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Dryden, Hugh Latimer (02 July 1898–02 December 1965), physicist, was born in Pocomoke City, Maryland, the son of Samuel Isaac Dryden, a schoolteacher, and Zenovia Hill Culver. In 1907 the practicing Methodist family moved to Baltimore City, where Dryden’s father worked as a streetcar conductor for the rest of his life. In 1910 young Dryden saw an airplane for the first time, and, in his recollection, this prompted him to focus his life on aeronautics. He attended the Johns Hopkins University, receiving his B.A. with honors in 1916 and his M.A. in physics two years later....

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Henshaw, Henry Wetherbee (03 March 1850–01 August 1930), ornithologist, ethnologist, and government official, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of William Henshaw and Sarah Holden Wetherbee. His interest in natural history was demonstrated from early childhood, and he began focusing has attention on birds. He completed his primary and secondary education in the local public schools, but poor health compelled him to defer plans to take the entrance examination at Harvard in 1869. While in high school, Henshaw met ...

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King, Clarence Rivers (06 January 1842–24 December 1901), geologist and first director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), geologist and first director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of James Rivers King, a China trader, and Caroline Florence Little. The King family enjoyed comfortable circumstances until the bankruptcy of King & Company in 1857, after which Mrs. King, her husband having died in Amoy, China, in 1848, solved her financial problem through marriage to George S. Howland, the owner of a white lead factory in Brooklyn, New York....

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Lewis, George William (10 March 1882–12 July 1948), aviation pioneer, was born in Ithaca, New York, the son of William Henry Lewis and Edith Sweetland, merchants. During his early childhood his family moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, and there he received his elementary and high school education. In 1908 he married Myrtle Harvey; the couple had six children. Also in 1908 he graduated from the Sibley College of Engineering; he received the degree of M.E. from Cornell University in 1908 and the degree of Master Mechanical Engineer (M.M.E.) in 1910. He was a faculty member of the Department of Mathematics at Swarthmore College from 1910 until 1917 and then became engineer in charge at Clarke-Thompson Research, Philadelphia, where he remained until 1919....

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Mead, Elwood (16 January 1858–26 January 1936), U.S. Commissioner of Reclamation, was born near Patriot, Indiana, the son of David B. Mead, a farmer, and Lucinda Davis. Mead spent his early years studying in a one-room schoolhouse, doing chores on his father’s farm, and enjoying “long summer days playing in the groves of ash, oak, wild cherry, hickory, poplar, and walnut trees along the slopes of the Ohio River.” In this idyllic, mid-nineteenth-century setting he came to value the benefits of rural community life even as he broadened his horizons in his grandfather’s library, reputed to be the largest personal one in southern Indiana....

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Mendenhall, Walter Curran (20 February 1871–02 June 1957), geologist and federal administrator, was born in Marlboro, Stark County, Ohio, the son of William King Mendenhall, a farmer, and Emma Pierce Garrigues, a schoolteacher; both parents were Quakers. Mendenhall lived with his maternal uncle’s family while attending high school in Portland, Oregon. Returning to Ohio, Mendenhall taught at a local school and then entered Ohio Normal (now Ohio Northern) University in Ada. While an undergraduate, he spent his summer months as a teamster-laborer (1892) and a geologic assistant (1894) with a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field party led by geologist Marius R. Campbell, a family friend and neighbor. After completing a B.Sc. degree in 1895, Mendenhall rejoined Campbell’s team to continue areal mapping and detailed studies of Appalachian coal fields. From 1895 to 1898 Mendenhall, promoted to assistant geologist in 1896, aided Campbell and his other geologists in mapping parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia for the folio ...

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Merriam, Clinton Hart (05 December 1855–19 March 1942), zoologist and government official, was born in New York City, the son of Clinton Levi Merriam, a businessman, banker, and two-term Republican U.S. congressman, and Caroline Hart. A younger sister, Florence ( Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey...

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Smith, George Otis (22 February 1871–10 January 1944), geologist and federal administrator, was born in Hodgdon, Aroostock County, Maine, the son of Joseph Otis Smith, a Civil War veteran and newspaper publisher, and Emma Mayo. In 1878 Joseph Smith founded the Somerset Independent Reporter...

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Walcott, Charles Doolittle (31 March 1850–09 February 1927), paleontologist, geologist, and administrator, was born in New York Mills, New York, the son of Charles Doolittle Walcott and Mary Lane. As a young schoolboy, Walcott became interested in collecting the local fossils near Utica, New York, and in his early teens he spent several summers at the resort area of Trenton Falls, New York, renowned for its fossils. After graduating from Utica Academy in 1868, he clerked in a hardware store for a year. In 1871, dissatisfied with the business world, Walcott moved to the farm of William Rust in the Trenton Falls area. Walcott assisted with the farm chores, and he and Rust collected fossils for sale; in 1873 the collection was sold to ...

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Wrather, William Embry (20 January 1883–28 November 1963), petroleum geologist and federal administrator, was born at Munford Farm, near Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky, the son of Richard Anselm Wrather and Glovy Washington Munford, farmers. He attended local schools before going to Chicago, Illinois, in 1898 to live with an uncle and work in his grocery while attending South Chicago High School. With savings from eighteen months’ employment with the Illinois Steel Company and a first-year scholarship, Wrather began training for the law at the University of Chicago in 1903. There geology professor ...