Lot 326 of 395:
ALs Founding father of the US Department of Agriculture  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - unsold
$10 - $100

Pioneer of American agricultural science, 1853 letter, foundation for US Department of Agriculture

Wilder, Marshall P.



Feb. 10, 1853


Autograph Letter, signed. 3 pp.

To Professor Joseph Henry [Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.]: Thanks “for your cooperation and influence in sustaining the objects of the U.S. Ag. Society”, and looking forward to a future “interchange of sentiments in relation to certain matters I would not like to place on paper. From the conversation which I had with quite a number of the Members of Congress, I feel encouraged that we shall receive the appropriation which has hitherto gone to the Agr. Dept. of the Patent Office. If so we will endeavour to produce a volume which shall be creditable to ourselves and honorable to the country…” While only an “amateur horticulturist” with a passionate interest in fruit cultivation, Massachusetts merchant Marshall P. Wilder (1798-1886) had an historic role in the history of American agriculture. When he wrote this letter to his influential Washington ally, Dr. Joseph Henry (1797-1878), first director of the Smithsonian Institution and “the most revered American scientist of his times”, Wilder had sold Daniel Webster and Stephen Douglas on his plan to create a private United States Agricultural Society which would assume and greatly expand the US Patent Office’s meager effort to “collect agricultural statistics”. Heading the Smithsonian-based Society for most of its eight years of existence, Wilder, according to historian Lyman Carrier, "brought to successful fruition agricultural movements which will endure as long as the United States Government continues to function" – the momentous results being federal establishment of “land grant colleges” to promote agriculture and the “mechanic arts”, and, in 1862, President Lincoln’s creation of the US Department of Agriculture.

Lot Amendments

Creased, light wear; very good.

Item number:
Shipping info:
We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS.  For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained directly from the lot details page for each item or by contacting Megan Hipsley prior to the auction.



Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.