Robert J. Foster Papers, 1894-1958

Collection Number: 6549

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Robert J. Foster Papers, 1894-1958
Collection Number:
6549
Creator:
Foster, Robert J. (Robert Julian), 1880-1970
Quantity:
1.0 cubic ft.
Forms of Material:
correspondence, reports, newsclippings, ephemera, photographs
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Correspondence, military documents, newsclippings and photographs relating to Col. Robert J. Foster's career as a veterinarian and as an officer in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Colonial Robert J. Foster was an esteemed veterinarian and military officer. He was born on September 27, 1880, in Youngstown, Ohio. He moved with his family to Ithaca, New York, and graduated from Ithaca High School in 1899. He went on to attend the New York State Veterinary College at Cornell University and graduated in 1902 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation he taught veterinary science for three years. While teaching at the University of Missouri, he met Miss Alice Ewing Johnson, who was then a member of the freshman class. She was daughter of the late Colonel T.A. Johnson, president of Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. Miss Johnson received her A.B. degree in 1908 and married Robert Foster in June, 1909.
On August 30, 1905, Foster enlisted in the Army as a veterinarian for 12th U.S. Cavalry. When the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was established in 1916, he became one of the key officers in its development. He moved through the ranks and served in a variety of locales around the globe for nearly thirty years. His accomplishments include organizing veterinary training programs, assisting in the reorganization and refinement of the Veterinary Corps in its first 30 years, and establishing meat and dairy inspection plans for the Army as well as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.
In 1944, Foster officially retired. Upon his retirement he and his wife settled in San Francisco and enjoyed traveling to such places as Alaska, Africa and Spain. In 1956, he received distinguished service awards from the California Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Col. Foster died in California in February 1970.
For more information on Col. Robert J. Foster, please see the "Biography" series in this collection.

CHRONOLOGY

1880 Born on September 27 in Youngstown, Ohio.
1899 Graduated from Ithaca High School
1902 DVM, Cornell University
1902-1903 Instructor of Veterinary Science, Clemson College.
1902-1903 Assistant State Veterinarian, South Carolina
May 1903 Not accepted into the Army, probably due to tuberculosis.
1903-1904 Instructor, Veterinary Department, University of Missouri
1904 Worked "as a cowboy" on the M-Bar Ranch in Embar, WY, while recovering from tuberculosis
1904 Worked briefly as a BAI inspector in Denver Colorado
1904-1905 Instructor of Veterinary Science, Kansas State Agricultural College
1905 Enlisted in the Army, appointed as Veterinarian, 12th U.S. Cavalry, on August 30
1906 Joined the American Veterinary Medical Association
1909 Married Alice Ewing Johnston in June.
1905-1916 Served with the 12th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Oglethrope, GA; Fort William McKinley, Philippines; Fort Robinson, NE; Fort Meade, SD; and along the Mexican border.
1916 Transferred to 9th U.S. Cavalry in January, stationed at Camp Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands.
1916 U.S. Army Veterinary Corps established.
1918 Organized and commanded Veterinary Training School, Medical Officers Training Camp, Fort Riley, KS.
1918-1920 Officer in charge of organization, training and instruction for Veterinary Corps, Surgeon General's Office, Washington, DC.
1920-1922 Chief Veterinarian of the Army of Occupation, Coblenz, Germany.
1922-1926 Station Veterinarian and officer in charge of veterinary instruction, Cavalry School, Fort Riley, KS
1926-1929 Department Veterinarian, Panama Canal Department, Cordzal, Canal Zone.
1929-1931 Corps Area Veterinarian, 7th Corps Area, Omaha, NE
1931 Achieved rank of Colonel
1931-1934 Station and Division Veterinarian, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, TX.
1934-1938 Chief of Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office
1936-1937 President of the American Veterinary Medical Association
1938-1944 Corps Area Veterinarian, 9th Corps Area, Presidio of San Francisco, CA.
1944 Retired from the Army
1970 Died in February in California

