, Jr. (1905-1971)". BlackPast. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  2. ^ a b c d Warren, Wini (1999). Black women scientists in the United States. Bloomington, Ind. [u.a.]: Indiana University Press. pp. 192–193. ISBN 0253336031.
  3. ^ a b "Rockefeller Archive Center, African-American History and Race Relations" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Apple Springs, Tx". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  5. ^ Mahoney, Eleanor (27 January 2018). "Jesse Jarue Mark, Jr. (1905-1971)". Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station". Iowa State University. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  7. ^ Mark, Jesse Jarue. "The relation of root reserves to cold resistance in alfalfa". Iowa State University Digital Repository. Iowa State University. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  8. ^ Mark, Jesse Jarue (October 1936). "The relation of reserves to cold resistance in alfalfa". Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station Research Bulletin. 108 (208): 302–335. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Rockefeller Foundation records (Box 21)". Rockefeller Archive Center. Retrieved 25 February 2017.