Indelibly engraven on the pages of California's history is the name of Professor Edward P. Heald, for there is perhaps no man in the state who has done as much for its industrial and business development, his labors proving of direct benefit in advancing the material upbuilding and prosperity of the state. His fame as an educator is worldwide, for he has largely been a pioneer in the field of instruction which, up to a few decades ago, was unknown in this country and abraod, the preparation of the young for the practical duties of the everyday working world. With a realization and keen appreciation of conditions existing in the electrical world of trade and commerce and an intelligent and comprehensive understanding of the demands of the public in this particular, he set in motion a movement which has resulted in the growth on the Pacific coast of one of the most extensive and successful business colleges of America, and the name of Heald has become a synonym for instruction in the practical branches of learning which equip one for life's strenuous labors. Not alone in this direction, however, has California and the west profited by his labors, for his work has largely demonstrated the possibilities of the state along agricultural and horticultural lines. He has also been connected with the development of its rich mineral resources, and the production of fine live stock. In fact his efforts have touched along so many lines of activity that it would be impossible to present an adequate account of the life work of Professor Heald until the movements which he has set in operation shall have attained their full fruition in the lives of those whose labors and ambition he has stimulated.

Professor Heald was born in Lovell, Oxford county, Maine, February 5, 1843, and in both the paternal and maternal line is of English descent. Almost three centuries have passed since the Heald family was planted in America by one who came from England with Governor Winthrop and the Puritans, who guided their little barque into Massachusetts bay and founded homes in what became known as the Massachusetts colony. They settled in Boston in 1660 and their descendants have since been residents of New England.

Professor Heald, reared in the Pine Tree state, began his education in the public schools, and there began the study of Latin and higher mathematics. He continued his studies in the Gorham Seminary, near Portland, Maine, for two years, and there his curriculum embracd French and Greek in addition to Latin and the sciences. In the Bridgton Collegiate Institute he studied mathematics, Latin, Greek, French and English literature, pursuing a three years' course, and after acquiring a thorough English and classical education he commenced his career as a teacher at the Portland Business College, where his adaptability to his chosen labor was soon manifest and made his reputation such as was known beyond the borders of his own state.

Becoming a resident of California in 1863, Professor Heald has been since that time a most distinguished factor in educational work on the Pacific coast. Although only in his twentieth year he opened a business college -- the first of its kind in the western part of the continent. The school was opened along lines that could not fail of success, the object being to make the institution one of practical value as a preparation for business life. As commercial and industrial interests have developed and grown more complex there has been a continually growing demand for skilled employes, and the Heald Business College has met this demand in the west until there have gone out from the school at least twenty thousand young people equipped for various industrial and commercial callings as well as for the professions. This is one of the foremost, if not the leading, school of the kind in the United States. The college employes a large faculty of specialists, seldom less than thirty, and the attendance frequently numbers six hundred students, who come not only from all the Pacific states but also from Central and South America, the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, Mexico, British Columbia, the central and southwestern states, and often from the more distant parts of the world.

Among other results due to the moral and educational powers exerted by a few commercial schools in metropolitan centers, has been the opening up of the world's business to women. The social gain by this revolution has been most marked. Heald's Business College has been foremost in this work, and a large number of the young women of San Francisco who are engaged in clerical pursuits have found a course in Heald's Business College the open sesame through which they have been ale to enter the business office.

Mr. Heald has repeatedly visited every large city in Europe and the United States and all the leading commercial schools and institutions of technology for the purpose of studying their systems of instruction. It will thus be seen why he has become a leading authority on practical education and why his Business College and the School of Mines and Engineering rank as the foremost for useful training in the entire country.

Mr. Heald can well be considered a promoter of the industrial development of California by the encouragement he has given to manual training in the special field of electrical, steam and mining engineering. Recognizing that the next step forward in education must be something that would combine hand and mental culture, he inaugurated a school wherein one might study engineering and at the same time have the practical experience of the workshop. This institution, located at 130 Union Square avenue and known as Heald's School of Mines and Engineering, has been successful beyond expectation, as is attested by the large number of pupils which it has graduated.

While devoting his energies chiefly to the great work of practical education, Mr. Heald has not neglected the material interests of the state. He has given attention to nearly all forms of industry, including mining, farming, horticulture, petroleum and stock-raising. He has been constantly interested in mines since 1864, and at this writing in 1904 is president of two mining companies and treasurer of four others. He is also president of the Casanova Oil Company and vice-president of the Palace Oil Company. His business capacity has also been felt as a stimulating influence inother lines, and he is now a director and the treasurer of the California Petroleum Miners' Association, of which the Hon. M. H. DeYoung is president. This association was organized for the protection and advancement of the petroleum interests of California and has already accomplished a vast amount of good in that direction. Mr. Heald is considered an expert on mines and oil lands, and his opinion is often sought by those contemplating investments. In this connection he has visited all the leading mines and oil districts on the Pacific coast.

Had Professor Heald done nothing else in life than the points already mentioned, he would be entitled to distinction as a successful man and one whose career could be termed that of signal usefulness and honor to the state, and yet into other fields of labor he has directed his labors, with results that have been very beneficial to California. He is widely known as a nurseryman, horticulturist and agriculturist. For many years he has been planting and selling orchards and vineyards in both Napa and Fresno counties and every year he is adding to the productiveness of the state by transforming its unimproved lands into productive fruit and grape plantations. he is the owner of four vineyards in Fresno county and a fine experimental orchard in Napa county. He is engaged in the raising of grain on other farms and is well known as an extensive breeder of fine cattle and blooded horses. He has a large stock farm in Napa county, where he has made a specialty of breeding fine roadsters, trotters and carriage horses. For many years he has been president of the Pacific Coast Trotting Horse Breeders' Association, and he is also chairman of the Pacific board of appeals of the National Trotting Association of Hartford, Connecticut, an organization which has done much to promote the interests of the driving horse of America and whose influence extends throughout the civilized world. Love of animals has always been a strong characteristic of his nature, which has been recognized by his election as a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He has also been for a long time a trustee of the Mechanics' Institute, which possesses the most extensive scientific and technical library in San Francisco, and he has always been active in the promotion of the industrial Fairs given by that worthy institution.

On the 5th of February, 1894, Mr. Heald was united in marriage to Mrs. Rowena Jacott, and they occupy an enviable position in the social circles of the city, while the hospitality of their own home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends. Their home is an evidence of refined and cultured taste, and Professor Heald's love of art is indicated by the fact that he is a life member of the San Francisco Art Association, as well as the promoter of vrious art exhibitions that have been held in San Francisco. He was also appointed chairman of the art committee and had charge of the fine exhibits of painting, drawing and sculpture seen at many of the industrial fairs of the Mechanics Institute. He is a man of fine personal appearance, and his scholarly attainments have developed in him nothing of the recluse. On the contrary he is entirely approachable, according to all the courtesy of an interview, and his manner is cordial and kindly -- an indication of his broad humanitarian spirit. He has not only kept abreast of the best thinking men of the age, but has been the leader of the vanguard in many lines of progress in the west, and when the history of California shall be fully written much credit will be given to Professor Heald for what he has done for the commonwealth along lines of material, intellectual and aesthetic advancement.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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