Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/710

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694
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
SKETCH OF HENRY BRADFORD NASON.

HENRY BRADFORD NASON, Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, was born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, June 22, 1831, but removed to North Bridgewater when ten years of age. His father, Elias Nason, was a descendant from Willoughby Nason, of Ipswich, Mass. (1712), and was born at Walpole, Mass., in 1768, and died at Easthampton, Mass., in 1853. He was a gentleman noted for his honesty and integrity, and was long engaged in the manufacture of straw and cotton goods; carried on mercantile business; and served his town, Foxborough, as justice of the peace and as Representative in the General Court. The Nasons were living at Stratford-on-Avon in the days of Shakespeare, and a branch of the family still reside there. Professor Nason's mother, Susannah (Keith) Nason, was a lineal descendant from the Rev. James Keith, who was educated at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and was the first minister of North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Mass. Having attended school for a short time at Newburyport, young Nason entered the Adelphian Academy at North Bridgewater, in 1843, where his attention was drawn to the study of natural science, and he began to make collections of the local minerals. While attending the Williston Seminary, which he had entered in December, 1847, his taste for natural science grew; he became interested also in chemistry, and enriched his collections with rare and valuable plants and minerals. He cultivated these studies still more assiduously at Amherst College, where he visited the interesting geological points in the Connecticut River Valley; and, under the guidance of Professor Shepard, spent most of his vacations in the mineralogically rich regions of western Massachusetts and Connecticut, making many of his expeditions on foot or on horseback. He studied analytical chemistry under Professor Clark, and assisted him in the preparations for his lectures. Having been graduated from Amherst in 1855, he went to Europe, and was matriculated in the Georgia Augusta University at Göttingen, as a student of philosophy. Here he gave special attention, “with a right good-will,” to chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and the German language. He afterward spent some time, greatly to his profit, with Bunsen at Heidelberg, and Plattner at Freiberg. Having returned home, enriched with many specimens of rare minerals and of art, he was appointed, in March, 1858, Professor of Natural History in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In the following September he was elected Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science in Beloit College, Wisconsin. He divided his time between these two institutions till 1866, when he resigned the position at Beloit, in order to accept the pro-