Popular Science Monthly/Volume 77/September 1910/Associate Members of American Societies

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TWO papers on "Foreign Associates of National Societies" were published in The Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 73, p. 372, and Vol. 74, p. 80, in which the foreign membership of the seven great scientific societies of the world was discussed. It is the object of the present paper to make a similar study of the associate and honorary membership of the leading American societies, based on the latest printed lists. To avoid confusion, members paying fees will be called residents, those who live at a distance and pay no fees, associates, and foreigners, honorary members. All of the American members of the National Academy and the honorary members of the New York Academy, if Americans, will be included in the second class.

The oldest of American scientific societies is the American Philosophical Society held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge. It was founded in 1743, on the initiative of Franklin. Its membership consists of 165 residents, who live within thirty miles of Philadelphia, 224 associates and 113 honorary members. The number of persons elected each year is limited to fifteen Americans and five foreigners.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded in 1780, with its headquarters in Boston, is the second oldest scientific society. The numbers of residents (citizens of Massachusetts), associates and honorary members are 193, 87 and 63, and are limited to 200, 100 and 75, respectively.

The New York Academy of Sciences was founded in 1817. The numbers of residents, associates and honorary members are 468, 139 and 48, respectively. The numbers of the last two classes are limited to 200 and 50, respectively.

The National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1863, with its headquarters in Washington. Its membership consists of 113 associates and 45 honorary members. The number of the latter class is limited to 50.

Lists were next prepared of the associates and honorary members of these societies. Table I. contains a list of those Americans whose names appear on two or more of these lists. The successive columns give the name, place of birth, college, residence, specialty, date of birth and age at the time of election into each of the four societies. Place of birth and residence are indicated by states, or countries, except in the

TABLE I American Associates

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case of a few large cities. The four societies are indicated by the initials of the headquarters of each, P, B, N and W. Resident membership is indicated by italics.

The discussion of Table I. is complicated by the fact that several men were elected as residents, and later moving to another state, were made associates. Three men were made honorary members of the New York Academy. In all these cases, the first election is that entered in the table. Twenty-one men, including the three just mentioned, are members of all four societies, and will be designated below as of class A.

From the second column, it appears that the birthplaces are distributed as follows: Massachusetts, 22; New York, 18; Connecticut, 10; Pennsylvania, 7; Maine and Ohio, 4 each; Michigan and Vermont, 3 each; foreigners, 13, of whom 5 came from Great Britain, and 4 from Germany. The only cities furnishing more than one member are Boston, 11; New York, 8; Philadelphia, 5; Cincinnati, 2. Of 105, 41 come from New England and 26 from the Middle States, making nearly two thirds, in all. Of class A, 6 were born in New York, including 3 in New York City; 5 in Massachusetts, 4 of them in Boston; 3 in Maine, and 2 in Connecticut.

A grouping of the colleges where these men got their education led to unexpected results, as follows: Harvard College, 12; Lawrence Scientific School, 12; Yale College, 9; Sheffield Scientific School, 6; Cornell, Michigan and common schools, 5 each; Columbia and Princeton, 3 each. Nine colleges educated 2 each. Harvard and Yale, therefore, educated 39, or rather more than a third of the whole. The numbers of living graduates in the four institutions, Harvard College, Lawrence Scientific School, Yale College and Sheffield Scientific School, are about 12,000, 1,200, 8,000 and 4,000. Accordingly, the proportion is 1 out of 1,000, 100, 900 and 700, for the four institutions, respectively. The average numbers of societies are 2.5, 3.3, 2.6 and 2.5, respectively. Evidently the greatest possible number is 4.0, and the least, 2.0. The number of graduates of the other institutions is too small to determine averages with accuracy. The average 3.3 for the Lawrence Scientific School is only surpassed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2 members, average 4.0, and Williams College, 2 members, average, 3.5. Of class A, 5 are graduates of the Lawrence School, 2 of Yale College and 2 as just stated of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The present residence of these men according to cities is as follows: Boston, New York and Washington, 15 each; New Haven, 8; Baltimore and Chicago, 6 each; Princeton, 4; Berkeley, Ithaca and Stanford, 3 each; Philadelphia, Williams Bay and Worcester, 2 each. The suburbs of each city are included in it. Thus, Boston includes Cambridge, and represents, practically, Harvard College. Of class A, 6 are residents of Boston, 3 of New York, 3 of Washington, 2 of Chicago and 2 of New Haven. While birthplaces indicate conditions of about sixty years ago, and colleges forty years ago, residences indicate nearly present conditions.

