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Michigan State Agricultural College

BY PRESIDENT ABBOT

The first superintendent of public instruction, the Rev. John D. Pierce, appointed in 1836, to whose zeal and wisdom in the cause of education the State owes so much, speaks, in 1839 of establishing a department of agriculture in one of the branches, as an object of great interest, and such establishment in one branch was subsequently urged as required. The law may have been amended to read one, instead of every branch. So, when the State normal school was established in 1849 (dedicated Oct. 5, 1852), its object, besides that of educating teachers, is, in the language of the law itself, "to give instruction in the mechanic arts, and in the art of husbandry and agricultural chemistry. " It was not very strange, therefore although a very unusual thing, that agricultural education should find, as it did in 1850, a recognition even in the constitution of the State. Meanwhile a new influence in favor of agricultural education, which finally took the form of a demand for a separate school of agriculture, for an Agricultural College, came into being. This was the State Agricultural Society. In March, 1849, some sixty members of the legislature, then in session, issued a call for a meeting to organize a state agricultural society. The society, still in vigorous life, and a friend of the agricultural college, was incorporated by an act approved April 2d, of the same year. John C. Holmes was its first secretary, an office which he held for several years. The society at once instituted annual fairs, and, following good New England and New York customs, spared time from exhibition to listen to an annual address.

Michigan State


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