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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
History of Cornell
THE DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY.
The Department of Chemistry was one of the first in which an appointment was made. At the sixth meeting of the Board of Trustees, held September 26, 1867, four professors were elected, among them Dr. Gorge C. CALDWELL as professor of agricultural chemistry and James M. CRAFTS as professor of general chemistry. Professor CALDWELL was a graduate of the University of Göttingen, and had also studied the methods of instruction in the model college of Cirencester, England, and was widely known for his investigations in agricultural chemistry. Professor CRAFTS was a graduate of the Lawrence Scientific School, and had afterwards spent several years in study in France and Germany, where he had published several original investigations of great merit. At the time of his appointment he was an instructor in the Lawrence Scientific School. Since then he has made many brilliant investigations, which have caused him to rank among the most eminent of American chemists; at the present time he is a professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Soon after the appointment of these professors of chemistry, they prepared lists of the most important English, French and German standard works in their department and of the leading chemical periodicals, which were purchased by the university abroad through President WHITE, and formed a portion of the equipment at the opening of the university. Many complete sets of chemical journals were also obtained, thus constituting a valuable library for investigation, from the beginning. Chemical apparatus was also ordered, and arrived from Europe in the summer of 1868.The boxes which contained these scientific treasures were stored and opened in the northwest basement of what is now known as Morrill Hall. Professor CALDWELL presents a graphic account of a professor's life in those early days. At that time he occupied a house partially completed near the head of Buffalo street. "To reach the university it was necessary to climb a hill without sidewalks; to skirt Cascadilla; passing an old weather-stained mill which stood behind it, and avoid skillfully the debris around these buildings; to descend into a gorge by ladders, and to risk one's life in crossing planks; to wind through the woods upon the north bank, and then pass through fields and over two successive ravines, and clamber over fences, before the solitary building which constitutes the university was reached. The new professor found his earliest task in the manual labor of unpacking these European par chases. The first chemical laboratory was established in the basement of Morrill Hall, in the large room on the north side of the central entrance. The private laboratory of Professor CRAFTS, for his own and for the special work of his students, consisted simply of one short table at the end of this room, with a shelf and two capacious drawers below. Professor CALDWELL's laboratory consisted of a similar table at the other end of the room. All the water supply was brought in pails and the waste received and carried out in jars. The only ventilation was through chimney flues, and what did not escape through this uninviting exit ascended to the library room, which was directly above. Lectures in agricultural chemistry were given in a small basement room adjoining this laboratory, and the lectures on general chemistry in the large room on the other side of the middle hallway." Thus these pioneers of education passed through hardships, the immortal humor of which is now their chief compensation." During the fall and winter, a large wooden building was erected near the middle of what was then the campus, and in the spring vacation the chemical department forsook its narrow and uncomfortable quarters in Morrill Hall for its new rooms in this wooden structure, and I have no doubt that those who were left behind were as glad to have us leave as we were to get away. Of room we had an abundance in our new quarters, but of comfort, not so much. It was expected that we might occupy them for four or five years, and, of course, with such expectations, the building was cheaply constructed, and all its discomforts were endured for ten years or more, instead of the limited time originally anticipated. The building was at first occupied by the departments of mechanical engineering, botany and physics, as well a chemistry. One by one these departments were transferred to better quarters, until finally it became the exclusive possession of the chemical department for a few years. Then the department of civil engineering moved into it, and was in its turn left its sole occupant, when in 1882 the chemical department moved into the second and third stories of Franklin Hall, where; for the first time, it was accommodated in quarters especially planned and constructed for its use; but this building soon became too small for the departments of physics and chemistry and finally, in 1890, the latter department moved into Morse Hall, which had been erected for its exclusive use. This last move will undoubtedly end its wanderings on the campus." This new building was called Morse Hall in honor of the inventor of the magnetic telegraph, Mr. S. B. F. MORSE. The plan of this new chemical building makes it one of the amplest and best arranged of any structure devoted to similar purposes in America. Professor Spencer Baird NEWBURY was at that time acting professor of organic and applied chemistry, and later of general, organic and applied chemistry. He had an enthusiastic interest in the equipment of this new building and, in company with Professor CALDWELL, carefully studied and designed its general arrangement.
The scope of instruction in chemistry has been greatly widened. At first, only general, analytical and agricultural chemistry were taught, and laboratory practice was confined to analytic chemistry. A short time after the department was established in its first home, laboratory practice in general chemistry was introduced, suggested by the evident usefulness of such practice for a better understanding of the principles of elementary general chemistry, and also on account of the option of chemical laboratory practice, which was allowed for a few years in place of a part of the mathematics, which had hitherto been required in the general courses. Some kind of work in general chemistry seemed to be far more appropriate for this option than the more technical work of analytical chemistry. The inequality of the option of work in elementary chemistry for mathematics soon became so evident that it was given tip after a very brief trial, but laboratory work in general chemistry has been continued up to the present time. It was at first required only of those who later have analytical chemistry in their courses of study, but is now required of all who take the course in, general chemistry. Technical chemistry was also added in the history of the department, but was discontinued after two or three years, on account of the resignation of the professor who first suggested its introduction, and taught it. Organic chemistry was taught by lectures, and laboratory practice added later, together with metallurgical chemistry. The latest addition to the field of instruction in this department consists of courses of instruction in the most advanced field of physical chemistry. A steady advance has thus been made along all these special lines of work in chemistry by the addition of new and more advanced courses, so that now thirty-one are offered in the department, and in the list of courses for 1894-5, the number will be increased to thirty-five. Professor James M. CRAFTS resigned at the end of the first year, and Professor Charles A. SCHAEFFER was elected professor of analytical chemistry and mineralogy, June 30, 1869, Professor SCHAEFFER was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and also of the University of Göttingen, Germany. He remained connected with the department until his election as President of the University of Iowa in 1887. During the year 1886-7 he acted as dean. One year later, Professor Chester H. WING was elected to the chair of chemistry as applied to manufactures. Professor WING had graduated with distinguished honor at the Lawrence Scientific School, and had also had practical experience as a manufacturing chemist. He was connected with the university from January, 1870, to 1873, and he delivered subsequently, each year until 1880 a series of lectures upon organic chemistry. After leaving this university he was appointed to a professorship in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where, through his efforts, one of the largest departments for instruction in chemistry in the country was created. A. A. BRENEMAN was appointed assistant professor of industrial chemistry in 1875 and professor in 1879, which position he held until 1882. Professor BRENEMAN made many interesting investigations during his connection with the university, and later, as consulting chemist in New York, valuable discoveries of colors available for use in the manufacture of pottery. Dr. Spencer Baird NEWBURY, a graduate of the School of Mines, and later a student in the University of Berlin, was made assistant professor of general chemistry, mineralogy and assaying in 1882, and acting professor in 1886, which position he filled until 1892. Professor NEWBURY was an enthusiastic student of his chosen branch, and took great pleasure in the development of chemistry as applied to photography. At the exposition in Paris of 1889 he was appointed by the United States government to make the report upon certain branches of chemistry, and later he was a representative of the State of Ohio, and judge in the Chicago Exposition of 1893. Assistant Professors William R. ORNDORFF, Ph. D., Louis Munroe DENNIS, Ph. B., Joseph Ellis TREVOR, Ph. D. have contributed by investigation and instruction to extend the reputation of the department.
The Botanical Department was organized at the opening of the university in October 1868. Professor Albert N. PRENTISS, then a Professor in the Michigan Agricultural College, from which institution he had graduated in 1861, had been elected to the chair of botany, horticulture and agriculture, and placed in charge of the department. In the first general arrangement of courses of instruction in the university, the general and introductory course in botany was assigned to the spring term; but a more advanced course of lectures on systematic botany was offered for the fall term. This was attended by a class of four students who came from other colleges and had taken some botanical work before entering the university. These lectures were given in what is now room 11, Morrill Hall. The university did not as yet possess botanical collections of any kind, so that the means for illustrating the lectures were very insufficient. Moreover, the lecture room could be used for botanical purposes only for the single hour of the days on which the lectures were given. There could not, therefore, have been any proper preparation for a scientific lecture, even though suitable material had been available. In the winter term, the work was practically a continuation of that above described.
