The New International Encyclopædia/Lesley, J. Peter

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LESLEY, J. Peter (1819-1903). An American geologist, born in Philadelphia. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1838, and then spent three years assisting Henry D. Rogers in the first geological survey of Pennsylvania. In 1841 he entered the Princeton Theological Seminary, and upon his graduation in 1844 was licensed as a minister by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He then went to Europe, where he traveled on foot through France, Savoy, Switzerland, and Germany, and spent some time at the University of Halle. On his return to the United States, in 1845, he was sent by the American Tract Society into the mountainous regions of Pennsylvania, where he worked among the ignorant mountaineers until 1848, when he became pastor of a Congregationalist church in Milton, Mass. Two years later he resigned, because of a change in his religious beliefs, and returned to Philadelphia, where he became a professional geologist. He made extensive researches in the coal, oil, and iron fields of the United States and Canada, and became an acknowledged authority on the coal-fields of North America. He was appointed secretary of the American Iron Association in 1855, secretary and librarian of the American Philosophical Society in 1858, and State geologist of Pennsylvania in 1874. From 1872 until 1878 he was professor of geology at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1886 was appointed emeritus professor there. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company sent him to Europe in 1863 to examine the Bessemer iron works, and in 1867 the United States Senate appointed him one of the commissioners to the World's Fair in Paris. Besides the works which he edited, and the numerous papers by him which appeared in scientific magazines, he published: A Manual of Coal and Its Topography (1856); Man's Origin and Destiny from the Platform of the Sciences (1868); The Iron Manufacturer's Guide (1858); Historical Sketch of Geological Explorations in Pennsylvania (1876); and Paul Dreifuss, His Holiday Abroad (1882).