Josiah WHITNEY

Family tree of Josiah WHITNEY

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AmericanBorn Josiah Dwight WHITNEY

American geologist, professor of geology at Harvard University, and chief of the California Geological Survey

Born on November 23, 1819 in Northampton, Massachusetts , United States

Died on August 15, 1896 in Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire , United States

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Whitney was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the oldest of 12 children. His father was Josiah Dwight Whitney (1786–1869) of the New England Dwight family. His mother was Sarah Williston (1800–1833). He was the brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney (1827–1894). He was educated at a series of schools in Northampton, Plainfield, Round Hill, New Haven and Andover. In 1836, he entered Yale University where he studied chemistry, mineralogy and astronomy. After graduation in 1839, he continued to study chemistry in Philadelphia, and in 1840 he joined a geologic survey of New Hampshire as an unpaid assistant to Charles T. Jackson.



In 1841, he was preparing to enter Harvard Law School, when he happened to hear a lecture on geology by Charles Lyell. He decided to change career plans and sailed to Europe in 1842 to continue his studies in science. For the next five years he traveled through Europe and studied chemistry and geology in France and Germany.

...   Whitney was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the oldest of 12 children. His father was Josiah Dwight Whitney (1786–1869) of the New England Dwight family. His mother was Sarah Williston (1800–1833). He was the brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney (1827–1894). He was educated at a series of schools in Northampton, Plainfield, Round Hill, New Haven and Andover. In 1836, he entered Yale University where he studied chemistry, mineralogy and astronomy. After graduation in 1839, he continued to study chemistry in Philadelphia, and in 1840 he joined a geologic survey of New Hampshire as an unpaid assistant to Charles T. Jackson.



In 1841, he was preparing to enter Harvard Law School, when he happened to hear a lecture on geology by Charles Lyell. He decided to change career plans and sailed to Europe in 1842 to continue his studies in science. For the next five years he traveled through Europe and studied chemistry and geology in France and Germany.



When Whitney returned home in 1847, he and John Wells Foster were hired to assist Charles T. Jackson in making a federal survey, of the Lake Superior land district of northern Michigan, which was about to become a major copper and iron mining region. When Jackson was dismissed from the survey, Foster and Whitney completed it in 1850 and the final report was published under their names. Building on this experience, Whitney became a mining consultant, and eventually wrote the book, Metallic Wealth of the United States (1854). It was considered to be the standard reference for the next 15 years. During the 1850s, Whitney participated in geological surveys of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.



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Geographical origins

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