Charles Van Hise’s Legacy

November 19, 2015

By Laura Schmidt

Charles Van Hise reads a book

As many of us know, Charles Van Hise was the president of UW Madison from 1903 until his death, which was on November 19, 1918, when he passed away due to complications from minor surgery. He attended UW-Madison for his bachelors in 1874 and never left, going on to receive his master’s and doctorate and becoming a faculty member. In his first two years as president, Van Hise gave a speech where he stated, “I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every home in the state,” which is widely regarded as the beginning of the Wisconsin Idea.

His area of study was geology and UW Digital Collections contains the 65 notebooks he filled while working on the US Geological Survey Lake Superior Division. His work on the project lasted over twenty years and this research would serve as the basis for his book Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States (1910), a hugely important text in the field. To celebrate Van Hise’s life and view the collection follow this link!

About the author: Laura Schmidt is a first year SLIS student who works as a metadata assistant for UW Digital Collections. Her hands have been stained by many a Legacy Notebook.

U.S. Geological Survey Field Section Book No. 35: Penokee Iron Region