Eugene Woldemar Hilgard


Mineralogy, Geology, Zoology, Botany 1873-1875

EUGENE WOLDEMAR HILGARD was born at Zweibriicken, Bavaria, January 5, 1833, son of Theodore Erasmus and Margaretha (Pauli) Hilgard. He came with his parents to America in 1835 and received his early education under the tuition of his father at Belleville, Illinois. Later he returned to Germany and studied at the Royal Mining School, Freiberg, and at the universities of Zurich and Heidelberg, taking his degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the latter institution in 1853. Coming to America again he served as Assistant State Geologist of Mississippi from 1855 to 1857; was chemist in charge of the laboratory of the Smithsonian Institution, and Lecturer on Chemistry in the National Medical College in Washington, 1857-I858; State Geologist of Mississippi from 1858 to 1866, and Professor of Chemistry in the University of Mississippi and State Geologist from 1866 to 1873. In 1873 he accepted a call to the University of Michigan, where he was Professor of Mineralogy, Geology, Zoology, and Botany, for two years. Since 1875 he has been Professor of Agricultural Chemistry in the University of California and Director of the State Agricultural Experiment Station. He conducted the agricultural division of the Northern Transcontinental Survey, 1881-1883, and made a specialty of the study of soils of the southwestern states and of the Pacific slope in their relation to Geology, to their chemical and physical composition, to their native flora, and to their agricultural qualities. He was elected to a membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1872, and is a member of many other scientific societies. He published a report on the Agriculture and Geology of Mississippi (1860); on the Geology of Louisiana and the Rock-salt Deposits of Petite Anse Island (1869); reports on the Experimental Work of the College of Agriculture, University of California (1877-1898); Report on the Arid Regions of the Pacific Coast (1887); and monographs on Mississippi, Louisiana, and California, in the Report on Cotton Production of the United States Census Report of 1880, which he edited. He prepared for the United States Weather Bureau in 1892 a discussion of the Relations of Climate to Soils, which was translated into several European languages and gained for the author in 1894, from the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the Liebig medal for important advances in agricultural science. He has also published numerous papers on chemical, geological, and agricultural subjects, in government reports, and in scientific journals both at home and abroad. He received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Mississippi in 1882, from the University of Michigan in 1887, and from Columbia University in 1887. In 1903 he received from the University of Heidelberg the honorary diploma reconfirming the title of Doctor of Philosophy after the lapse of fifty years, in recognition of the scientific work accomplished since the doctorate was first conferred in 1853. He was married in 1860 to J. Alexandrina Bello, of Madrid, Spain.

Burke A. Hinsdale and Isaac Newton Demmon, History of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1906), pp. 248-249.