Thomas W. Barrett was born September 6, 1917 on a fruit farm in Orem, Utah. While growing up on the family farm, Barrett became interested in crops, soils, and would later find a passion for agronomy (the science of soil management and crop production). After completing a PhD in Soil Fertility and Plant Physiology at Cornell University in 1950, Barrett published several papers about soil sciences, sulfur dioxide pollution, and crop maintenance throughout his career.
The Thomas W. Barrett papers include personal correspondence, photographs, and a few family papers. The majority of the collection consists of research correspondence, photographs, negatives, transparency slides, research files, field notes, and publications by both Barrett and other agronomists and agriculturalists.