F. H. King Papers, 1883-1929

Summary Information
Title: F. H. King Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1883-1929

  • King, F. H. (Franklin Hiram), 1848-1911
Call Number: Wis Mss NC

Quantity: 0.6 cubic feet (2 archives boxes)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Correspondence of Franklin Hiram King, professor of agricultural physics at the University of Wisconsin, 1888-1901, and later chief of the Division of Soil Management of the United States Department of Agriculture. The letters relate chiefly to soil research, King's technical publications, and the extension of agricultural research through federal grants. Among his regular correspondents were Congressman Henry C. Adams; Eugene W. Hilgard of the University of California agriculture department; William D. Hoard; Milton Whitney, chief of the United States Bureau of Soils; and Harvey W. Wiley of the United States Bureau of Chemistry. Letters written by King to his wife during his trip to Asia in 1909 contain data collected for his book Farmers of Forty Centuries. A volume of field notes on soils of the Goldsboro, North Carolina, region is also included.


Forms part of the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Collection.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-wis000nc
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Scope and Content Note

A large number of these papers relate to a controversy between King and Milton Whitney, chief of the Bureau of Soils of the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington. King had been agricultural physicist at the University of Wisconsin from 1888 to 1901, when he resigned to accept a position in the Federal Department. There he made investigations in soils for the bureau, and prepared for publication a bulletin in six parts, only three of which were actually published. Because of dissensions within the bureau and controversies regarding the value of the “suppressed” part of the report, King resigned in 1904 and returned to Madison.

Among the papers are letters from Whitney; from James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture; Harvey W. Wiley, chief of the Bureau of Chemistry of the department; Cyril G. Hopkins, of the University of Illinois College of Agriculture; H.G. Wheeler of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture; Charles E. Thorne, of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station; E.W. Hilgard, Dean and Director of the University of California College of Agriculture; J.W. Nelson, J.O. Belz, and Oswald Schreiner, employees in the bureau; and Henry C. Adams of Madison, member of Congress from the 2nd District.

In addition to the controversy described above, some of these letters, particularly those of Dean Hilgard and Congressman Adams, deal with general policies and political connections of the department, technical matters on soils research, the Adams Act for aid to agricultural research, extension of agricultural experimental work in the United States, and other allied subjects.

A small collection of correspondence with the W.D. Hoard Company of Fort Atkinson around 1908 is mostly devoted to discussions of the preparation, publication, and distribution of King's books on Ventilation and Farmers of Forty Centuries.

Additional papers, presented by Mrs. King in February 1946, consist mainly of letters written to her by Professor King in 1909 while traveling in China and Japan collecting data for Farmers of Forty Centuries (1911). There is also correspondence with Herbert Quick, editor of Farm and Fireside and R. Patrick Wright of Glasgow, Scotland, regarding publication of articles; with Thomas C. Chamberlain on scientific problems and publications; with Charles Van Hise and others regarding the purchase of a tract of land owned by King adjoining the Agricultural Campus; some biographical sketches of King; and a small volume of notes made by King in 1902 while on a field trip to Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs. F.H. King, Madison, Wisconsin, April 1945 (through Dr. W.H. Glover of La Crosse) and February 1946.

Contents List
Wis Mss NC
Box   1
Folder   1
Paper read by King, 1883 December
Box   1
Folder   2
Letters from Europe, 1895
Box   1
Folder   3
Box   1
Folder   4
Box   1
Folder   5
Note: Includes volume of notes from 1902 relating to Gladsboro vicinity, North Carolina.
Box   1
Folder   6
1906-1907 May
Box   2
Folder   1
1907 June-1908
Box   2
Folder   2
1909 January-April
Box   2
Folder   3
1909 May-December
Box   2
Folder   4
1910-1929, undated
Note: Includes 1946 additions.