In the spring term of the first year a general course of botanical lectures was offered, which was attended by 144 students. By this time the laboratory building, so called, a large wooden structure, designed more especially for the departments of chemistry and physics, had been partially completed, and two rooms were assigned to the use of the botanical department. These consisted of a small lecture room for special classes, and a smaller room for a laboratory and professor's study. As the lecture room was far too small for the class in general botany, the lectures were given in the chemical lecture room. The laboratory work for the large class consisted only of the study and determination of species of flowering plants of the local flora. No other place being available, this work was done in a large unfinished room in the north wing of the laboratory building. This room, still unfinished, was used in this way in the spring term for three years. At a later period this room, with others, was finished for the use of the civil engineering department.
During this first spring term, in addition to the botanical work, a course of lectures on horticulture was given to a class of special students.
During the second year, 1869-70, the facilities for instruction were very considerably increased. Collections of models and diagrams, which had been purchased in Europe, began to arrive during the latter part of the previous year, and were now available for use. The small lecture room and the small and meagerly equipped laboratory were still employed by the department. In the fall term a course of lectures was given on systematic botany, which could now be presented in a manner superior to that of the previous year. Some beginnings were also made in special laboratory work. In the spring term there was an enrollment of 225 students for the general course. The lectures were given in the large lecture room on the upper floor of the building now known as White Hall. Owing to inadequate facilities for so large a class, and the want of an assistant, no laboratory work was undertaken; but all possible efforts were made to interest the members of the class in the study of the local flora.
No lectures were given in the fall term of 1870-71, the professor of botany being absent in Brazil with the Cornell Exploring Expedition. This expedition was organized by Professor C. F. HARTT for the purpose of making studies and collections in natural history. The party, made up of the two professors named, and about ten students, sailed from New York the latter part of June and returned early in the following January. The principal explorations were made in the valley of the Amazon for a distance of some 400 miles above Pará and on two of the chief tributaries of the main stream, the rivers Chingu and Tapajos. The advantages of this expedition to the botanical department consisted chiefly in the opportunity for the professor of botany to make an extended field study of tropical vegetation, and a considerable collection of material for the herbarium and museum.
Lecture work was resumed in the winter term, and in the spring the general course was given to a large class. Laboratory and field work were attempted, but systematic work in the department was accompanied by serious inconveniences. The collections and illustrative material were in the south wing of the chemical laboratory, the lectures were given in the room at the top of White Hall, while the laboratory work was done in the unfinished room in the laboratory. The labor of carrying the illustrative material needed for the lectures from one building to another across the campus and up several flights of stairs, of conducting the whole work of the department in practically three different buildings, by the professor in charge without any assistance except some undergraduate help in the laboratory, illustrate the extreme inconvenience and primitive conditions which prevailed during these earlier years.
The event of the year 1871-72 was the bringing together of the different branches of the department under one roof. Sibley College was dedicated June 21, 1871, and through the courtesy of Professor J. L. MORRIS, dean of the department, some rooms not needed for the time being for his work, were temporarily assigned to the use of the botanical department. Those rooms were the large lecture room on the second floor south, and the corresponding room on the floor above, used for a laboratory. A smaller room was available as a study and office for the professor of botany, and another small room for the storage of a part of the botanical collections. The lecture courses offered were similar to those of previous years, but the conveniences for doing the work of the department were now much increased. A small number of advanced students were now engaged on special subjects, and the work in these lines began to show considerable improvement over previous years. During this year an instructor in botany was for the first time appointed, but only for the spring term. This officer was David S. JORDAN, now President of Stanford University, then a senior at Cornell and a most enthusiastic and accomplished student of botany.
During these years, 1872-75, the department continued to occupy its quarters in the Sibley building. While the ground work was not greatly changed, some additional special courses were offered. In the spring term of 1873 a carefully organized course of lectures was given on Fungi to a class of fifteen students. The superior quality of the students who now elected special and advanced botanical work, is shown by the fact that several of the members of this class have since become well known naturalists, and at least seven have been, or now are, college professors. For the spring term of 1873 Mr. W. R. DUDLEY, then a junior and an excellent student in botany and other subjects in natural history, was appointed an instructor in botany to assist in the general laboratory work. He was again appointed for the spring term on the following year.
During this period the enthusiasm for botanical excursions and the study of the flora of Ithaca and vicinity, which had been a conspicuous feature of the work of the department from the beginning, became very prominent. Every ravine, marsh, hillside and wood was explored and the discovery of a species not previously recorded was hailed with great enthusiasm, not only by the discoverer, but by his companions in botanical study. Among the notable discoveries of the period was that of the ash-leaf maple, a tree not previously known as growing spontaneously within the limits of the State of New York. A number of specimens, some twenty or more, mostly small in size, were found in a small piece of undisturbed wood about two miles south of Ithaca. The discoverer was Mr. J. C. BRANNER, a botanical student of rare promise, who has since become a geologist of excellent reputation, and is now a professor in Stanford University.
The period from 1875 to 1888. In the fall of 1875 the department began its work in its present quarters in the south wing of Sage College. The corner stone of this building had been laid with appropriate ceremonies on May 15, 1873, and the building was now ready for use. The rooms occupied by the department were a large lecture room, a professor's office and study, and a laboratory on the first floor; a museum 28x46 feet on the second floor, and on the third floor a number of smaller rooms used for pressing and mounting specimens for the herbarium, storage for duplicates and apparatus, and other similar uses. The total floor area thus occupied by the department was upwards of 6,000 square feet. The lecture room was handsomely finished in hard wood and provided with fixed seats with walnut arm rests for 156 students. By the use of chairs, the seating capacity of the room could be somewhat increased without undue crowding. The enrollment of some of the larger classes has been upwards of 175. The laboratory was lighted from the north, and adapted to microscopical as well as general laboratory work. In the museum were the general herbarium and other collections, for which suitable cases had been provided. Thus, after six years of pioneering, with inadequate but slowly improving facilities and the temporary occupancy of various buildings, the department found itself located in handsome quarters admirably adapted to its requirements.
Beginning with the fall of 1875, Mr. W. R. DUDLEY was regularly appointed instructor in botany to devote his entire attention to the subject, the previous appointment having been for a single term each year. At the beginning of the following year, 1876-77, he was appointed assistant professor. The scope of instruction was now somewhat increased, chiefly in cryptogamic subjects. In the spring of 1877 a course of instruction was given on mosses and alga, and in the following autumn on ferns. Opportunities for special work were improved, and an increasing number of students was now conducting work of this kind.
Within five years of the first occupancy of Sage College the facilities for laboratory work had become inadequate for want of room, and the need of a green-house from which living plants could be obtained at all seasons of the year, was felt to be urgent. At this juncture the Hon. Henry W. SAGE, who had already made princely gifts to the university, offered as a further gift the means for extending the laboratory and erecting a conservatory, the whole to cost $15,000. Work was begun in the summer of 1881.The laboratory extension was of brick, 24x36 feet, two stories in height, and corresponded in architecture to the older building. The conservatory consisted of five connected glass structures, of different heights and adapted to different temperatures, the whole range being in extreme dimensions 50x152 feet. These improvements were completed in the following spring, and were formally opened by appropriate exercises held in the botanical lecture room on the evening of June 15, 1882. Brief addresses were made by President WHITE, Hon. Erastus BROOKS and others.
