Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Runkle, John Daniel

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RUNKLE, John Daniel, mathematician, b. in Root, Montgomery co., N. Y., 11 Oct., 1822. He worked on his father's farm until he was of age, and then studied and taught until he entered Lawrence scientific school of Harvard, where he was graduated in 1851. Meanwhile his ability as a mathematician led in 1849 to his appointment as assistant in the preparation of the “American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac,” in which he continued to engage until 1884. He was called to the professorship of mathematics in the Massachusetts institute of technology, and still (1888) holds that chair, being also acting president in 1868-'70, and president in 1870-'8. Prof. Runkle has taken great interest in the subject of manual training, and that system was introduced in the Institute of technology largely in consequence of his efforts. He received the honorary degrees of A. M. from Harvard in 1851, Ph. D. from Hamilton in 1869, and LL. D. from Wesleyan in 1871. In 1859 he founded the “Mathematical Monthly,” which he published until 1861, and he had charge of the astronomical department of the “Illustrated Pilgrim's Almanac.” Besides many papers, including “The Manual Element in Education” in the “Reports of the Massachusetts Board of Education” for 1876-'7 and 1880-'1 and “Report on Industrial Education” (1883), he has published “New Tables for Determining the Values of the Coefficients in the Perturbative Function of Planetary Motion” (Washington, 1856) and “Elements of Plane and Solid Analytic Geometry” (Boston, 1888). — His brother, Cornelius A., lawyer, b. in Montgomery county, N. Y., 9 Dec., 1832; d. in New York city, 19 March, 1888, was graduated at Harvard law-school in 1855, began practice in New York city, and was subsequently made deputy collector and given charge of the law division of the New York custom-house. This rendered him familiar with the legal questions involved in tariff and internal revenue litigation, and resulted in his devoting himself largely to that class of business. Mr. Runkle for about twenty-five years acted as counsel for “The Tribune” association. — Cornelius A.'s wife, Lucia Isabella, author, b. in North Brookfield, Worcester co., Mass., 20 Aug., 1844. Her maiden name was Gilbert, and after receiving her education in Fall River and Worcester, Mass., she removed to New York city. In 1862 she married Mr. Calhoun, and in 1869 Mr. Runkle. For many years she was an editorial writer and contributor to the New York “Tribune,” in which she published a brilliant series of articles on “Cooking,” treated from an artistic standpoint, which attracted much attention. She has also written frequently for other journals and for magazines.