The other columns of Table I. are better discussed in connection with the corresponding columns of Table II. The latter gives a list of the foreigners who are honorary members of two or more of these societies. The successive columns give the name, residence, specialty, year of birth, age at time of election into each of the four societies and number of the seven national societies of which each man is a member. The numbers in the last column are taken from the article already mentioned.

In Table II. the residences are distributed as follows: Germany, 16, of which 8 are in Berlin and 3 in Leipzig; England, 15, of which 7 are in London and 4 in Cambridge; France, 4, all in Paris; Holland, 3; Austria, 2, both in Vienna; Edinburgh, Palermo, Berne and Stockholm, 1 each. Eight men are members of all four societies, and of them five are residents of England.


Honorary Members

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Considering now the 105 Americans in Table I., and the 46 foreigners in Table II., we find that the four societies, as already stated, contain 224, 87, 142 and 113 associates, and 113, 63, 48 and 45 honorary members. The numbers of these included in Table I. are 96, 70, 48 and 82, and in Table II., 36, 31, 27 and 32.

Sciences are not easily grouped, since many are closely connected. An approximate grouping of Table I. gives: geology, 20; zoology, 15; astronomy, 15; physics, 14; chemistry, 13; physiology, 10; botany, 7; miscellaneous, 11. Class A gives: geology, 7; zoology, 6; astronomy, 3; physics, 3; chemistry, 1; botany, 1. Table II. gives: astronomy, 9; physics, 7; chemistry, 7; geology, 6; botany, 5; zoology, 3; physiology, 3; miscellaneous, 6. The large number of geologists and zoologists in Table I., and especially in class A, is remarkable, and the reversion of this condition in Table II. Of the 20 geologists in Table I. there is only 1 mineralogist, while in Table II., of 6 geologists, there are 4 mineralogists. Table I. contains but 1 mathematician, while Table II. contains 4.

Important conclusions may be drawn from the order of election, but the discussion is beset with unusual difficulties. A society which chose members who were later elected into all the other societies would display remarkable skill. In class A, the number of members first elected by the four societies is 2, 10, 8 and 1, respectively. But it is much easier to become a resident than an associate, and 13 members were elected as residents of the American Academy, and 2 of the New York Academy. Omitting these, the numbers become 3, 0, 13 and 5. Accordingly, the New York Academy appears to have shown extraordinary skill in selecting early, men of such ability that later they were chosen by all the other societies. This result is confirmed by the eight foreigners who are members of all four societies. Four of these were first elected by the New York Academy, in two cases before they were elected by either of the seven leading European societies. The last column of Table II. shows that 32 men are members both of the European and American societies; of these, 23 were first elected by a European society, 6 by an American Society and 3 in the same year by both. Of the 9 in the last two classes, 6 were chosen first by the American Academy.

The numbers elected in the different societies, during the last ten years, differ greatly. Thus, for associates, we have from 1901 to 1905, 26, 15, and 20, and for 1906 to 1910, 17, 1, 1 and 13. For honorary members no such differences occur, the numbers for 1901 to 1905 being 8, 11, 9 and 12, and for 1906 to 1910, 11, 5, 3 and 9. Only 2 honorary members were elected into the National Academy before 1896, both in 1883. In the New York Academy, 11 associates were elected in 1876. Of course all of these numbers relate only to the selected lists contained in Tables I. and II.