These increased facilities for botanical work were of great moment. The available space in the phanerogamic and histological laboratory (on the first floor) was nearly doubled, and an office and study for the assistant professor of botany was provided. On the second floor was a well lighted laboratory, which has since been devoted wholly to cryptogamic work. The conservatories, which were built in the most substantial manner, proved to be admirably adapted to the uses for which - they were intended, and soon began to afford material for work and illustration in all the courses of instruction offered by the department, as well as by affording opportunities for experimental work and investigations on the physiology of plants. In the fall of 1882 Mr. Robert SHORE was appointed head gardener, and placed in immediate charge of the conservatories.
In 1886 the catalogue of the flowering plants of Ithaca and vicinity was published by Professor DUDLEY under the title, The Cayuga Flora. This important work was based upon the studies and explorations of the officers and students of the department from the beginning of the university, this being supplemented by special and critical work carried on for several years by the author. The field embraced in this flora is the territory drained by Cayuga Lake and its tributaries, of which Ithaca is approximately the center. The number of species and varieties catalogued was 1278. The catalogue proper forms a pamphlet of 140 pages, with two maps, and is preceded by an introduction of some thirty pages. The catalogue has been of great service to the department as a guide to explorations and field study; and the thoroughness of the work is shown by the fact that, although the field studies have continued to the present time with unabated interest, only a small number of, species have been added to those listed in the flora.
For the year 1887-88, Mr. F. V. COVILLE was appointed instructor in botany, Professor DUDLEY being in Europe. Mr. COVILLE graduated at the Commencement of 1887, and had been a student of marked ability in botany throughout his university course.
1888-92. In the summer of 1888, the Agricultural Experiment Station, provided for by the act of Congress known as the Hatch bill, was established at the university. After due consideration the Station Council decided that some botanical investigations concerning the diseases of plants, especially those of fungous origin, ought to be undertaken in the interest of the station. This work was placed in the hands of Professor DUDLEY at his request, and the duties of cryptogamic botanist to the station assigned to him in the fall of 1888.To secure time for these new duties Professor DUDLEY was relieved of all work of instruction for one term, and a part of the work for the other two terms of the year. In connection with these changes, Mr. W. W. ROWLEE who had graduated at the previous Commencement, was appointed instructor in botany.
The evidences of improvement and increased interest in botanical work during this period were encouraging. The actual as well as the relative number of students engaged in special work, and in research and investigation of a more or less difficult nature was greater than ever before. In the last year of the period sixteen graduate students besides a still larger number of special undergraduate students, mainly seniors, were taking work in the department.
A change of importance was made in the general course. Heretofore this course of three lectures per week had been given in the spring term. Beginning with 1890-91, the course was given in the fall and winter terms, two lectures per week being given. This change nearly doubled the time assigned to the general course, and was important especially in this, that it made it possible to devote the entire winter term to a course of lectures on the physiology of plants.
At the close of the collegiate year, 1891-2, Professor DUDLEY retired from the university in order to accept a professorship of botany in Stanford University.
At the beginning of this year (1892) Professor G. F. ATKINSON was appointed assistant (and since associate) professor of cryptogamic botany in the university, and cryptogamic botanist to the Experiment Station. Professor ATKINSON graduated from Cornell in 1885, and had occupied the chair of botany in the University of North Carolina, but at the time of his appointment was professor of biology in the Agricultural College of Alabama. His chief line of work had been in cryptogamic botany, and his investigations and contributions, especially in fungi and in fungous diseases of plants, had become widely and favorably known. His familiarity with the subject, and a very considerable increase in laboratory equipment, now rendered it possible to add to the courses already established, an important course on the methods of study and culture of bacterić.
THE GENERAL PLAN OF INSTRUCTION.-In arranging the courses of instruction in the department, the obligations to provide general instruction for those who desire to begin the study of botany has been recognized from the first. This was demanded not only by the relation which the university bears to the State, but also by the fact that botany is not taught in all the schools of the State, and is adequately taught in only a few. No effort therefore, has been spared to make the general course as offered by the department in the highest degree effective. And this has been done for two reasons-to make the work as valuable as possible to those whose study of botany ceased with the general course, and to serve as an introduction to future courses for those who intend to pursue the subject still further, there have been, therefore, three lines of work constantly in progress; the general course; the advanced courses, in recent years usually eight to ten in number; and the special and largely independent work for the most advanced students. The plan, although not an ideal one for university work, has nevertheless been attended with some satisfactory results. The classes in the general courses have been very large, but the department has from the first attracted a considerable number of advanced and special students. Numerous theses for first degrees, and a number for advanced degrees, have been prepared, many of which have shown marked ability in original research. A portion of these have been published as contributions to botanical science. One of the earliest was the thesis of Mr. HINE (1877), an original study of the difficult and, at the time little known group, the Saprolegnieć. This paper, which was published in the American Microscopic Journal, was illustrated with, lithographic plates containing sixty-one figures.
A considerable number of the special students of the department have become successful naturalists, teachers and authors. A list of these would include the names which follow. Those receiving first degrees from the university are indicated by the dates of graduation. Most of the others have been graduate students, some of whom have received second degrees.
THE COLLECTIONS.-At the organization of the university, as already stated, there were no collections available for class-room or laboratory purposes. Models and charts, however, began to arrive from Europe at the close of the first year; but the first most important accession was a collection of herbarium specimens made by Horace MANN, jr., who had been a student and herbarium assistant of Dr. Asa GRAY. This collection was purchased in 1869 by President WHITE, at a cost of $1,014 and presented to the university. There were upward of 7,500 mounted species, many of them represented by more than one specimen. The collection consisted mainly of flowering plants and ferns, and is especially rich in Sandwich Island plants. From these beginnings the collections have made a continuous growth. The general herbarium now contains some 15,000 mounted species; there are also many thousand duplicates; the local herbarium is nearly exhaustive of the species of the Cayuga flora; the cryptogamic herbarium contains from eight to ten thousand specimens, and there is a small garden herbarium of cultivated plants. In the museum are specimens of fruits, nuts, seeds, woods, fibers and various economic vegetable products. The department owns the Auzoux and Brendel models, the Achille Compte wall maps, the Kry charts and other diagrams, physiological apparatus, a lime lantern with 500 views, and a collection of some 800 microscopic mounts. In the conservatories are a thousand or more species and varieties of living plants. The laboratories are equipped with thirty dissecting and compound microscopes, microtomes, reagents and the various appliances for microscopic and histological work. In the photographic rooms are cameras, photo-micrographic apparatus and other apparatus for applying photography to scientific purposes. In the cryptogamic laboratory are steam sterilizers, Rohrbeck's large thermostat with electric thermo-regulator, culture rooms and other appliances for bacteriological study and research.
THE DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY.
At the opening of the university the department of geology was entrusted to Professor Charles Fred HARTT, a native of Nova Scotia. He graduated at Acadia College in 1860, and had spent three years as a special student of geology under Professor AGASSIZ in Cambridge. For one year (1864-5) he was an assistant on the geological survey of New Brunswick. In 1865-6 he was geologist of the Thayer expedition to Brazil. Here he found an entirely new field of investigation, not only in geology, but in ethnology, physical geography and the languages, customs and lore of the South American Indians. He published numerous papers which showed the versatility of his genius, not only in geology but in ethnology. He was unwearied in mastering the languages of the Indians, and in acquiring the hidden treasures of their popular legends. In the brief period of his connection with the university Professor HARTT stimulated the scientific interest of numerous students who have since become famous in their chosen fields. In order to return for further investigation in Brazil, he organized in 1870 a company of professors and students, who volunteered to join him in a new expedition to Brazil. Among those who accompanied him were Professor PRENTISS for the study of the tropical flora, and Messrs. DERBY, BRANNER and RATHBUN. In university history this expedition bears the name of the "Morgan Expedition," in honor of the Hon. Edwin Barber MORGAN of Aurora, who contributed a considerable sum to defray its cost. These enthusiastic scientists spent the summer and autumn of 1870 in Brazil and returned laden with valuable specimens to enrich the university museums. Three years later, Professor HARTT was offered the position of director of the geological survey of Brazil and received leave of absence to superintend that work. He filled the position from 1874 to 1878 but fell a sacrifice to his zeal for science on March 18, 1878.
