Ohio History Journal

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Writing to G. Sprague, corresponding secretary of the Ohio

State Board of Agriculture in 1854--just ninety years ago--a

young physician of Lorain County, Ohio, said:

I send you facts and observations relating to agricultural education;

also a brief notice of an attempt to establish an agricultural college in Ohio.

We will not stop to demonstrate, but will take it for granted, that agricul-

tural education is desirable--that it will conduce greatly to individual profit

and happiness, as well as to national wealth, and that a special education

with reference to his business is as desirable for the farmer as for the

lawyer or physician. The question that then presents itself is: "How is

this education to be obtained"? Must it be picked up here and there pro-

miscuously--a part from books, a part from periodicals, a part through the

help of societies and a part from experiment?   Men are trained for the

medical profession in medical schools, for the law in law schools, for min-

isters of the gospel in schools of theology, for artists in schools of design

and for commercial business in commercial colleges. Can anybody give us

a reason why agriculture should not have its colleges, also?2

He then recited what was being done in England, Scotland,

and Ireland; in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Austria in

well supported agricultural schools, with this comment:

Is it not surprising that this great nation, with its immense agricul-

tural interest and enterprise, should still be destitute of a class of institu-

tions elsewhere found to be so beneficial?   Ought we not to have an

agricultural college, under state supervision, at the capital of every state,

and supplied with a library, museum, laboratory, spacious lecture rooms, a

sufficient corps of lecturers and open without charge to every citizen of the


But in the meantime what should be done?    Agricultural professor-

ships appended to all of our literary institutions would doubtless he highly

beneficial to all who could avail themselves of college instruction, but the

majority of young farmers could not find the means or time to profit by


1 This paper was originally given before the Kit-Kat Club of Columbus, Ohio,

March 21, 1944.

2 Ohio State Board of Agriculture, Report for 1854, 209.