By Henry Hartman, in: Catalog and Evaluation of the Pear Collection at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 41, 1957.
While most pear materials in this, and similar collections elsewhere, may never contribute directly to American pomology, there is reason to believe that their preservation is of considerable importance. Sources of pear materials, once abundant in this country, are rapidly disappearing. The great collections of varieties built up and maintained by pear fanciers have all but disappeared. Commercial growers who once took pride in growing many varieties of pears now confine their efforts to a few. Even experiment stations find it difficult to maintain their variety collections because of pressure from other activities. What is true of the United States is also true of Europe and other regions abroad. France and Belgium, long considered repositories for pear materials, are rapidly reducing their variety collections for economic reasons.
This leads to only one conclusion. Pear materials as known in the past will soon disappear unless the few remaining collections are preserved. It is true that the maintenance of these collections involves effort and expense but one can never adequately anticipate future needs. Materials that appear to be worthless now may ultimately become valuable as parent stocks in future pear improvement programs. Standards by which varieties are judged also change from time to time, and varieties now held in low esteem may conceivably become important in the future.