During Professor HARTT's absence, Dr. Theodore Bryant COMSTOCK, one of his pupils, filled the position of assistant professor of geology until 1879, when Dr. Samuel Gardiner WILLIAMS was elected professor of general and economic geology, and Dr. Henry Shaler WILLIAMS as assistant professor. In the following year, Dr. Henry S. WILLIAMS was made assistant professor of palaeontology, and in 1884, professor. In 1886, upon the resignation of Dr. Samuel G. WILLIAMS, Dr. Henry S. WILLIAMS was made professor of geology and palaeontology, with Mr. James F. KEMP assistant professor of geology and mineralogy. Professor KEMP resigned at the close of the university year 1890-91, in order to accept a position as professor of geology in Columbia College, at first as associate, and later as the successor of his teacher, the late Professor NEWBERRY.
Dr. John Francis WILLIAMS, who had made a brilliant reputation as a petrographer by his studies in Europe and Arkansas, was elected to succeed Professor KEMP, but his work had scarcely begun when he fell a victim to a disease which he had contracted by overwork. In the winter of 1892, Mr. Ralph S. TARR was appointed his successor, and in the spring of that year Professor H. S. WILLIAMS resigned his position as head of the department to accept a position at Yale, where he succeeded his illustrious teacher, James D. DANA.
Prior to the departure of Professor H. S. WILLIAMS, the courses of instruction in the geological department had been mainly in the lines of palaentology and mineralogy, but after the resignation of Professor WILLIAMS, the former was necessarily dropped; and the latter work was continued, with some changes, under the direction of Instructor Arthur S. CABLE. Courses in geology and physical geography were introduced, and it has been the effort of Professor TARR to develop these branches and to introduce methods of instruction by means of field and laboratory work.
For the next year (1894-5) an entirely new plan of organization has been adopted, and, instead of a single department, three sub-departments have been created by the appointment of Mr. Gilbert D. HARRIS, assistant professor of palaeontology; Dr. Adam C. GILL, assistant professor of mineralogy and petrography, and Mr. Ralph S. TARR, assistant professor of dynamical geology and physical geography. Mr. EAKLE has resigned to go to Europe for study, and Mr. Stuart WELLER, the assistant in geology, will go to Yale to accept a similar position there. Mr. S. P. CARLL will succeed Mr. WELLER as assistant in geology and mineralogy.
The department is extremely well situated for instruction in palaeontology, since the university is built in the midst of a rich field of fossiliferous Devonian rocks. Moreover, there has been, almost continuously since the opening of the university, a palaeontologist in the department, and for the greater part of the time at the head of the department. Therefore the collection of fossils has grown to great size, and includes many typical and unique specimens. Aside from many smaller collections, there is the Farnum Jewett collection, purchased by Ezra CORNELL at a cost of ten thousand dollars, and the remarkable Newcomb collection of recent shells, purchased at a cost of thirteen thousand dollars. Few universities in the country have more valuable collections of fossils, and yet there is much that is needed in this branch.
The department of mineralogy is also well supplied with collections, for, aside from the study series, there is the valuable Silliman collection, which is on exhibition in the museum. Of late years, owing to he development of new methods in the study of minerals and rocks, a department of mineralogy needs much expensive apparatus, only a part of which is at present owned by the department.
Upon the geological side there is much that is urgently needed. The collections of photographs, lantern slides, maps and models, need to be greatly enlarged to meet the demands of modern methods of instruction. But the chief need of this department is facility for pursuing field work away from Ithaca. While in some respects the region is admirably adapted to field instruction, there are numerous points of importance that are not illustrated in the vicinity. The geological instruction should, therefore, be supplemented by vacation courses in field work in the Appalachian formation, and it is earnestly hoped that the means for this may be forthcoming. The brilliant success of some Professor HARTT's pupils depended largely upon the training in the field that they received under him in Brazil.
Since the first years of the university, the constant aim in the geological department has been to offer courses of a thoroughly scientific character, and to furnish to students training upon which a successful career in scientific investigation is based. That the effort has been successful is shown by, the following list of names of students in this department who have made geology a profession. This list does not pretend to be complete, but its length is surprising when the history of the department and the frequent interruption in its continuity are considered.
The Department of Vertebrate Zoology includes physiology, neurology, embryology, histology and anatomical and microscopical methods.
The present staff comprises a professor of physiology, vertebrate Zoology and neurology, Burt G. WILDER, B. S., M. D.; an associate professor of anatomy, histology and embryology, Simon H. GAGE, B. S.; with two instructors, Pierre A. FISH, B. S., D. Sc., and Grant S. HOPKINS, B. S., D. Sc., assigned respectively to the two groups and subjects embraced in the titles of the two professors.
Apart from veterinary science, the zoological division of the university was at first entrusted to a single professor, with the title of professor of comparative anatomy and natural history, and the department represented by him was first called the Medical. This was soon changed to Anatomical. The title of the professor was made professor of physiology, comparative anatomy and zoology; later it was changed to its present form, indicating the three courses personally conducted in the three terms of the college year. In the earlier years instruction in invertebrate zoology, excepting insects, was shared, in part, with the professor of geology and palaeontology.
In 1871-2 the course in the winter term was devoted to comparative neurology, and that in the spring to human embryology, thus, it is believed antedating the period of such specialization outside of some of the larger medical schools. A course in experimental physiology of muscle and nerve was given in 1880 and 1881, but abandoned for want of suitable apparatus. The anatomical laboratory was a basement room in the south end of Morrill Hall. After the first two years an adjoining room was available, and later a small room on the third floor. Upon the completion of McGraw Hall in 1871, the only laboratory space was found beneath the rising seats of the lecture room, which was reserved for the head of the department and special students. Later the basement was fitted up for general laboratory work. There are now in the north wing separate rooms for the professor and associate professor; also a histological laboratory. The horizontal division of the lofty lecture room enables it to be used for practicums as well as lectures, and provides four rooms above for storage and special work.
At first the large room on the fourth floor of Morrill Hall was used for lectures in common with other departments. The lecture room in McGraw Hall was shared for many years with the geological department, and is now used in the fall and spring for the courses in invertebrate zoology and entomology.
The Auzoux models and other objects constituted the nucleus of the museum, and were first accommodated in a room on the second floor of Morrill Hall. Until recently the vertebrate collections have occupied cases in McGraw Hall, joining and commingled with cases containing collections of several other departments. Under these circumstances no proper scientific arrangement has been practicable.
Besides the general effect of the teachings, writings and example of the elder AGASSIZ upon all branches of natural science in America, his influence was exerted directly upon this department in the university on three occasions. In 1867, his counsel was given as to its organization, when his recommendation led to the appointment of Professor WILDER; and again, at the opening of the university, when he was present and gave an encouraging address; be also remained to deliver a course of twenty lectures on zoology, which, to use the words of an alumnus who heard them, "were more useful to the university than any other one thing."
In 1871, he enlisted the co-operation of Professor WILDER in making a series of preparations of the brains and embryos of domesticated animals for the Museum of Comparative Anatomy in Cambridge, with the privilege of publishing the results of his discoveries. Since that time the professor has made neurology his special study, and his lectures and writings upon the subject have contributed to develop this study without as well as within the university.
A letter of ex-President WHITE upon the work of this department, dated in St. Petersburg, July 29, 1893, may properly be inserted here:
An entrance requirement in physiology and hygiene was early included among the elementary subjects for admission to all courses in the university, and the standard has been steadily raised. So far as is known this antedates any similar scientific requirement for admission to any American university.
Although the department possessed the only compound microscope in the university, no advanced work was done with it, or systematic instruction offered in its use until 1873. In that year Dr. W. S. BARNARD, of, the class of 1871, returned from Germany after a course under GEGENBAUR, LEUCKHART, HAECKEL and others. During the two following years he did much original work as a graduate student in histology and in the study of the protozoa. In the fall of 1873 a freshman, Simon H. GAGE, succeeded Professor COMSTOCK as helper in the laboratory. His zeal and ability, his prompt mastery of microscopical methods, his patience and especially his early manifestation of the rare and precious quality which may be designated as morphological insight, caused him to be entrusted more and more with the personal instrucion of the laboratory students, whose numbers and requirements were then rapidly increasing. In the year 1878 he was appointed instructor, and abandoned the idea of practicing medicine; he was made assistant professor in 1881 and associate in 1889. It is gratifying and encouraging to state that these promotions were due, not to the discovery of his merits by other institutions, but to the recognition here of his value to Cornell as a man, investigator and teacher. He has, however, declined several independent positions with higher salaries, because he appreciates the earnestness of his students, his opportunities for research and advanced the spirit of mutual confidence and helpfulness that characterizes the whole department.
Since 1885-6 the courses in anatomical and microscopical methods, histology and embryology have been substantially conducted by Professor GAGE, with the assistance since 1889 of Dr. G. S. HOPKINS. No more accurate or complete instruction in microscopical methods and in vertebrate histology is elsewhere afforded. Mr. FISH has made a special study of the histology of the nervous system, so that unusual facilities are now afforded for instruction and advanced work therein. A special course in it is given by him this year for the first time.
The very great advantages for the study of zoology in Ithaca were immediately recognized, and from the first, every effort has been made to collect and investigate the local fauna. As the years have passed and the fauna been more carefully studied, the advantages of the situation, with lakes at once isolated and yet with remote connections through the Oswego River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River with the ocean, has been fully appreciated. Furthermore, in the gigantic experiment due to the glacial epoch, and the restocking of the lakes and streams with aquatic life, there was promise of most interesting and far-reaching conclusions, to be attained by a profound study of the forms here presented. Believing in this great opportunity the fauna, especially that of the lake (Cayuga), has been the subject of the most extended and enthusiastic study on the part of both students and teachers. As all advanced and most graduating theses are based upon original observations and deductions, the various members of the lake fauna have served for subjects of theses. Many of the theses have been of great excellence, not only serving to initiate their writers into the modes of conducting and carefully reporting the results of investigation, but many of them have brought out almost unhoped for facts and important generalizations. Among the members of the lake fauna the lamprey, the lowest fresh water vertebrate, and the necturus, one of the salamanders with permanent gills, was early recognized as especially desirable for study and with promise of valuable results. The necturus has therefore largely taken the place of the more specialized frog as a representative amphibian and vertebrate. The advantages of the necturus have been clearly pointed out by Professor WILDER, so that now it is a common object of study in many universities, and although it is found in other waters of the country, most of those studied are obtained from Cayuga Lake. The same animal presents unusual advantages for microscopical instruction and research. Its histologic elements or tissues are so coarse that they are easily studied. Indeed its blood cerpuscles are so large that they may be seen with the unaided eye. Probably no other animal shows so well the circulation of the blood. The external gills are so vascular, and so easily observed under the microscope that its study has become a part of both general and special students. Probably no other animal has done more to arouse interest in physiology and to cultivate an appreciation of the marvelous and beautiful things in nature, if we only look beyond an exterior sometimes unattractive. The lamprey eel has replaced the ordinary fish as an object of study in the general classes in zoology, and has served also for some extended observations; the investigations have not only added to knowledge concerning the species and the group, but have led to general conclusions of great value concerning the possibilities of evolution.
As an introduction to human, comparative, and veterinary anatomy and physiology, the domestic cat has been employed for dissection, for museum specimens and for experimentation About 400 of these are now consumed annually.
It is one of the doctrines of the department that the members of the class in zoology shall be able to observe the natural behavior of the objects of their study. Hence, in addition to what may be called the "stock series" of representative forms-cats, frogs, necturi and other salamanders, alligators, turtles, serpents, amias and lampreys-less common animals have been kept alive in cages or aquariums, freely accessible to the students and the public. Among the forms thus available for quiet observation, may be mentioned a pair of deer with their fawn, two bears, several monkeys, raccoons, lynxes and opossums-some of the latter with young in the pouch-an armadillo, porcupines, woodchucks, muskrats, bats, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, eagles, hawks, owls, herons, loons, lizards, Gila monsters, "horned frogs," a megalobatrachus (the great salamander of Japan), cryptobranchus, garpikes, and many kinds of fish from the lake and streams. The general and deep interest aroused by living animals, and the usefulness of their study, lead to the hope that a zoological garden may sometime be established, either by the city or by the university.
For several years after the opening of the university, the animals for demonstration and dissection were obtained as needed, and kept but a short time before they were used. This rather primitive method became impracticable, however, as soon as the number of advanced and laboratory students increased. To avoid the delay occasioned by going out to secure an animal when it was required, and to render the work more prompt and satisfactory, there was prepared what is known in the department as the "frog spring." At a short distance from the university is a series of springs along the margin of Fall creek. One of these was carefully dug out and supplied with a bottom and walls of Portland cement. Into this aquarium the water from a spring flowed, the outlet being diagonally opposite. A partition of wire separated it into two rooms, and a heavy oak cover with locks enclosed it from above, so that the animals in it would not be disturbed by predacious creatures like the mink, or the ordinary biped bent on mischief. In this spring, the winter supply of frogs, a stock of necturi, and other aquatic animals are kept, and specimens are obtained as desired. This spring has proved one of the most truly economical acquisitions of the department.
For storing the barrels of alcohol and other inflammables, and as a home for the cats and other of the higher animals used for dissection and demonstration, a deserted workman's cottage was first utilized, not far from the laboratory. When this was removed to give place to Lincoln Hall, a special building was put in the forest back of Sibley College. This building served, like the old one, for the live cats and other mammals used for dissection, and for the storage of alcohol, petroleum and rough specimens. In June, 1892, the building with its contents (including the bones of an elephant) were destroyed by fire, and its various uses are now better subserved by separate rooms in the basement of McGraw Hall.
A special fire-proof room has been prepared in the basement laboratory for the incubator used in the courses in histology and embryology. This instrument, which must run night and day, is not therefore a source of danger, for it is so connected with a flue that if the entire contents of the room were to burn up no injury to the building would result.
One of the most vexed questions arising in every newly established laboratory is the disposal of the laboratory waste. In 1893 a "Gregory furnace" was obtained, and the waste is now consumed by fire without offence.
The ideas upon which the vertebrate collections have been formed and arranged, are thus described in an article in Science:
The sums available from the annual appropriations for the increase of the Museum have been very small. Through the efforts of President WHITE, a single grant made it possible to secure many important specimens from Ward's Natural Science establishment at Rochester, but much is still needed to complete the series.
With the exception of some mounted skins and skeletons, nearly all the specimens exhibited in the Museum have been prepared by members of the staff or their student assistants. Among the latter should be particularly mentioned Theobald SMITH, F. L. KILBORNE, B. L. OVIATT, E. H. SARGENT, J. M. WILSON, Miss O. O. STRONG, R. B. HOUGH and M. J. ROBERTS. Some of the preparations which they have made are not only instructive but elegant and even unique.
Donations to the Museum have been numerous and often valuable. Besides constant remembrances from former students, there should be mentioned particularly the collection of 300 mounted birds, mostly from North America, presented by the late Mr. Greene SMITH, of Peterboro, in 1868, and a series of bows and weapons and implements of Anglo-Saxons, Romans and Britons, presented in 1870 by the late Professor George ROLLESTON, of Oxford University.
To render the educational value of the Museum as great as possible, it is intended that each specimen should be accompanied by a concise statement of the most important facts respecting it in particular and such specimens in general; and, if it is an anatomical preparation, also a figure or photograph bearing the names of the principal parts, and an enumeration of the points illustrated by it.
