Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Biography and Portrait of Theodore B. Comstock, A Professor of Natural Sciences at Pelham Priory, 1871-1872

For many years during the nineteenth century, the daughters of Robert Bolton operated a girls' school in their home known as Bolton Priory (also known as Pelham Priory). The home still stands in Pelham Manor and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Few records of the students and faculty members who toiled there still exist.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes the text of a brief biography of Theodore B. Comstock who served as a Professor of Natural Sciences at the school during the 1871-1872 academic year. A portrait of the Professor that appeared with his biography may be seen immediately below. The materials are followed by a citation to their source.

"COMSTOCK, Theodore Bryant, geologist, was born at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, July 27, 1849; son of Calvin J. and Amelia M. (Hanford) Comstock, and a descendant of Christopher Comstock and of the Rev. John Hanford, who were among the earliest settlers of Norwalk, Conn. He was graduated at the Pennsylvania state college in 1868 and at Cornell in 1870. He accompanied Hartt's expedition to Brazil in 1870, as first assistant geologist, and in 1873 accompanied Jones's Wyoming expedition as its geologist. He was professor of natural sciences at Pelham Priory (Pelham), Westchester county, N.Y., 1871-72; professor of natural history, Miss Nourse's school, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1873; and professor of natural sciences, Brooks school, Cleveland, Ohio, 1874-75. He conducted the Kirtland summer school of natural history at Cleveland in 1875, and was professor of general and economic geology in Cornell university, 1875-79. He conducted an expedition to British America in 1877, was instructor in the Harvard summer school of geology, 1878, and aid on the Kentucky geological survey, 1878. He then went to Silverton, Col., where he acted as general manager of a mining company, and built and managed extensive ore-sampling and concentrating works. He was professor of mining engineering and physics at the University of Illinois, 1885-89; was engaged in gold and silver work on the geological survey of Arkansas, 1887-88; and in charge of the central division of the geological survey of Texas, 1889-91. In 1891 he founded and became director of the Arizona school of mines, Tuscon, Ariz.; and in 1893 was made president of the University of Arizona, continuing also as director of the school of mines until 1895, when he became consulting mining engineer at Prescott, Ariz. He was also chosen general manager of the Prescott development syndicate, Glasgow, Scotland, and president, treasurer and general manager of the security mining and development company in Prescott, Ariz. In 1877 he served as chairman of the committee on Yellowstone park and in 1886 as secretary of the section of geology and geography of the American association for the advancement of science. In 1893 he was vice-president of the national irrigation congress at Los Angeles, Cal., and was a member of the executive committee of the trans-Mississippi congress, 1894-97. He was a director of the National educational association, 1895-97; was elected a member of the American institute of mining engineers in 1880; a member of the North of England institute of mining engineers; a member of the (British) Federated institution of mining and mechanical engineers; was a founder of the Geological society of America, and fellow of the American association for the advancement of science. He was state councillor of the American institute of civics, for Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Arizona, at different times; corresponding member of the New York academy of sciences, the Buffalo society of natural history, the Kirtland society of natural history, Cleveland, Ohio; a member of the National geographical society, Washington; and one of the founders of the Western society of naturalists, and of the Illinois society of engineers. He edited the San Juan Expositur, Eureka, Col., 1879-80, and was mining editor of the Silverton Democrat, 1882-83. He received the degree of D. Sc. from Cornell in 1886. He is the author of Reports on the Geology of Northwestern Wyoming (1874); Outline of General Geology (1879); Map of San Juan County, Colo. (1882); Reports on gold and silver, Arkansas survey, and on the central mineral region of Texas (1889); and of contributions to the American Naturalist, the American Journal of Science, and the Engineering and Mining Journal."

Source: Johnson, Rossiter & Brown, John Howard, eds., The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol. II, pp. Comstock Comstock - Comstock Conant (Boston, MA: The Biographical Society, 1904) (unnumbered pages).

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