1833-1896 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Born near Georgetown, Kentucky, William H. Hatch was an attorney and Confederate officer before his election as U. S Representative from Missouri in 1879.
While serving as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, he sponsored the Hatch Act of 1887, which established state agricultural experiment stations for the colleges created by the Morrill Land-Grant Act.
University buildings and facilities across the nation are named in his honor. William Hatch championed agricultural causes throughout his career, including legislation to elevate the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level. Hatch Farm in Hannibal, Missouri, became the Hatch Dairy Experiment Station after his death.
Did You Know?
The three portraits of William Henry Hatch, Justin Smith Morrill and Henry Cullen Adams are framed as a triptych, while most of the other works in the collection are framed individually. The grouping represents three significant agriculture policy leaders of the nineteenth century; leaders who were, collectively, responsible for the establishment of the nation’s agricultural experiment stations. These men were among the earliest inducted into the Saddle & Sirloin Club Portrait Collection.
Hatch has become synonymous with the agricultural experiment stations that were founded by his legislation. He is best remembered through the many laboratories and lecture halls named in his memory at land-grant institutions across the United States. In his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, a bronze statue was erected in his name in 1914, nearly twenty years after his death, which still stands in the center of that town today. In 1987 a plaque was added to this monument commemorating the centennial of the Hatch Act of 1887.
Hatch Experiment Station (East Experiment Station): view of front of the building with greenhouses, 1910. University Photograph Collection (RG 110-176). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries