The University of California first offered instruction in dairying in 1879. This offering consisted of a course of twelve lectures by Professor E. J. Wickson. Prof. Wickson came to the University in 1875 with a primary interest in dairying but later transferred his interest to horticulture and succeeded Prof. Hilgaard as Dean of Agriculture. After this series of lectures instruction in dairying apparently lapsed until 1899 when Prof. M. E. Jaffa gave a course in Chemistry of Dairy Products. Courses in dairying have been offered since that time. A nucleus of a dairy faculty was established in 1900 to 1902 with the addition of Professors Leroy Anderson, A. R. Ward and E. W. Major. A dairy faculty in the University has been continuous since that time but the importance of the subject did not merit the status of an administrative department (or division as it was then called) until the work in this field was transferred to the University Farm campus at Davis in 1908. Thus, the history of the Department , as such, begins in 1908 and continues until the Department's dissolution in 1959 a period of 51 years.

The history of the Department can be divided roughly into three periods, each one corresponding to, and to a considerable extent shaping the development of, the evolution of the dairy industry in the state. The first period from about 1900 to 1917 was the period of practical instruction. It was developed and directed by Prof. Anderson as the leader, assisted by L. M. Davis, H. S. Baird, E. H. Hagemann, and others. The efforts in this era were directed primarily toward short courses and the 3-year Farm School program. The second period from 1917 to 1946, interrupted by two World Wars, was the time of development of college level instruction in dairy industry, both undergraduate and graduate. The concept of scientific research also was introduced at this time. Dr. C. L. Roadhouse was the Head of the Division of Dairy Industry during most of this period and was the prime mover in these developments. Practical instruction in the form of short courses and Farm School course -- or non-degree as they came to be called -- continued with the academic work superimposed. The third period from 1946 to 1959 was the period of expansion and intensification of scientific research and of the maturation of the academic programs and the waning and eventual disappearance of non-degree instruction. The author had the privilege of administering this latter development including the building of a suitably qualified faculty following World War II.

Great impetus was given to recognition of the importance of research by the passage of the California Dairy Industry Advisory Board Act (later California Dairy Council) in 1945 and its implementation in 1946. This Act made available to the staff of the Dairy Industry Division for the first time substantial and dependable funds for dairy products research.

These historical divisions will not be dealt with as such later but attention is called to them here so that the reader may be aware of them as he reads the manuscript.