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Atwood, Wallace Walter (01 October 1872–24 July 1949), geomorphologist and geographer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thomas Greene Atwood, a builder and planing mill operator, and Adelaide Adelia Richards. After graduating from West Division High School, Atwood enrolled in the new University of Chicago in 1892. There he studied under the geographer-geologist ...

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Bowen, Norman Levi (21 June 1887–11 September 1956), petrologist and educator, was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, the youngest son of William Alfred Bowen, an immigrant from London (Chigwell), England, and Eliza McCormick of Kingston. At the time of Bowen’s birth, his father was a guard at the Kingston Penitentiary, later became sexton of St. George’s Cathedral, and then was proprietor of a bakery. His older and only surviving brother, Charles Lewis Bowen (1879–1951), retained the bakery business....

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Bowman, Isaiah (26 December 1878–06 January 1950), geographer, geologist, and educator, was born at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada, the son of Samuel Cressman Bowman and Emily Shantz, farmers. When he was eight weeks old the family moved to a farm near Brown City, Michigan. After attending country schools, Bowman began teaching. At age twenty-one he enrolled in the Ferris Institute, a college preparatory school in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was influenced by geographer Harlan H. Barrows. In 1900, after a year of intensive study, he entered the Normal School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he studied under ...

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John Casper Branner. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96641).

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Branner, John Casper (04 July 1850–01 March 1922), geologist and university president, was born in New Market, Tennessee, the son of Michael T. Branner, a third-generation Tennessee landowner, and Elsie Baker. Branner attended local schools, read the few books he could find, and developed an active curiosity about the plants, animals, and rocks of his neighborhood. In 1870, after spending two years at nearby Maryville College, he entered Cornell University, where he studied with geology professor Charles F. Hartt, who had made several scientific expeditions to Brazil. Hartt took Branner to Brazil with him in 1874, and the following year, when the Brazilian government appointed Hartt head of a commission to direct the first geological survey of the country, he appointed Branner his assistant. This was the beginning of Branner’s lifelong interest in the geology of Brazil, about which little was then known....

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Brush, George Jarvis (15 December 1831–06 February 1912), geologist and administrator, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jarvis Brush, an importing merchant, and Sarah Keeler. When Brush was about four, his father retired from business, and the family moved to Danbury, Connecticut, for six years, then returned to Brooklyn. In each place Brush’s education was in private schools. When he was fifteen, he attended for six months a school in West Cornwall, Connecticut, conducted by Theodore S. Gold, who was keenly interested in mineralogy and natural history. These subjects appealed to Brush, but he was expected by his family to go into business. He worked in a mercantile house in New York City for about two years from 1847, occasionally finding time to collect minerals....

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Clark, William Bullock (15 December 1860–27 July 1917), professor of geology and administrator of scientific organizations, was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, the son of Barna Atherton Clark, a merchant, and Helen Bullock. Clark graduated from Brattleboro high school in 1879 and entered Amherst College the following year. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1884, he traveled to Europe with two of his professors and settled in Munich for graduate studies in paleontology, receiving a Ph.D. in 1887. Two years earlier, a Department of Geology had been organized at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and the founder of that department, George H. Williams, was able to convince the university administration he needed more assistance....

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Darton, Nelson Horatio (17 December 1865–28 February 1948), geological mapper, groundwater specialist, and bibliographer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Darton, Jr., a shipbuilder and civil engineer, and Caroline Matilda Thayer. Darton was a self-trained geologist who dropped out of public school before the age of thirteen to apprentice as a chemist in his uncle’s business. He became a member of the American Chemical Society at age sixteen and shortly thereafter started his own business, selling distilled water. As a practical chemist he became interested in minerals and collected in New Jersey. By age seventeen, Darton had spoken before the New York Academy of Sciences and published his first paper. The conclusion he derived from fieldwork was that some of the rock strata in eastern New Jersey were ancient lava flows, a new concept at that time, but one that was immediately accepted....

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Davis, William Morris (12 February 1850–05 February 1934), geologist, meteorologist, and geographer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward Morris Davis, a businessman with interests in railroads, mines, and the textile trade, and Maria Mott. Davis was associated with the civic elite of Philadelphia on both sides of his family. His maternal grandmother was the abolitionist ...

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Eaton, Amos (17 May 1776–10 May 1842), geologist, botanist, and educational reformer, was born in Chatham, New York, the son of Azubah Hurd and Abel Eaton, farmers. In 1790 Eaton went to Duanesburgh, New York, to live with a relative, Russell Beebe, who taught him land surveying. A blacksmith by trade, Beebe helped Eaton manufacture his own surveying instruments. From 1791 to 1795, Eaton studied the classics under private tutors in Chatham and nearby Hillsdale. He entered Williams College in 1795 and graduated in 1799. Also in 1799, Eaton began to study law in Spencertown, New York, and married Polly Thomas. They had one child before Polly died in 1802. The earliest hint of Eaton’s promise as an educator was realized with the publication of his surveying manual, ...