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Angell, James Rowland (08 May 1869–04 March 1949), academic psychologist and fourteenth president of Yale University, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of James Burrill Angell, president of the University of Vermont and later the president of the University of Michigan, and Sarah Swope Caswell, daughter of ...

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Berry, Edward Wilber (10 February 1875–20 September 1945), paleobotanist, teacher, and university administrator, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Abijah Conger Berry and Anna Wilber. Berry is a classic example of the self-trained scientist. He received elementary courses in biology and botany in high school that roused his interest in nature. Berry completed the three-year course in two years and finished his formal education at thirteen. From 1890 to 1897 he worked for a cotton goods company, rising from stock boy to traveling salesman. Berry then entered the newspaper world as business manager for the ...

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Bouchet, Edward Alexander (15 September 1852–28 October 1918), educator and scientist, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of William Francis Bouchet, a janitor, and Susan Cooley. Part of New Haven’s black community that provided much of the city’s unskilled and domestic labor, the Bouchets were members of the Temple Street Congregational Church, which was a stopping point for fugitive slaves along the Underground Railroad, and both Edward and his father were active in church affairs. During the 1850s and 1860s New Haven had only three schools that black children could attend. Edward was enrolled in the Artisan Street Colored School, a small (only thirty seats), ungraded school with one teacher, Sarah Wilson, who played a crucial role in nurturing Bouchet’s academic abilities and his desire to learn....

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Caswell, Alexis (29 January 1799–08 January 1877), science professor and administrator, was born in Taunton, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Caswell and Polly Seaver, farmers. The boy attended an academy in Taunton, then entered Brown University. There he “bore the highest honors of his class,” said his biographer William Gammell. He gave the valedictory address at his graduation in 1822. During his college years he joined the First Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, with which he was associated for the rest of his life....

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Cope, Arthur Clay (27 June 1909–04 June 1966), chemistry professor and administrator, was born in Dunreith, Indiana, the son of Everett C. Cope and Jennie Compton, grain storage operators. Cope received the bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1929 from Butler University in Indianapolis. He then worked with ...

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Dabney, Charles William (19 June 1855–15 June 1945), educator, college president, and agrichemist, was born in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, the son of Robert Louis Dabney, a Presbyterian theologian, and Margaretta Lavinia Morrison. His mother and father were both from prominent southern families, and his father served as chaplain to ...

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Fred, Edwin Broun (22 March 1887–16 January 1981), bacteriologist and university president, was born in Middleburg, Virginia, the son of Samuel Rogers Fred, a landowner, and Catherine “Kate” Conway Broun. Fred’s interest in science began as a boy in Virginia. Having completed his B.S. at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in 1907, Fred stayed on to complete his M.S. at the same institution in 1908. While pursuing this first phase of graduate work, he held an appointment as an assistant in bacteriology. For his doctoral work Fred went abroad in 1909, getting his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in Germany in 1911. This was a natural decision given that the virtues of German graduate education were extolled by many at VPI, including bacteriology professor Meade Ferguson, who himself received a Ph.D. at Göttingen. Fred studied under some of the leading scientists of the day, including bacteriologist Alfred Koch....

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Gould, Laurence McKinley (22 August 1896–21 June 1995), educator, geologist, and explorer, was born in Lacota, Michigan, the son of Herbert Gould and Anna Updike, farmers. In 1914 he left the family farm and moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where he taught in a one-room schoolhouse. He also helped to found a Sunday school class and with his students published the ...

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Greenwood, Isaac (11 May 1702–12 October 1745), professor of mathematics and experimental philosophy, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Greenwood and Elizabeth Bronsdon (occupations unknown). Baptized and raised in Increase Mather and Cotton Mather’s North Church, Greenwood followed the Mathers in their scientific interests. At Harvard College he became a favorite of tutor ...

