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Thomas Messinger Drown

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Thomas Messinger Drown (1842-1904)

1904 Obituary [1]

THOMAS MESSINGER DROWN, President of Lehigh University, died on November 16, 1904, at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, after having undergone a surgical operation. He was born on March 19, 1842, and was educated at the Philadelphia Central High School, where he graduated in 1859. He then took up the study of medicine, and three years later received the degree of M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After a brief period of practice as a physician he turned to chemistry as his life work.

Three years were spent in Germany in the study of chemistry and metallurgy, partly at the School of Mines at Freiberg and partly under Professor Bunsen at Heidelberg. He subsequently established himself as an analytical chemist at Philadelphia, and removed in 1874 to Easton, Pennsylvania, to become Professor of Chemistry at Lafayette College, where he remained for seven years.

In 1873 he was elected Secretary of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, and retained that position by unanimous re-election until he resigned it in 1883. When he resigned his chair at Lafayette it was to enter upon private practice as a chemist. This work went on for five years, and in 1887 he became Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whence he proceeded to Lehigh University in 1895.

He was appointed in 1890 a member of an international committee to devise standard methods for the chemical analysis of iron and steel, and he personally made analyses to aid the discussion on this subject. In recognition of these labours, and of his services to the American Institute of Mining Engineers, he was elected in 1884 one of its honorary members, and in February 1897 he was made its President. The degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by Columbia University in June 1895.

He was elected an honorary member of the Berzelius Society of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1886.

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