James Wilson "Tama Jim" 1836-1920, Director Experiment Station 1891-97. First Dean of Agriculture 1897-02. Made Dean while on leave 1897-02. In Carver's words: "Wilson, the name of Hon. James Wilson is sacred to me. He was one of the finest teachers that it has ever been my privilege to listen to... Being a colored boy, and the crowded condition of the school, made it rather embarrassing for some, and it made the questions of a room rather puzzling. Prof. Wilson said, as soon as he heard it, "Send him to me, I have a room," and he gave me his office and was very happy in doing so. James Wilson was a farmer and a newspaper editor from Traer, Iowa, who had already served in the Iowa legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives when he was named Professor of Agriculture at Iowa State in 1891. Wilson and Carver became fast friends during Carver's years on campus. Both were very religious men, and Carver regularly attended a Sunday school class taught by Wilson. Carver visited the Wilson farm in Traer, and traveled around the state with Wilson on short lecture trips. In November 1895, Carver was offered a position at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) in Lorman, Mississippi. Though Carver did not accept the position, Wilson's letter of recommendation reveals the respect and friendship between the two men: "I do not want to lose Mr. Carver from our station staff here... I have been more intimate with Mr. Carver than with any other student on the campus. I have to some extent befriended him when it was my power to do so, and he has responded by doing a great deal of work among the students that has pleased me greatly... In cross-fertilization... and the propagation of plants, he is by all means the ablest student we have here. Except for the respect I owe the professors, I would say he is fully abreast of them and exceeds in special lines in which he has a taste. We have nobody to take his place and I would never part with a student with so much regret as George Carver." Neg. # 0037165.
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