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Griffis, William Elliot (17 September 1843–05 February 1928), educator, clergyman, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Captain John Limeburner Griffis, a coal dealer, and Anna Maria Hess, a pious young woman who for many years taught at an infant’s nursery school and at a Bible school for young women at the First Independent Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia....

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Morton, Henry (11 December 1836–09 May 1902), college administrator and scientist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry J. Morton, an Episcopalian minister, and Helen McFarlan. Morton grew up in Philadelphia, where his father was rector of St. James Episcopal Church. He attended Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1857. While still a student, with two classmates he translated the Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Rosetta Stone, which they published in 1858 in a 172-page report containing 100 illustrations engraved by Morton....

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Murray, David (15 October 1830–06 March 1905), professor and educational administrator, was born in Bovina, Delaware County, New York, the son of William Murray and Jean Black, farmers. When he was five years old, Murray severely injured his leg in an accident and spent more than a year confined to bed. While recovering, he was given a biography of ...

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Painter, Theophilus Shickel (22 August 1889–05 October 1969), experimental zoologist and university president, was born in Salem, Virginia, the son of the Reverend Franklin Verzelius Newton Painter, a professor of modern languages at Roanoke College, Virginia, and Laura Shickel. Painter grew up in a deeply religious and scholarly household, and, because he was a sickly child, he was taught at home. He enrolled in Roanoke College in 1904 and received his B.A. in 1908. Roanoke College at that time offered little instruction in the sciences, so, being attracted to the study of chemistry, Painter took advantage of a scholarship for graduate studies at Yale University. There, Professor L. L. Woodruff provided Painter his first opportunity for using a microscope, which inspired Painter to change his graduate major to biology. He received his M.A. in 1909 and his Ph.D. in 1913. His doctoral thesis in experimental biology, a field then being pioneered by biologists like ...

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Phelps, Almira Hart Lincoln (15 July 1793–15 July 1884), science educator, was born in Berlin, Connecticut, the daughter of Samuel Hart and Lydia Hinsdale, farmers. Almira’s childhood was filled with her father’s stories of the revolutionary war, fireside readings of Milton’s poetry and Shakespeare’s plays, and lively political discussions in a Jeffersonian environment rare for Federalist New England. An early exposure to books at home and the admonitions of her sister Emma ( ...

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Porter, John Addison (15 March 1822–25 August 1866), chemist, professor, and university administrator, was born in Catskill, New York, the son of Addison Porter, a merchant, and Ann Hogeboom. His family moved to New York City in 1831 and to Philadelphia in 1836. After attending the Kinderhook, New York, academy, Porter had private instruction in Philadelphia until 1838, when he enrolled at Yale College. A somewhat erratic student—inclined to fail in assignments that were considered easy but brilliant at mathematics and a voracious reader of poetry and fiction—he studied metaphysics and read Kant in translation during his senior year. Hoping to become a Presbyterian minister, as his paternal grandfather had been, he was frustrated by a “persistent skepticism” that he considered the “great calamity” of his undergraduate years. It troubled him until 1860, when he joined St. John’s Episcopal Church of New Haven, Connecticut. Graduating from Yale in 1842 and still hoping to be called to the ministry, he studied Hebrew and modern languages at his parents’ home in Philadelphia, returned to New Haven for a sample of theological study, and then accepted a new vocation....

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Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate (20 February 1841–10 April 1906), geologist, geographer, and educationalist, was born in Newport, Kentucky, the son of Nathaniel Burger Shaler, a medical doctor, and Ann Hinde Southgate, the daughter of a prominent legal and landholding family.

Prior to his enrollment in Harvard’s sophomore class of 1859, Shaler—due to ill health—had been educated informally by a Swiss tutor, Johannes Escher, who instructed him in classical languages and initiated him into the rudiments of German idealist philosophy. With such a preparation Shaler turned first to the study of the humanities at Harvard, but he soon abandoned what he considered mere scholasticism to enlist as a student of ...