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Bascom, Florence (14 July 1862–18 June 1945), geologist and educator, was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the daughter of suffragist Emma Curtiss and John Bascom, a professor at Williams College. Her mother, as an officer of the National Suffrage Association wrote, “While the ballot is withheld from women and given to all other classes of citizens except idiots and criminals, it puts on womanhood an inescapable badge, and an inescapable fact, of inferiority” (quoted in Smith, p. 17). Her father advocated for coeducation and unsuccessfully raised the issue at Williams. Both parents profoundly affected the way Florence Bascom saw the world. She became the first woman in the United States to enter fully the profession of geology....

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Griscom, John (27 September 1774–26 February 1852), teacher, chemist, and philanthropist, was born in Hancock’s Bridge, New Jersey, the son of William Griscom, a farmer and saddle and harness maker, and Rachel Denn. Educated in country schools except for a few months in 1783 at Friends’ Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was self-taught in chemistry and physics. Griscom began teaching at a log cabin school near Salem, New Jersey, when he was seventeen. In 1794 he took charge of the Friends’ School in Burlington, New Jersey, where he taught chemistry to advanced pupils in a room in his house that he had converted into a laboratory....

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Law, James (13 February 1838–10 May 1921), veterinarian, educator, and public health advocate, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Law and Grace Turner, farmers. In 1857 he graduated from the Veterinary College in Edinburgh and then continued scientific study at the medical school of Edinburgh University and at veterinary schools in France at Alfort (near Paris) and Lyons. Returning to Scotland, he became a protégé of John Gamgee, a cosmopolitan English veterinarian who promoted the view that epizootics (diseases affecting many animals) were caused by minute organisms, not noxious fumes, changes in the weather, or poor ventilation. By siding with the controversial Gamgee, Law abandoned the anticontagionist views held by British veterinarians in general and by his Edinburgh teacher, William Dick. In 1860 Law joined the faculty of Gamgee’s New Veterinary College in Edinburgh and taught anatomy and materia medica. In so doing he joined the minority of veterinary educators who sought to improve veterinary education by placing it in a scientific framework. Although he had been certified as a veterinary surgeon by the Highland and Agricultural Society in 1857, he also took and passed the examination of the rival Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) in 1861, thereby becoming a member and in 1877, rising to fellow. In 1863 he married Eliza Crighton in Edinburgh; they had three daughters and one son. When Gamgee reestablished the New Veterinary College in London in 1865 as the Royal Albert Veterinary College, Law moved with him. However, the Royal Albert failed to compete for students with the Royal Veterinary College, and Law left to practice in Ireland....

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Leopold, A. Starker (22 October 1913–23 August 1983), wildlife biologist, conservationist, and educator, was born Aldo Starker Leopold, Jr., in Burlington, Iowa, the son of Aldo Leopold, a forester, naturalist, and ecologist, and Estella Bergere. His achievements as a scientist and conservationist paralleled those of his father, a dominant figure in the development of scientific wildlife management....

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Benjamin Rush. Engraving by James Barton Longacreof a painting by Thomas Sully. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-97104 ).

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Rush, Benjamin (04 January 1746–19 April 1813), physician, professor of chemistry and of medicine, and social reformer, was born in Byberry Township, Pennsylvania, thirteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, the son of John Rush, a farmer and gunsmith, and Susanna Hall Harvey. John Rush died when Benjamin was five years old. His mother ran a grocery store to support the family. She sent Benjamin at age eight to live with an uncle by marriage, the Reverend Dr. ...

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Turner, Thomas Wyatt (16 March 1877–21 April 1978), educator and civil rights advocate, was born in Hughesville, Maryland, the son of Eli Turner and Linnie Gross, farmers. The fifth of nine children born into a family of black Catholic sharecroppers, Turner spent eight years in the racially segregated public schools of Hughes County before entering an Episcopalian school for African Americans at Charlotte Hall in adjacent St. Mary’s County. In his two years at Charlotte Hall (1892–1894), Turner fell under the sway of two missionary educators who persuaded him that learning was next to godliness and that teaching was a noble profession. From 1895 to 1901 he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. (the first two years in preparatory school), receiving an A.B. in biology in 1901. After teaching at Tuskegee Institute in 1901–1902, he taught in a Baltimore, Maryland, high school for the next decade. While there, Turner earned an M.A. at Howard in 1905. In 1907 he married Laura Miller of Hampton, Virginia. He next pursued doctoral work at the University of Rochester, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Cornell University, completing a Ph.D. at Cornell in 1921. In 1913 Turner accepted a position as professor of biology at Howard University, a position that he held until 1924. His next assignment took him to Hampton Institute, from which he retired in 1945....