Julius Terrass Willard

PROF. JULIUS TERRASS WILLARD. Not so many years ago many men regarded the application of science to agriculture as an idle theory and it is within the lifetime of such men as Prof. Julius Terrass Willard, dean of the division of general science, professor of chemistry, and chemist of the agricultural experiment station, in the Kansas State Agricultural College, at Manhattan, that these doubters have been convinced. Applied science has not only revolutionized many phases of agriculture but in bringing this most important of industries to the forefront in scholarly study and research. America has held her position for many years as a granary of the world, but future conditions will tax her power to produce crops and livestock, and the cry for food from hungry people in this and other lands may find no adequate supply. To such men as Professor Willard the country must turn for expert assistance in preventing this condition.

Julius Terrass Willard was born on a farm near Wabaunsee, in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, April 9, 1862, and is a son of Julius E. and Mary Elizabeth (Terrass) Willard. The progenitor of the Willard family, Simon Willard, came from England to Massachusetts in May, 1634, settling near Boston. The name is well and favorably known in New England to the present day. Julius E. Willard, father of Professor Willard, was born in Farmington, Connecticut, August 2, 1835, and, as a member of the New Haven colony, popularly known as the Beecher Rifle and Bible Company, came to Kansas in 1856, settling in Wabaunsee County, where he engaged in farming until 1911.

In Wabaunsee County, Kansas, Julius E. Willard was married in March, 1861, to Mary Elizabeth Terrass, who was born in Ohio and came with her parents to Wabaunsee County, Kansas, in 1855. Her parents came to America from Germany but her father, Jacob Terrass, was of French lineage. Mrs. Willard died in 1885, at the age of forty-four years, the mother of five children of whom Julius T. was the eldest. March 27, 1889, Mr. Willard married Viola Bangs, and in 1911 moved to San Diego, California, where he now resides. He bears well the weight of age.

Julius T. Willard was reared on the home farm and there, in his youth learned valuable lessons through toil and perseverance which have influenced his whole career, and been potent factors in the success which has crowned his life of earnest effort. He attended the best school in the county, was studious and ambitious, and very early developed an interest in sciences. At the time there were fewer opportunities for schooling than at present, but he took advantage of all within his reach, and, in 1879, entered the Kansas State Agricultural College from which he was graduated in 1883 with the degree of Bachelor of Science, and has been identified with the institution almost continuously since. During his college course he gave much extra time to chemistry and spent the year 1887-88 in the study of that science in the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Willard began teaching as a student assistant in 1881, and was made a regular assistant on graduation. In 1888 he was elected assistant chemist of the agricultural experiment station, and in 1890 assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to the associate professorship in 1896. From 1897 to 1901 he was professor of applied chemistry. Since 1901 as professor of chemistry he has served the state not only as head of the department of chemistry of the college, but also as chemist of the State Board of Agriculture and, since 1906, as a food analyst for the State Board of Health. He is an unusually faithful and efficient worker, and has given much valuable service in each of these capacities. Since 1897 he has been chemist of the agricultural experiment station, and was its director from 1900 to 1906, and has been vice director since 1907.

As a classroom instructor Professor Willard has few equals in clearness of presentation and permanency of results. He prepared a textbook for class use in organic chemistry, and smaller publications for other classes. In his connection with the experiment station his work has been of marked and permanent value. He has written numerous scientific articles and has produced valuable bulletins for the experiment station. He has been most interested in plant improvement and animal nutrition. In Bulletin No. 115 he described a method which he devised for exactly calculating a ration of specified characteristics. Since 1910 he has been given the added duties of chemist of the engineering experiment station. In 1908 he was honored by his Alma Mater with the degree of Doctor of Science.

In 1909 Professor Willard's faithful and efficient service for the college was recognized, and he was appointed to the newly created position of dean of the division of general science, a division of the college by which over one-half of the teaching is done. In this capacity Dean Willard has shown marked executive ability and strong leadership. He is recognized as having more definite information about the history and internal administration of the agricultural college than any other member of the faculty. He is also recognized as one of the most faithful and efficient workers, being an example in this respect for all of the teachers as well as the students connected with the institution. He has for years been a leading member of most of the important faculty committees, and has done as much as any one man, excepting the president of the college, toward directing the educational and other activities of the college with which he has been so long connected.

In 1884 Professor Willard was united in marriage with Miss Lydia Pierce Cardiner of Wakarusa, Kansas. Her father was from Rhode Island, and her mother was a Buffington, and from Pennsylvania. They have one son, Charles Julius, who was graduated in 1908 from the Kansas State Agricultural College, and in 1910 from the agricultural college of the University of Illinois. He is engaged in practical and scientific agriculture.

Every Kansan is proud of the State Agricultural College and well he may be for seldom can be found a body of more thoroughly qualified instructors than is gathered here, and second to none is Professor Willard. Devoted as his life has been to the work of a teacher and student, research worker and administrator at the State Agricultural College and experiment station, Dean Willard has not been neglectful of his duties as a citizen and member of his community. Dean and Mrs. Willard have ever taken an active interest in the social and moral, as well as intellectual, welfare of the town and college. His life is not only an inspiration to thousands of young men and women of Kansas, but his labors and achievements are favorably known throughout many other states and even to the people of foreign nations.

Professor Willard is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Chemical Society and several other national scientific organizations. He is a member of the honorary scholarship society, Phi Kappa Phi, and is a master mason.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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