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Claude R. Wickard (1945) - Secretary of Agriculture

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Claude Raymond Wickard served as secretary of agriculture to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940 to 1945. Wickard was born February 28, 1893, in Indiana and graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture (1915). He began his career on his family farm, where his success led him to be named a "Master Farmer of Indiana" by Prairie Farmer magazine (1927).Wickard was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1932 and served a single term before being tapped as assistant chief of the corn and hog section in the new Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA); he remained in that post until 1936.

He also served as director of the North Central Division of the new A.A.A. and as undersecretary of agriculture in 1940 until replacing Secretary Wallace later that year. In December 1942, Wickard was named U.S. food administrator but served only four months.

President Truman asked for his resignation in 1945, leaving Wickard to become administrator of the Rural Electrification Administration (1945-1953). He died on April 29, 1967, in Delphi, Indiana.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Alonzo L. Hamby

Professor Hamby is a Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio University. His writings include:

For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s (Free Press, 2004)

Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (Oxford University Press, 1998)

Beyond the New Deal: Harry S. Truman and American Liberalism (Columbia University Press, 1973)