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work on Soils, comprising about 600 pages, and regarded by him as a summary of his life-work on arid and humid soils. But after its publication he often wished for an opportunity to revise it and to make corrections and additions. Even as it is, it may well be regarded as the highest authority on soils of the humid and arid regions. In 1910 he published with Professor Osterhout a small work Agriculture for Schools of the Pacific Slope.
In 1904 he resigned the directorship of the Experiment Station and was retired from active service, as Emeritus Professor of Agriculture.
His broad and thorough scientific knowledge, his great work on soils and his valuable publications brought him not only a world-wide fame, but many honors, among them the degree of LL.D. from the universities of Mississippi, Michigan, Columbia and California, the Liebig gold medal from the Academy of Sciences, Munich, Bavaria, "for important advances in agricultural science," other gold medals from the Expositions at Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and St. Louis, membership in several scientific societies, among them the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in which he was made a life member just before his death. In 1883 he received the offer of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture from President Harrison, and leave of absence was granted by the Board of Regents of the University, but much to his regret, health conditions compelled him to decline it. In 1903, the fiftieth year after graduation, he received from the University of Heidelberg the semicentennial diploma re-conferring the degree of Ph.D. in recognition of distinguished services in the sciences of geology and agriculture. Only one graduate besides himself has ever received this signal honor.
Professor Hilgard was quite a linguist and could converse fluently in German, Spanish, English, and French; he could also easily read Sanscrit, Italian, Greek, Latin, and Portuguese.
Although much reduced in vitality during the last three years of his life as the result of an injury, his interest and desire for serving in the cause of agriculture were keen and virile, and his great regret, daily expressed to the last, lay in his inability to pursue farther his studies of soil and other problems.
HILGARD'S GEOLOGICAL WORK IN MISSISSIPPI
EUGENE A. SMITH
Professor of Geology in the University of Alabama
and State Geologist
In 1855 the position of assistant geologist of Mississippi was offered to Eugene W. Hilgard, then just returned from a European university (Heidelberg) and thus began the career of the most distinguished worker in Gulf Coastal Plain Geology. It is worth recording that Doctor Hilgard accepted this position amid the sincere condolences of his scientific friends on his assignment to so uninteresting a field, where the Paleozoic formations (then occupying almost exclusively the minds of American geologists) were unrepresented.
The fame which Hilgard won for himself in this “uninteresting” field is known to all geologists. He laid the foundation on which most subsequent work in the “Mississippi Embayment,” as he had named it, securely rests, and after the lapse of more than fifty years since the publication in 1860 of his report his work is appreciated and referred to as authoritative, not only by the farmers and other citizens of that state, but by the geologists who have succeeded him. He became state geologist early in 1858, which position he held at least nominally until 1872 with the exception of a few years between 1866 and 1870.
From the beginning of his connection with the State Survey Hilgard saw that it could never maintain itself in the public esteem on the basis of mineral discoveries alone, and that it must seek its main support in what services it might render to agriculture. He accordingly made a point of paying particular attention to the surface features—vegetation, soils, water-supply, and marls. In the prosecution of these studies the close connection between the surface vegetation and the underlying formations became so striking that he was largely able to avail himself of this vegetation in tracing out the limits of adjacent formations and in searching for outcrops.
In the 1860 report, about evenly divided between agriculture and geology, chemical analyses of typical soils of the several agricultural regions are given along with discussions of their cultural value as indicated by these analyses considered in connection with the native vegetation. The geological half of the report presents the geology of Mississippi practically as it is known at the present day, except as to the fixing of the age of the Port Hudson beds, the investigation of the geology of the Mississippi bottom and the tracing of the Lower Claiborne formation westward to the border of this bottom. In 1867, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, and in 1869, under the auspices of the New Orleans Academy of Sciences, opportunity was given to Doctor Hilgard to extend his researches down the Mississippi River to the Passes and through Louisiana. The results of these expeditions may be summarized as follows:
1. The outlining of the Mississippi Embayment in Louisiana and Mississippi.
2. The outline geological study and mapping of those two states, Hilgard was the first to give a clear and definite account of the origin and distribution of the surface formation which he called Orange Sand but which later by agreement has received the name of Lafayette. So also he was the first to give a definite account of the great series of river and estuarine deposits, the Grand Gulf, representing, as he claimed, all geological time between the Vicksburg and the Lafayette.
3. The recognition of the Cretaceous Ridge or backbone of Louisiana, and the determination of the Cretaceous age of the rock-salt and sulphur deposits of Calcasieu parish.
4. Study of the exceptional features of the Lower Mississippi delta and of the mudlumps and their origin, and the definite correlation of the Port Hudson formation.
Probably no work has done more for the correlation of the scattered accounts of the geology of the Southern States than the Cotton Culture reports of the Tenth Census (1880) prepared under the direction of Doctor Hilgard. Besides having general direction of the whole and preparing the general discussions of cotton production in the United States, including soil investigations, the cotton-seed industries, and measurements of cotton fibres, Doctor Hilgard wrote the special description of Mississippi, Louisiana, and California.
In these reports a summary of the physical and geological features of each state is first given. Then follow accounts of the agricultural features and capabilities of the Cotton States, such as should be of interest to immigrants and investors, along with special descriptions of each county, with soil maps and maps showing the relation between the areas cultivated in cotton and the total area of each state.
In a recent letter Doctor Hilgard comments on these reports as follows: "The Census Cotton Report, for all the hard work it cost, has found little appreciation because of the medium of publication, quarto at that. Don't let us do it again." But all was not lost in the quarto volumes, for in Alabama and South Carolina at least the Cotton Culture Reports were republished as State Geological Survey Reports, and have been very thoroughly appreciated and have furnished the meat for numerous subsequent handbooks
Personally Doctor Hilgard was one of the most lovable of men. His extraordinary fund of general as well as of special information, along with his cheerfulness and vivacity, notwithstanding the handicap of a rather frail constitution, made him a delightful companion, and his letters, even on technical or scientific matters, were always enlivened by humorous and witty remarks, so that they were truly good reading.