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

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Lot closed - unsold
Estimate:
$10 - $100

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

Author:
Wilder, Marshall P.

Place:
Boston

Publisher:

Date:
Feb. 10, 1853

Description:

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

Condition:
Creased, light wear; very good.


 
Item number:
238441
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