Wilson, James, 1835-1920

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (1897-1913), Congressman from Iowa, and professor of agriculture at Iowa State University.

From the description of Letters, 1896-1911. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233117045

Agriculturist, Iowa and U.S. congressman, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Professor of Agriculture at Iowa State College. James Wilson (1835-1920) was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of 14 children. The family emigrated to the U.S. in 1851, settling in Connecticut, but moved to a farm near Traer in Tama County, Iowa in 1855. During his early years in Iowa, James attended Grinnell College, began farming, married Esther Wilbur in 1863, and edited the Traer Star-Clipper. He was elected to the Iowa legislature, then to three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress he served on the Committee on Agriculture and the Rules Committee, and acquired the nickname "Tama Jim" to distinguish him from Senator James Falconer Wilson ("Jefferson Jim") also from Iowa.

After his congressional career, Tama Jim returned to farming, and wrote for the Iowa Homestead and other farm journals. In 1891 he was appointed Professor of Agriculture and Director of the Experiment Station at Iowa State College where he placed agricultural instruction on a scientific and practical basis. During his six years at ISC he established a very close relationship with George Washington Carver, often discussing the possibility of applying the principles of plant genetics to improving livestock.

From 1897 to 1913 he served as Secretary of Agriculture under three presidents (McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft). During his supervision the department extended its activities, established experiment stations in all parts of the U.S., inaugurated farm demonstration work in the South, began cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, and sent experts and scientists all over the world to gather information for the promotion of agriculture. Also under his tenure, legislation dealing with plant and animal diseases, insect pests, forestry, irrigation, conservation, road building, and agricultural education was enacted.

After retirement from the cabinet he returned home to Tama County and was appointed by the governor to investigate and report on agricultural conditions in Great Britain together with his longtime friend "Uncle" Henry Wallace.

From the description of Papers, 1887-1976. (Iowa State University). WorldCat record id: 17542728

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "Willard" to "Yorke". Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn John Appleton Stewart correspondence, ca. 1902-ca. 1932 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Jones, Charles Jesse, 1844-1919. Charles Jesse Jones Collection, 1872-1990 (bulk 1872-1936). University of Arizona Libraries
referencedIn Needham, James Carson, 1864-1942. James Carson Needham papers, 1893-1936. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Wilson, James, 1835-1920. Abraham Lincoln collection of papers, 1861-1865. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Curtis, Austin W., 1911-. Austin W. Curtis papers, 1896-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Wilson, James, 1835-1920. Papers, 1887-1976. Iowa State University, Parks Library
creatorOf Wallace, Henry, 1836-1916. Papers, 1860-1924. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn William McKinley Papers, circa 1847-1935, (bulk 1897-1901) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. William H. Taft papers, 1784-1973 (bulk 1880-1930). Library of Congress
referencedIn Charles Dewey Hilles papers, 1823-1955 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. Papers of William H. Taft, 1784-1973. Library of Congress
creatorOf Wilson, James, 1836-1920. Letters, 1896-1911. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Hilles, Charles Dewey, 1867-1949. Charles Dewey Hilles papers, 1823-1955 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Elihu Root Papers, 1863-1937, (bulk 1899-1937) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Depew, Chauncey M., 1834-1928. Chauncey Mitchell Depew papers, 1879-1928 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Wallace, Henry, 1836-1916. Papers, 1860-1924. [microfilm]. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Austin W. Curtis Papers, 1896-1971 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Depew, Chauncey M., 1834-1928. Chauncey Mitchell Depew papers, 1879-1928 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn James R. Mann Papers, 1887-1922 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Wallace, Henry Cantwell, 1866-1924. Papers, 1904-1930. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Shafter, William Rufus, 1835-1906. William Rufus Shafter correspondence, 1898-1901. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Mann, James R. (James Robert), 1856-1922. Papers of James R. Mann, 1887-1922. Library of Congress
referencedIn McKinley, William, 1843-1901. William McKinley papers, circa 1847-1935 (bulk 1897-1901). Library of Congress
creatorOf Stewart, John Appleton, 1865-1928. John Appleton Stewart correspondence, ca. 1902-ca. 1932. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Elihu Root Papers, 1863-1937, (bulk 1899-1937) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Depew, Chauncey M., 1834-1928. Chauncey Mitchell Depew papers, 1879-1928 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn William H. Taft Papers, 1784-1973, (bulk 1880-1930) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Curtis, Austin W., 1911- person
associatedWith Curtis, William Eleroy, 1850-1911, person
associatedWith Depew, Chauncey M. (Chauncey Mitchell), 1834-1928. person
associatedWith Friley, Charles Edwin. person
associatedWith Hay, John, 1838-1905. person
associatedWith Hilles, Charles Dewey, 1867-1949. person
associatedWith Jones, Charles Jesse, 1844-1919. person
correspondedWith Mann, James R. (James Robert), 1856-1922. person
correspondedWith McKinley, William, 1843-1901. person
associatedWith National Association of Manufacturers (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Needham, James Carson, 1864-1942. person
associatedWith O'Donnell, I.D., person
associatedWith Pammel, L. H. (Louis Hermann), 1862-1931. person
associatedWith Root, Elihu, 1845-1937. person
associatedWith Shafter, William Rufus, 1835-1906. person
associatedWith Smith, Walter I., 1862-1966, person
associatedWith Stewart, John Aikman, 1822-1926, person
associatedWith Stewart, John Appleton, 1865-1928. person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. person
associatedWith Townsend, Martin Ingham, 1810-1903, person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Agriculture corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, Henry, 1836-1916. person
associatedWith Wallace, Henry Agard, 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Wallace, Henry Cantwell, 1866-1924. person
associatedWith Wilson family. family
Place Name Admin Code Country
Iowa
United States
Europe
Iowa
United States
Subject
Agriculture
Legislators
Agriculturists
Cattle industry and trade--History
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1835-08-16

Death 1920-08-26

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