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ADDRESSES AT MEMORIAL SERVICES IN HONOR OF DR. E. W. HILGARD, UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA, JANUARY 30, 1916
ADDRESS BY E. J. WICKSON
We are assembled today not to mourn over a life that was long and good but to be thankful for it; not to be sad that such a life was an environment of our own but to be glad of it; not to stand in inexpressible wonder in what remote and glorious sphere such a life is now continuing, but to lay firmer hold upon that part of it which was the endowment of our own lives, of the lives of this institution, of the State and of the world. For, without yielding aught of the claim to transcendental glories, which both true reason and revelation place in the western horizon of such a life, we may doubt or forget the remoteness of its glorification. For myself it is impossible to think that Hilgard has really departed for a far country. To me he is still here, loving and revering his God, laboring for the good of his fellowmen, enjoying the companionship of his friends and his loved ones—still here, alert and tireless in work; full of strength and grace in thought and speech; cordial, considerate and delightful in associated effort. I still think of Hilgard as many of us have known him for decades and, in this undertaking to lead you in glad admiration and remembrance of him, I shall speak of him as I used to speak to him; for we lived together through times and conditions which made it necessary to discuss frankly, not only the fundamental reasons for positions assumed, but methods of thought, attitudes, forms of expression, ways to force and ways to win approval and support from a firmament of authority which sometimes frowned and from a constituency which sometimes scowled and swore.
Through all such storms of adversity Hilgard came in due time into the full sunshine of enthusiastic approval and support, by the truth and talent which were in him, by the work that was in him and by the beautiful light of love for his fellowmen which twinkled in his eye and shone, fullorbed, in his smile. As I ask you to remember and honor him, how can I think of him as now remote; how can I think of his earthly life as over when I see that it will always continue in the activities of this institution which will live to the last day of mankind. It is therefore only one phase of an entity which will endure, of which I speak to you and, if I can speak at all truly, that phase will appear to you unique; abounding in gladness of heart but unswerving in tenacity of purpose; unremitting in labor and never depressed or appalled by its requirements; full of learning, both old and new, and fruitful in accomplishments beyond the usual achievement of even those accounted among the most efficient of men.
A BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE
Eugene Woldemar Hilgard was born January 5, 1833, at Zweibrücken, in Rhenish Bavaria, the son of Theodore Erasmus and Margarethe Hilgard. His father was lawyer, holding the position of chief justice of the court of appeals of the province. Judge Hilgard, having been born and educated under the shadow of the French Revolution, and being of pronounced liberal views, stoutly opposed the supercedence of the Code Napoleon by the illiberal laws of the old regime. In 1836, when at the fullness of a
. successful career, he determined to emigrate to America with his family and settled on a farm at Belleville, Illinois. As the public schools of that day were quite primitive, Judge Hilgard personally undertook the preparation of his sons for entrance to the universities. Eugene was in readiness in 1849 and in that year returned to Germany to attend the University of Heidelberg-graduating with honors and a doctor's degree in 1853. This degree was re-issued to him in 1903 as a "golden degree" in recognition of half a century's good work for science. He studied also at Zürich, and at Freiberg in Saxony. After graduating in 1853 he visited Spain and met Miss J. Alexandrina Bello, daughter of Colonel Bello of the Spanish army, whom he married several years later. Returning to America, be began geological exploration work in Mississippi in 1855 and was appointed state mineralogist of that State in 1858. In 1860 he revisited Spain, married Miss Bello and resumed his work in Mississippi in November of that year. During the intervention of the Civil War he pursued the chemical work required by the Southern Confederacy. In 1866 he was chosen professor of chemistry in the University of Mississippi—then professor of geology, zoology and botany. In 1872 he left Mississippi to take a position on the faculty of the University of Michigan, but remained there only two years, when he was called by the Regents of the University, to California in 1874. While developing agricultural instruction in the University, he proceeded with research work immediately after his arrival in California and published his first results in 1877. His work in the investigation of soils in connection with their native vegetation, of the influence of climate on the formation of soils and especially of the nature of "alkali soils" and their reclamation, a problem quite new not only in this country but in other arid regions, achieved for him a reputation as wide as the world of science. It brought him recognition on numerous occasions. Mississippi, Columbia and Michigan universities, as well as the University of California, have bestowed the Doctor of Laws degree upon him. The Academy of Sciences of Munich presented him with the Liebig medal for distinguished achievements in the agricultural sciences and the international exposition at Paris, in 1900, gave him a gold medal as a collaborator in the same research.
Soon after coming to California he directed the agri. cultural division of the northern transcontinental survey. From 1879 to 1883, in connection with his university work, he assumed charge of the cotton investigation of the census of 1880 which he projected and carried out on a broader plan than ever before been undertaken. During the whole period of his academic career Professor Hilgard was constantly active in authorship. In addition to formal reports and memoirs, he wrote much for agricultural and scientific periodicals. His greatest book is Soils of the Arid and Humid Regions. The simpler form of this work is Agriculture for Schools of the Pacific Slope, undertaken in collaboration with Professor Osterhout, formerly of the University of California.
In 1892 he revisited Europe and was received with distinguished honor by his colleagues in science in the German universities and experiment stations, and by invitations to deliver public addresses on the subjects in which he had made his chief achievements.
Since 1910 Professor Hilgard's advanced age rendered him unequal to the pursuit of extensive tasks. He maintained, however, his membership in several scientific
, societies and was vitally interested to the last in investigations connected with his science.
Professor Hilgard met with two great bereavements during the active period of his life—the loss of an only son in 1889, and, in 1893, the loss of his wife, He is survived by two daughters, Marie Louise and Alice Hilgard, who have been to him sources of great joy and delightful companions during his declining years—giving him such care as all good fathers deserve but few perhaps receive. Professor Hilgard's home and social life were exceptionally pleasant and inspiring, and personally he endeared himself to the whole community, which gave him true love and abundant honor.