Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Dana, James Dwight

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Edition of 1900.

DANA, James Dwight, mineralogist, b. in Utica, N. Y., 12 Feb., 1813 d. in New Haven, 14 April, 1895. He was attracted to Yale by Benjamin Silliman, under whose guidance many of the subsequent leaders in American science received their earliest training. He was graduated in 1833 and appointed instructor of mathematics to midshipmen in the U. S. navy, and in this capacity visited the seaports of France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey while on the “Delaware” and the “United States.” In 1836-'8 he was assistant in chemistry to Prof. Silliman. Meanwhile, in December, 1836, he was appointed mineralogist and geologist to the U. S. exploring expedition, then about to be sent by the government of the United States to the Southern and Pacific oceans under the command of Capt. Charles Wilkes. The expedition sailed in August, 1838, and Mr. Dana was on board the “Peacock” until it was wrecked on a sand-bar at the mouth of Columbia river. In June, 1842, after an absence of three years and ten months, Mr. Dana returned home. Besides the mineralogy and geology, he had under his supervision the zoölogical departments, including the crustacea and corals. During the thirteen years that followed he was occupied principally in studying the material that he had collected, making drawings, and preparing the reports for publication. From 1842 till 1844 he resided in Washington, and then removed to New Haven, where he married Henrietta Frances, third daughter of Prof. Silliman, and lived until his death. The results of his labors were given in his “Reports on Zoöphytes” (4to, with an atlas of 61 folio plates, 1846), in which he proposed a new classification, and described 230 new species; the “Report on the Geology of the Pacific” (4to, with an atlas of 21 plates. 1849); and the “Report on Crustacea” (4to, with an atlas of 96 folio plates, 1852-'4). These were published by the government in Washington, and only 100 copies of each were issued. With few exceptions, the drawings in the atlases were made by Mr. Dana himself. He was appointed Silliman professor of natural history and geology at Yale in 1850, and entered on the administrations of the chair in 1855. The subsequent delivery of the lectures on natural history by others led to a change in the title of the professorship, in 1864, to that of geology and mineralogy. Prof. Dana became, about 1850, associate editor of the “American Journal of Science and Arts,” founded by the elder Silliman in 1819. Subsequent to the death of Prof. Silliman he became its senior editor, and in conjunction with his son, Edward S. Dana, continued its publication. In 1872 the Geological society of London conferred on him its Wollaston medal, and in 1877 he received the Copley gold medal from the Royal society of London. He was a member of scientific societies in the United States and abroad, including the Royal society of London, the Institute of France, the Royal academy of the Lincei of Rome, the Royal academies of Berlin, Vienna, and St. Petersburg, and was one of the original members of the National academy of sciences in the United States. Prof. Dana was elected president of the American association for the advancement of science in 1854, and in August of the following year delivered his retiring address at the Providence meeting. In 1872, on the celebration of the fourth centennial of the University of Munich, he received the degree of Ph. D., and in 1886, at the Harvard celebration, the degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him. His contributions to the “American Journal of Science and Arts,” to the “Proceedings of the American Academy,” to the “Transactions of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York,” and to the “Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia,” include hundreds of titles. His works in book-form are “System of Mineralogy” (New Haven, 1837; 5th ed., revised, New York, 1868); “Manual of Mineralogy” (New Haven, 1848; 4th ed., revised, New York, 1886); “Coral Reefs and Islands” (New York, 1853); “Manual of Geology” (Philadelphia, 1863; 3d ed., revised, New York, 1880); “Text-Book of Geology” (1864; 4th ed., revised, 1883); “Corals and Coral Islands” (New York, 1853); “The Geological Story briefly told” (1875). — His son, Edward Salisbury, mineralogist, b. in New Haven, Conn., 16 Nov., 1849, was graduated at Yale in 1870, where, in 1876, he received the degree of Ph. D., and has also studied in Heidelberg and in Vienna. In 1874 he became tutor in mathematics at Yale, and also curator of the mineral cabinet in the Peabody museum. He was appointed assistant professor of natural philosophy and astronomy in 1879, and in 1875 became one of the editors of Silliman's “American Journal of Science.” Dr. Dana is a member of many scientific societies, and in 1884 was elected a member of the National academy of sciences. In 1885 he was made a trustee of the Peabody museum of Yale. Besides memoirs on mineralogical and kindred subjects, contributed to scientific journals in the United States and in Europe, he has published “Appendix II,” (1875) and “Appendix III.” (1883) of Dana's “System of Mineralogy”; “Text-Book of Mineralogy” (New York, 1877); and “Text-Book of Mechanics” (1881).