It is one of the canons of the department that all of the work done by the student in investigation shall be accurately described; but as verbal descriptions alone are inadequate, careful drawings are required as an essential part of the description. Since 1874 photography has been very largely employed in the exact delineation of complex objects. It was early seen, however, that in order to render photography- applicable to the reproduction of figures of the great variety of objects studied, it would be necessary to devise some means by which the specimens could rest in the position most natural and least liable to injury; sometimes in a liquid to support delicate parts and prevent their collapse. Hence a vertical camera was devised by the associate professor. In photographing with this, the object rests horizontally, and the camera points directly downward. With this camera hundreds of pictures of the most varied objects have been made; many of which have served as the basis for drawings to illustrate special investigations; and some, of entire animals photographed in the water, have served for half tone and photogravure reproduction. Rare animals or specimens are photographed upon their receipt by the department, before dissection, and frequently during various stages of dissection. Fresh fishes and other aquatic animals are photographed under water, either immediately after death or while etherized. In this way the fins and other flexible parts float out in their natural condition and a most truthful picture of the animal results.
Beside the ordinary photographic cameras and objectives, the department possesses a very complete and perfect outfit for photo-micrography. Indeed it may be said that the scientific work of the department and its publication have been greatly advanced and encouraged by the above photographic facilities.1
Among the special features which have been introduced as aids to study are the card catalogues, containing names and descriptions of the various objects preserved, a book catalogue, the slip system of notes and photographs of objects studied, which are inserted in portfolios or mounted.
Alinjection designates the method of preparing and preserving animals or their parts, and especially hollow organs, by the injection of the preparation into the arteries or the carotids. The transmission of preservative liquids to the tissues by a constant pressure-apparatus connected with the vessels by which blood reached the parts during life, is really so simple, as well as effectual, that it is hard to account for its comparatively infrequent adoption. Without previous acquaintance with what had been done by others, Dr. WILDER began, with the co-operation of Professor S. H. GAGE, on October 7, 1883, upon the body of a young chimpanzee, an alinjection of the entire body, which was prolonged for ten days, and was completely successful. In November, 1885, a manatee, 150 ctm. long, was prepared in like manner; all the cats used by the general class in physiology are alinjected and packed away till wanted; still-born children are commonly so preserved, and all anatomical material in medical dissecting rooms may be thus rendered innocuous, free from unpleasant odor and fit for prolonged and thorough examination.
This method of preservation, for the more satisfactory display and study of hollow organs like the heart, is believed to be one of the most valuable methods introduced by the department. By its means, the heart of the sheep, used by the general class in the laboratory work or "practicums," becomes almost as easy of dissection and of comprehension as the elaborate and costly papier maché models. This method of preparing the eyes used for class dissection has also been of the greatest service; for the study of the cavities of the brain, its value can not be overestimated.
Since 1880 the members of the department have united in an effort to improve the terminology of anatomy in two ways: First, as to the terms of position and direction; to employ such as relate to the organism itself and are applicable to all the vertebrates, e. g., dorsal and ventral for posterior and anterior, or upper and lower. Second, to replace the names consisting of two or more words by names of one word, e. g., corpus callosum by callosum; commissura anterior by precommissura. The objects attained by the change are brevity; capacity for adjective inflection, and substantial uniformity in all languages, since the Latin original can be adopted with unessential changes to modern languages.
What effect the precept and example of this department may have exerted, cannot now be estimated, but progress is making steadily along these lines irrespective of the general adoption of any special set of terms. Much of the success of the instruction has been due to the habit of consistently employing only one series of names in a given lecture, article, or book.
The head of the department is in the habit of urging his students to strive in composition for clearness, consistency, correctness, conciseness, and completeness. These he calls his five C's.
In all the courses, general as well as special, in the laboratory work and in publication, weights, lengths and volumes are stated in the metric system, although the common equivalents are sometimes added.
The lectures in physiology have been illustrated by experiments mostly upon the cat and frog. But the charge of cruelty cannot be maintained against the department.
No lecture in the department has ever been given without specimens or models, and sometimes as many as forty different specimens are brought from the museum or laboratories to illustrate a single lecture. When practicable they remain for more leisurely examination by the class.
Each class, whether general or special, is invited to regard the lecture room as its "study" for the term, and there is unrestricted access to the specimens, books and diagrams.
The museum now contains more well prepared human cerebrums than any other institution in this country. The objects of the collection are set forth in the following paragraph from an article by Professor WILDER.
Another aspect of the matter is the need of a fissural standard, based upon the careful comparison of large numbers of average, intelligent, educated, and moral individuals, excluding the eminent as well as the immoral, the ignorant and the insane.
It must be borne in mind that the fissural pattern of the average, intelligent, educated, and moral human being is undetermined.
When the university opened and for several years afterward, all of the instruction was given by the head of the department. After a lecture to a large class of freshmen, he gave special instruction in the laboratory, thus passing from the simplest facts in anatomy and physiology to a discussion of the profoundest problems in transcendental anatomy. As there were many things to be done, like arranging diagrams, and putting away specimens, etc., and students with limited means were anxious to do something to aid in their support, there arose the custom of having student assistants. The number of students employed to render assistance of various kinds in the anatomical department has been, from first to last, quite large, and many have been enabled to complete their university course by the money thus earned. But while this compensation was important, the inspiration gained by the students from the intimate association into which they were brought with the head and other teachers of the department, was of greater value. This association was at once pleasant and stimulating. No student assistant was ever asked or expected to render any service that the teacher himself was afraid or ashamed to undertake, consequently a dignity was, given to the work of the department, often disagreeable in itself, and the assistants only needed to know what was desired in order to accomplish it. The intimate knowledge and manipulative skill gained by this co-operation were regarded by more than one of those assistants as an ample recompense, even if no money had been received. Among those who thus rendered help in the anatomical department, one is now a full professor, one an associate-professor, and two, instructors in the university; one, at the time of his death, was a distinguished professor and orthopedic surgeon; and one holds an important position under the government and is one of the highest authorities in bacteriology and pathology in America; one is director of a government experiment station; one has a responsible position in the United States Geological Survey; one as agent of the State Board of Health is endeavoring to stamp tuberculosis out of the dairy herds of New York; others are physicians and teachers in various parts of the country. They all look back to the experience and inspiration gained in their assistant days as among the most powerful factors of their lives.
Early in the year 1893-4, a series: of weekly conferences was begun, in which Professor GAGE also participated, at which recent observations or conclusions of the speakers or other neurologists were presented and discussed.
The actual work of the department has always been in advance of the facilities offered. If the only room was a poorly lighted basement or the triangular space under the rising lecture seats, the most advanced work was always in progress, such as gave the students the real and living knowledge that would enable them to do their part in life honorably and to be in the front rank. When apparatus or books were not furnished by the university, the teachers supplied the need at their own expense.
The methods of work, and the subjects for special study in biology have changed greatly since the opening of the university, and an honorable part has been taken by this department in bringing about these changes. As stated above, one of the features of the instruction has been a combination of laboratory practice and lectures for all students doing special work in the department; from the beginning the general courses in physiology and zoology have been abundantly illustrated by lecture room experiments, and the exhibition of specimens as well as by special demonstrations; but so fully was the head of the department convinced of the necessity of personal contact of the student with specimens, that he conceived the plan, and took the bold step of making practical work a constituent part of the general lecture courses, so that, even with classes numbering nearly 200, a third of the time is given to the "practicums." This began in 1880-81 in zoology, and in 1886-87 in physiology. When this was publicly announced at a meeting of the American Society of Naturalists in 1883, it seemed like a hazardous innovation, but time and experience have shown the wisdom of the step and also that the large majority of general students appreciate real knowledge and are willing to undergo the slight inconvenience of attaining it. For the general classes, the material to be studied, cats, sheep-hearts, brains and eyes, etc., are preserved in alcohol and prepared so that the minimum of dissection is required of the student. That minimum, however, is considerable, and its accomplishment in the time available is only possible by the aid of printed directions, and of assistants, mostly advanced students, who stand ready to explain difficult points.
