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William Arnon Henry | 1903

The very first portrait hung in the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait gallery honors William Henry a professor and dean at the University of Wisconsin who developed the first dairy course in America and wrote the seminal book on scientific stock feeding.

1850-1932 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936); original portrait by James R. Stuart

Impact & Accomplishments

The portrait of William Arnon Henry, originally painted by James R. Stuart, was the very first to hang in the Saddle & Sirloin Club in 1903. Born in Norwalk, Ohio, Henry graduated from Cornell University with a degree in agriculture in 1880 and immediately accepted a position as joint professor of botany and agriculture at the University of Wisconsin.

He studied Wisconsin’s climate and conditions and affirmed that dairy cattle should figure prominently in the state’s agricultural future. He built some of the earliest silos for experimental purposes, and he set out to find funding for scientific investigations. In 1883, an agricultural experiment station was founded, with Henry leading the program. He developed the first agricultural short course and the first dairy course in America.

Henry lured Dr. Stephen Babcock to the university and encouraged him to develop a simple test for butterfat. In 1891, the College of Agriculture was established, with Henry as dean. Dean Henry is considered the first great popular teacher of scientific stock feeding. Feeds and Feeding, co-authored with Frank B. Morrison, was a foundational text. Dean Henry was awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Illinois and Vermont, as well as Michigan State College.

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