A Passion for Science and Conservation

Henry Browne (H.B.) Wallace was born in Des Moines to Henry A. and Ilo Browne Wallace in 1915, a time when the Wallaces were beginning to build a legacy.

H.B. studied genetics at Iowa State College and graduated in 1938. The next year he took control of the fledgling hybrid poultry division of his father’s company, then called Pioneer Hi-Bred. H.B. perfected the use of genetic selection in breeding chickens for egg production. In six years, H.B. bred the perfect chicken and cited 1942 as the year science came together for business. His division split from Pioneer Hi-Bred and became Hy-Line International. Since then, Hy-Line chickens have been the leading egg-layers in the world. H.B. was a leader for the entire poultry industry, co-founding the Poultry Breeders Roundtable and Poultry Breeders of America in 1952.

H.B. was also a noted philanthropist. He dedicated himself to numerous causes, including finding a cure for ALS (the disease that killed his father) and banning mercury from dental fillings. After retiring from Hy-Line in 1985, H.B. moved to Arizona. He became active in conservation efforts for desert ecosystems, establishing the Wallace Desert Gardens.

But H.B. never forgot his home state. He donated millions to ensure that rural students had access to Advanced Placement classes. H.B. was also a supporter of the Wallace House Foundation, part of what is now The Wallace Centers of Iowa. Even late into his life, H.B. displayed a passion for science and conservation.

Four generations of Henry Wallaces (1915)
President of Hy-Line International (undated)