Henry, William Arnon 1850 - 1932 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Henry, William Arnon 1850 - 1932

Henry, William Arnon 1850 - 1932 | Wisconsin Historical Society

agricultural leader, professor, first dean of the Univ. of Wisconsin College of Agriculture, b. Norwalk, Ohio. He taught in the public schools of New Haven, Ind., and Boulder, Colo. (1871-1876), and graduated from Cornell Univ. (B.Ag., 1880). In 1880 he came to the Univ. of Wisconsin as professor of botany and agriculture, and as manager of the university farm. In 1883 his duties were limited to those of professor of agriculture, and in 1887 he became director of the university's agricultural experiment station. When the College of Agriculture was organized in 1891, Henry was made dean and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1907. Known as the "father of scientific agriculture," he worked effectively to secure the support of the state government, the university regents, and Wisconsin farmers in developing an agricultural college within the university. He was instrumental in establishing the agricultural experiment station at the university in 1883, and was in charge of establishing the first farmers' institutes and agricultural short-course programs to be given in the U.S. (1885). Henry was largely responsible for bringing such agricultural experts as Stephen M. Babcock (q.v.) to the university, and in 1890 authorized the experiments that led to the development of the Babcock butter-fat test. He was president of the Wisconsin Dairyman's Association (1891), an agricultural delegate to the Paris Exposition of 1900, and the author of Feeds and Feeding (1898), one of the most widely used handbooks on stock growing. After leaving the university in 1907, he eventually retired to San Diego, Calif. Dict. Amer. Biog., Stipp]. 1; Who's Who in Amer., 17 (1932); W. H. Glover, Farm and College (Madison, 1952); Madison Wis. State Journal, Nov. 25, 1932.

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]