Whenever it is deemed desirable to introduce new subjects into the curriculum, the head of the department, with indefatigable zeal and energy took the work upon his own already overburdened shoulders or encouraged some of his assistants to undertake it. Thus the special lecture and laboratory courses in anatomical methods, microscopy, embryology, general histology and the special histology of the nervous system have arisen. The equipment of those courses was at first very inadequate, but earnestness and enthusiasm, while they could not take the place of proper appliances, still made the courses eminently successful and inspiring both to students and teachers. Every step in advance so thoroughly proved its wisdom that material equipment was soon provided, until now it is so complete for the above courses that no student, graduate or undergraduate, is hampered for the want of opportunity, and his attainments are limited only by his own ability. In the work of the department, as to both research and instruction, while accuracy of observation, description and delineation have been insisted upon, the mere accumulation, publication and communication of isolated facts has never been sought; the effort has been rather to co-ordinate and correlate the facts and to determine their bearing upon general or special questions in morphology, oteology or classification.
Several hundred graduates of this and other universities have worked in the laboratories of this department.
The head of the department has published numerous papers in scientific periodicals; eight articles or parts as collaborator in Foster's Encyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Buck's Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences; also Anatomical Technology, as senior author with Professor GAGE; What Young People Should Know; Health Notes for Students; Emergencies: How to Meet Them; and Physiology and Practicums. Besides the publications recorded above, Professor WILDER has written many articles on natural history subjects for Harper's Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Galaxy; Our Young Folks, The New York Tribune, etc. He has also written critical reviews of many scientific works for The Nation and for scientific periodicals.
The results of the scientific activity of Associate Professor GAGE, B. S. (Cornell, 1877) are embodied in about fifty papers published in scientific journals and in the proceedings of learned societies; eight articles or parts contributed as collaborator in Foster's Encyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Buck's Reference Hand-book of the Medical Sciences, Johnson's Cyclopedia and the Wilder Quarter-Century Book; and in three books, The Anatomical Technology, as junior author with Professor WILDER, Vertebrate Histology, and The Microscope and Microscopical Methods. The first book has reached a third edition, the second a second and the third a fifth edition.
The instructor in anatomy, microscopy and embryology, Dr. G. S. HOPKINS, Cornell B. S., 1889 D. Sc.1893, has published four scientific papers.
The instructor in physiology, vertebrate zoology and neurology, P. A. FISH, Cornell B. S. 1890, D. Sc. 1894, has published five scientific papers and contributed an article on histological formulć to the supplemental volume of Buck's Reference Hand-book of the Medical Sciences.
The publications of the members of the departmental staff embody the results of original investigation in zoology, physiology and histology, or describe new methods devised in the laboratory. Many of these methods have found wide application elsewhere.
1For the figures and description of the vertical camera and its application to the reproduction of natural history figures, see Science, vol. 111, page 443, and the "Microscope and Microscopical Methods," fifth edition, page 146.
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENTOMOLOGY.
Although it was not till the fifteenth year of the active work of the university (the year1882-83) that a full professorship was assigned to this department, the establishment of a department of entomology was part of the original plan of organization of the university. In the first general announcement of the university there is given a list of seventeen professors that had been elected, and the titles of nine others that were to be elected at an early date. In the latter list the title Professor of Economic Entomology and Lecturer on Insects Injurious to Vegetation appeared.
This long period between the opening of the university and the establishment of a full professorship of entomology was not, however, a period of inactivity in entomological work. A limited amount of instruction in this subject was given each year from the first, and the starting of an entomological collection was begun. Dr. B. G. WILDER, the professor of comparative anatomy and natural history, had given considerable attention to the study of insects, and had made what was considered at that time a large collection. He was able, therefore, to give in his course on zoology a fuller treatment of insects than was usual in courses of this kind. The gift of his collection of insects constituted the beginning of an entomological museum. The increase of this collection by additions made by students began at once. The most important of these additions during the first two years was a collection illustrating the transformations of the larger moths, which was made, by Mr. W. D. SCOTT, who was then a special student in zoology.
At the beginning of the third year of the university, Mr. J. H. COMSTOCK, then a freshman in the course in natural history, was appointed laboratory assistant to Professor WILDER. The very first task that was assigned to the young assistant was the arrangement in systematic order of the collection of insects and other invertebrates that had accumulated during the preceding two years on the shelves of the laboratory. Very soon after this the entire charge of this part of the collection was placed in his hands by Dr. WILDER. Thus the growth of his personal interest in this part of the work of the university began, a part, the development of which has been associated with his life.
Mr. COMSTOCK has been so intimately associated with the entomologyical work of the university that the following bit of personal history is not out of place in the history of the department: While preparing for college, Mr. COMSTOCK became greatly interested in the study of insects, and determined that he would, if possible, devote his life to this study. The statement in the first general announcement of the university that a professor on entomology was soon to be elected, led him to come to Cornell, in order that he might study with this professor. Thus the opportunity to follow his chosen specialty came to him in due time in a very unexpected way. It came much earlier than would have otherwise been possible, but for the policy of the senior professor of zoology of encouraging his assistants, and stimulating their development, by placing large responsibilities upon them.
During the fourth year of the university (1872-73) thirteen students in the courses in agriculture and natural history petitioned the faculty of the university to allow Mr. COMSTOCK to give a course of lectures on insects injurious to vegetation. This petition, having the approval of Professor WILDER, was granted, and a course of lectures extending through the spring term of that year was delivered. This was the first course devoted entirely to entomology that was given in this university.
At the close of this year an arrangement was made by which Mr. COMSTOCK spent the summer in study with Doctor HAGEN at the Museum of Comparative Zoology of Harvard College. This short period of study had an important influence in the development of the department of entomology, which was soon afterward established at Cornell. Not only did Doctor HAGEN give daily lectures to his single student, but the great entomological collections of that museum were thrown open to him for unrestricted use. In this way he was able to gain a knowledge of museum methods, and of systematic entomology, that was of great importance to his future work. The undetermined species in the Cornell collection at this time were taken to Cambridge and classified by comparison with the collections there, and in the museum of the Boston Society of Natural History.
In the fall term of the following year (October, 1872,) a course of twelve lectures on economic entomology was given by Mr. C. V. RILEY, then State Entomologist of Missouri; and in the spring term of the same college year (May 2, 1873,) provision was made for continuous instruction in this subject, by the appointment of Mr. COMSTOCK as instructor in entomology. A separate entomological laboratory was at once established in one of the upper rooms of the tower of McGraw Hall, the room adjoining the upper gallery of the museum; and thus a modest beginning of a distinct department of entomology was made.
Within, a month after the establishment of the department, it received from Mr. H. H. SMITH the gift of his collection of insects, a collection which represented about two years of field work on the part of this unrivaled collector. The specimens were mostly unclassified. But they were immediately placed in the hands of specialists for determination, and soon became available for the use of the department. The collection was especially rich in hymenoptera and diptera; and as the former were determined by Mr. E. CRESSON, and the latter by Baron OSTEN-SACKEN, they became exceedingly valuable.
The growth of the department for a considerable period was necessarily slow. The instructor, being still an undergraduate student, could give only a part of his time to it, and the funds at the disposal of the department did not admit of the purchase of any specimens, and of but few books. But so hearty was the sympathy and encouragement extended to the young instructor by President WHITE, Professor WILDER, and other members of the faculty, that the lack of time, of specimens, and of books, was hardly considered. Another source of great encouragement in those days of small beginnings was the attitude of the students. If any of them appreciated the crudeness of the facilities offered, they did not express it by word or look, but each did his part to make the work as successful as possible.