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

This collection includes correspondence, military documents and photographs relating to Col. Robert J. Foster's career as a veterinarian and as an officer in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Special orders, lecture notes, legislation, photographs, tables, charts and commendations are included. Of particular note, is material relating to Foster's meat inspection work, which became part of the mission of Veterinary Corps as the Army replaced animal-based transportation with automobiles. As well as formulating inspection procedures for the Army, Foster also worked on sanitary food systems for the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are also files relating to his membership in the American Veterinary Medical Association. AVMA correspondents include Carl J. Norden, R.R. [Ralph Ralph] Dykstra, Cassius Way, L.A. Merillat.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Foster, Robert J. (Robert Julian), 1880-1970
Dykstra, R. R. (Ralph Ralph), 1879-
Way, Cassius
Norden, Carl J.
Merillat, Louis A. (Louis Adolph), 1868-
American Veterinary Medical Association
United States. Army. Veterinary Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)

Subjects:
Veterinary service, Military--United States


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Cite As:
Robert J. Foster Papers, # 6549. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIAL

For more biographical information, see Col. Foster's file in Cornell's Deceased Alumni Files
SERIES LIST

Series I. Biography
Box 1, Folders 1-5
Box 3
Series II. Lectures & Speeches
Box 1, Folders 6-11
Series III. Chronological Files
Box 1, Folders 12-20
Box 2, Folders 1-2
These files were organized by Robert J. Foster in chronological order, roughly relating to distinct periods in his military career (please refer to the chronology in the Biographical Note). The files contain correspondence, some ephemera, reports, orders, and other military documents. Foster also wrote explanatory notes about the certain records and included them in the files.
Series IV. Subject Files
Box2, Folders 3-12

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Series I: Biography
Box 1 Folder 1
Newsclippings
1926-1957
Box 1 Folder 2
Education
1894-1902
Box 1 Folder 3
Commendations
1910-1933
Box 1 Folder 4
Commendations upon Retirement
1944-1946
Box 1 Folder 5
Special Orders
1922-1935
Box 3
Miscellaneous
ca. 1908-1920
Box 3
Photographs
Series II. Lectures & Speeches
Box 1 Folder 6
On Education
ca. 1922
Box 1 Folder 7
"The Veterinary Service and Its Relation to Animal Management Instruction," Cavalry School, Fort Riley
1923
Box 1 Folder 8
"Post War Development of the Veterinary Service," Minnesota State Veterinary Association
16 Jan 1924
Box 1 Folder 9
"The Evacuation and Hospitalization of Animals in the Theatre of Operation," Cavalry School, Fort Riley
1925
Box 1 Folder 10
"The Veterinary Service and Its Relation of the Line," Cavalry School, Fort Riley
1925
Box 1 Folder 11
"A Modern Veterinarian's Place in a Community"
ca. 1920-1935
Series III. Chronological Files
Box 1 Folder 12
Chron Files
1904-1915
Box 1 Folder 13
Chron Files
1916-1920
Box 1 Folder 14
Chron Files
1921-1922
Box 1 Folder 15
Chron Files
1922-1926
Box 1 Folder 16
Chron Files
1926-1929
Box 1 Folder 17
Chron Files
1929-1931
Box 1 Folder 18
Chron Files
1932-1934
Box 1 Folder 19
Chron Files
1934-1938
Box 2 Folder 1
Chron Files
1939-1944
Box 2 Folder 2
Chron Files
1946-1948
Series IV: Subject Files
Box 2 Folder 3
AVMA
1935-1936
Box 2 Folder 4
AVMA
1937-1945
Box 2 Folder 5
Examinations
1916-1925
Box 2 Folder 6
Examinations
1926-1931, 1937, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 7
Legislation
1912-1937
Box 2 Folder 8
Legislation
1937
Box 2 Folder 9
Legislation
1937-1938
Box 2 Folder 10
Proposal to Discontinue the Veterinary Corps
1956-1957
Box 2 Folder 11
Veterinary Corps Organization and Structure
1920, 1925, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 12
Miscellaneous
1913-1935, n.d.