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American President

A Reference Resource

Henry C. Wallace (1921–1923): Secretary of Agriculture

Henry C. Wallace was born May 11, 1866, in Rock Island, Illinois. His family moved to Iowa, where he attended Iowa State Agriculture College from 1885 to 1887.

Wallace worked on the family farm in Iowa and later became involved with his father's farm publication business. He took over operations at the death of his father in 1916 and for years published what came to be known as Wallace's Farmer, a leading farm journal of the 1900s. He returned to Iowa State from 1891 to 1892 and obtained his degree in dairy production. Wallace then served as an assistant professor in the agriculture department from 1893 to 1894.

President Warren G. Harding appointed Wallace secretary of agriculture in 1921. During his tenure, Wallace established the Bureaus of Agriculture Economics and Home Economics and fought to keep within the department the marketing functions relating to agriculture. He successfully fought against the transfer of the Forest Service to the Interior Department, a measure advocated by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall. Wallace was reappointed by President Calvin Coolidge and died in office on October 24, 1924.