Liberty Hyde Bailey (March 15, 1858 – December 25, 1954) was an American horticulturist and reformer of rural life. He was cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science. As an energetic reformer during the Progressive Era, he was instrumental in starting agricultural extension services, the 4-H movement, the nature study movement, parcel post and rural electrification. He was considered the father of rural sociology and rural journalism.
Born in South Haven, Michigan, as the third son of farmers Liberty Hyde Bailey Sr. and Sarah Harrison Bailey. In 1876 Bailey met Lucy Millington who encouraged his interest in botany and mentored him. Bailey entered the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC, now Michigan State University) in 1877 and graduated in 1882 (he had taken a year off from study for health reasons). The next year, he became assistant to the renowned botanist Asa Gray, of Harvard University. This was arranged by a professor at MAC, William James Be