In the summer of 1875 plans were made for an extension of the department of entomology by transferring to it the work in invertebrate zoology. In anticipation of this change, a leave of absence was granted to instructor COMSTOCK, in order that he might spend a part of the following year in study with Professor VERILL at Yale College. This he did, returning in time to give his lectures on entomology in the spring term.
The proposed extension of the department was made in the fall of 1876 by the promotion of Instructor COMSTOCK to the rank of assistant professor, with the title assistant professor of entomology and invertebrate zoology.
The wording of this title indicates the direction in which it was determined that the growth of the department should proceed. Although instruction was to be offered in the general subject of invertebrate zoology, the department was to remain essentially entomological. This was in accordance with the plan of organization of the university, by which subjects relating to agriculture were to receive especial attention.
In carrying out this plan, however, the constant aim of the instructor has been to give the students thorough training in the science of entomology. It has seemed wiser to enable the students to lay a broad foundation for their entomological studies by giving them a thorough knowledge of the structure and development of insects injurious to agriculture. At the same time, great pains have been taken to present in lectures and field work the applications of the science. This has been largely accomplished by selecting, for purposes of illustration, those species that are of economic importance.
In addition to the desire to strengthen the work of the College of Agriculture there has been another important factor in determining the direction of the growth of the department of entomology. Owing to the difficulty of studying marine animals at any place remote from a sea coast, and to the exceptionally good facilities for the study of insects at this university, it has been felt that the best interests of science would be subserved by concentrating our advanced work on insects, and frankly advising those students that wish to make a special study of marine forms to go to some university situated near the sea. It has seemed better to lead in one specialty than to hold a mediocre place in the whole field. An opportunity is offered the student to lay a broad foundation for zoological studies by lectures covering in a general way the field of invertebrate zoology, and by a study in the laboratory of a wide series of typical forms, illustrating the more important groups of invertebrates. These two courses, taken in connection with similar courses offered by the Department of Physiology and Vertebrate Zoology afford the instruction needed in zoology by students in the general courses, and serve as an introduction to the more advanced work of those who wish to make a special study of zoology. Such students can then continue their study of insects or of vertebrates at this university or can take up the special study of marine forms at some of the seaside laboratories.
The summer of 1878 Assistant Professor COMSTOCK spent in the Southern States, as a special agent of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, making a study of the insects injurious to cotton. The results of these studies formed the basis of an exhaustive report published by the government in 1880.
In the spring of 1879 Mr. COMSTOCK was called to the position of entomologist of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Appreciating the value of the experience to be gained in this position, and at the same time being unwilling to sever permanently his connection with Cornell University, he requested and obtained a leave of absence from the university for two years.
During his absence the work of this department was carried on by Assistant Professor William Stebbins BARNARD. Dr. BARNARD was a graduate of Cornell of the class of 1871 and had taken the degree of Ph. D. at Jena in 1873. He had served as lecturer on Protozoa at the Anderson school at Penikeese in 1874, and had resigned the position of professor of natural science at Oskaloosa College, in order to accept the position at Cornell.
During Dr. BARNARD's administration of the department he made important contributions to our knowledge of the habits of certain insects. The most notable of these was his account of the habits of the pear psylla, which was published in the proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 1879. In this paper he pointed out the serious nature of this pest, which ten years later destroyed many of the pear orchards of this State, and was the subject of an exhaustive investigation, conducted by this department in 1891 and 1892.
Immediately after the return of Mr. COMSTOCK, at the expiration of his leave of absence in 1881, the laboratory was moved from its limited quarters in McGraw Hall to its present home in White Hall. During the year 1881-2, much time was given to the completion of certain investigations begun in Washington but still incomplete. Financial aid was furnished by the government, including the salary of an assistant, Mr. Henry Ward TURNER. The results of these investigations were published, partly in the Annual Report of the U. S. Department of Agriculture for 1881, and partly by the university in the Second Report of the Cornell University Experiment Station (1883).
At the close of the year 1881-2, Mr. COMSTOCK's connection with the government work ceased; and early in the following year he was promoted to a full professorship. This promotion placed the Department of Entomology on a footing co-ordinate with the other departments of the university.
On the completion, at the close of the preceding year, of the investigations for the U. S. Government, Professor COMSTOCK began a task which he had long had in mind, the preparation of a text book of entomology. The need of a suitable text-book had greatly hampered the work of instruction; and it seemed clear that the most important thing to be done for the advancement of the department was the preparation of such a work. As American entomology is still in its infancy, it is impossible to compile a satisfactory text book; its preparation must necessarily be to a great extent original work, based on the study of specimens.
Although the entomological collection had become of considerable size, it was still inadequate for the purpose. Fortunately the financial condition of the university at this time was such that appropriations could be made for the purchase of specimens; and there began a systematic filling up of the more important gaps in the collection, which has been continued to the present time; so that now, with the exception of the great collections of insects at Cambridge, Philadelphia and Washington, ours is one of the most important in the United States.
At the same time that the increase of the entomological collection by purchase began, important additions were made to the illustrative material in other departments of invertebrate zoology. Among these additions was a complete set of the glass models of invertebrates made by Blaschka.
During the growth of the entomological collections, much thought has been given to the methods of arranging and displaying specimens in the museum. This has resulted in the development of a new method of arranging them, which is known as the block system. This method allows the rearrangement of a collection with great facility, and the interpolation of new material at any desired point.
The rapid growth of the collection rendered necessary the employment of help in the laboratory, and in the fall of 1883 Mr. J. M. STEDMAN was appointed laboratory assistant. In 1888 Mr. STEDMAN was succeeded by Mr. A. D. McGILLIVRAY, who still holds this position.
On April 30, 1888, the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station was established under the provisions of a national law known as the Hatch Act. At the organization of this station it was decided to give considerable attention to entomological investigations, and there resulted in consequence a considerable enlargement of the scope of the work of the entomological department of the university.
In order that the new duties of the department might be carried on with the greatest facility, a building especially designed for the purpose of experimental entomology was planned and erected. This building, the first of its kind, was named the Insectary, and has served as a model for similar buildings at several of the experiment stations in other States; and at the Department of Agriculture in Washington.
The new duties connected with the establishment of the experimental work at the Insectary necessitated an interruption in the preparation of the text book of entomology, upon which Professor COMSTOCK had been engaged for six years. This work was about one-half written, and as its completion seemed indefinitely postponed by these new duties, that part which was ready for the printer was published under the title, An Introduction to Entomology, Part First.
The more striking features of this text book are the use of analytical keys, similar to those used in botany, by which a student can readily determine to what family any insect of which he has a specimen be longs, and a large number of original wood engravings of insects, engraved by Mrs. COMSTOCK.
Work on the concluding part of this text book was not entirely suspended, but for about three years, the greater part of the time that could be devoted to research was absorbed by the new duties at the Insectary. At the end of this period, the assistant entomologist, Mr. M. V. SLINGERLAND, had acquired so much skill in investigations in applied entomology, that it was no longer necessary for Professor COMSTOCK to do more than to exercise a general supervision of the work at the Insectary, and he was able to devote the greater part of his time, not required for teaching, to work on the text book.
The carrying out of the plan upon which the Introduction to Entomology is based has proved a much greater undertaking than was expected. And as the need of a completed text book is very pressing, work on the Introduction to Entomology was suspended in the spring of 1891, and a more elementary work, entitled First Lessons in the Study of Insects, has been prepared. This is now in press and as soon as it is published, work on the Introduction to Entomology will be resumed.
The present is a period of great activity and rapid growth in this department. The laboratory is well filled with students, many of whom are graduate students conducting original investigations. Professor COMSTOCK has just finished a revision of the order lepidoptera on the lines indicated in his essay on Evolution and Taxonomy, published in the Wilder Quarter Century Book. Mr. McGILLIVRAY is publishing a series of papers on the clarification of the thysanura, and Mr. SLINGERLAND is publishing results of the highest practical importance in the bulletins of the experiment station.
History of Cornell - Chapter XVI
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