Rogers, William Barton, 1804-1882

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1804-12-07
Death 1882-05-30

Biographical notes:

Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Virginia from 1835-1853. In the years following his departure, he founded and was president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston.

From the description of Papers of William Barton Rogers [manuscript], 1843 December 19. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647837261

Shields was a student from Cumberland County, Va.; afterwards a captain and surgeon, C.S.A., then physician and farmer in Union County, Ohio.

From the description of William B. Rogers letter to Mrs. P. C. Shields [manuscript], 1844 Nov 1. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 180928460

  • 1846 March 13: William B. Rogers in a letter to his brother outlines a "Plan for a Polytechnic School in Boston."
  • 1859 March 30: A memorial is written by Dr. Samuel Kneeland petitioning the 1859 Massachusetts legislature for a grant of land for a Conservatory of Art and Science. Issued as House document no. 260, it is not approved.
  • 1859 summer: William B. Rogers on behalf of a committee representing various associations prepares a memorial for the 1860 Massachusetts legislature setting forth a plan for an Institute of Technology. It is issued as House document no. 13, but is not approved.
  • 1860 summer: William B. Rogers is asked again to prepare a plan, resulting in the document Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology. Objects and Plan is accepted by the Committee of Associated Institutions, read at a meeting of the Boston Board of Trade, and submitted to the Massachusetts legislature.
  • 1861 January 7: Circular letter announces a meeting for the purpose of organizing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 1861 January 11: Per circular letter and led by William Barton Rogers, a meeting of persons interested in establishing an Institute of Technology is held in Boston. An "Act of Association" is adopted.
  • 1861 March 19: Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Education of the Massachusetts legislature on the Memorial of the Associated Institutions is issued as House document 171. William B. Rogers prepared the report.
  • 1861 April 10: The Massachusetts legislature passes and Governor John Andrew signs "An Act to Incorporate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" (Acts 1861, chapter 183).
  • 1861 April 12: Civil War begins.
  • 1861: An Account of the Proceedings Preliminary to the Organization of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is published.
  • 1862 April 8: An initial meeting is held to accept the charter, adopt bylaws, and choose officers to serve until the Government of the Institute is formally elected.
  • 1862 December 17: First public meeting of the Society of Arts, one of three branches of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposed in the charter
  • 1864 May 30: Scope and Plan of the School of Industrial Science of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is adopted by the Corporation as the foundation of the Institute's educational philosophy, and the document is published.
  • 1862 May 6: The Government (later known as the Corporation) of MIT is formally elected at the first Annual Meeting of the 54 incorporators. William Barton Rogers is elected president.
  • 1865 February 20: First course of instruction begins with fifteen students. Classes are held at the Mercantile Building, Summer Street, Boston.
  • 1868: First class of students graduates.
  • 1802 February 11: James Blythe Rogers (brother) is born.
  • 1804 December 7: William Barton Rogers is born.
  • 1808 August 1: Henry Darwin Rogers (brother) is born.
  • 1812: The Rogers family moves to Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1813 March 29: Robert Empie Rogers (brother) is born.
  • 1819: Patrick Kerr Rogers (father) is appointed professor of natural history and chemistry at the College of William and Mary, and the family moves to Williamsburg.
  • 1819 - 1824 : William Barton Rogers attends the College of William and Mary. It is unclear whether he ever actually graduated from the college.
  • 1820: Hannah Blythe Rogers (mother) dies.
  • 1822: James Blythe Rogers receives the MD degree from the University of Maryland and begins practicing medicine in Pennsylvania.
  • 1825: William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers move to Baltimore.
  • 1826: William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers open a school in Windsor, Maryland. Their brother Robert is among their pupils.
  • 1827: James Blythe Rogers becomes professor of chemistry at Washington Medical College, Baltimore.
  • 1827: William Barton Rogers gives a course of lectures at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore.
  • 1828: Patrick Kerr Rogers dies. William Barton Rogers is chosen to fill his father's position as professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the College of William and Mary.
  • 1830: James Blythe Rogers marries Rachel Smith of Baltimore.
  • 1830: William Barton Rogers assumes teaching duties in mathematics in addition to his other duties at the College of William and Mary.
  • 1830: Henry Darwin Rogers becomes professor of chemistry and natural philosophy at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. While at Dickinson, he also edits a periodical entitled "The Messenger of Useful Knowledge."
  • 1832 - 1833 : Henry Darwin Rogers spends the winter in London, where he becomes acquainted with members of the Geological Society of London and other scientists. His impressions of the development of science in Europe are communicated in letters to his brothers.
  • 1833: William Barton Rogers is elected a correspondent of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
  • 1833 December 17: William Barton Rogers II is born (nephew of William Barton Rogers, son of James Blythe Rogers).
  • circa 1833 - 1835 : Henry Darwin Rogers lectures on geology for the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.
  • 1834: William Barton Rogers writes his first important scientific publications, the results of his observations of Virginia's greensand and marl.
  • 1835: William Barton Rogers is chosen as a member of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia.
  • 1835: William Barton Rogers is elected a member of the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society of Richmond.
  • 1835: William Barton Rogers is appointed to the chair of natural philosophy at the University of Virginia and moves to Charlottesville. Most summers are spent in fieldwork for the geological surveys.
  • 1835 - 1839 : James Blythe Rogers is professor of chemistry in the Medical Department of the University of Cincinnati.
  • 1835 - 1840 : Henry Darwin Rogers leads the New Jersey Geological Survey and publishes a report and a map of the state.
  • 1835 - 1846 : Henry Darwin Rogers is professor of geology and mineralogy at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1835 - 1848 : William Barton Rogers serves as state geologist of Virginia. He is assisted in fieldwork by his brothers.
  • 1836: Robert Empie Rogers graduates from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1836 - 1856 : Henry Darwin Rogers is head of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey.
  • 1840: William Barton Rogers, Henry Darwin Rogers, and Robert Empie Rogers participate in founding the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists, the parent organization of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • 1840: James Blythe Rogers moves to Philadelphia, where he assists William Barton Rogers in field and lab work and lectures on medicine.
  • 1841: James Blythe Rogers is appointed professor of chemistry at the Medical Institute of Philadelphia.
  • 1842: William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers present a paper on their theory of the structure of the Appalachian Mountain chain before the third annual meeting of the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists in Boston.
  • 1842: William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers are elected honorary members of the Boston Society of Natural History.
  • 1842: Robert Empie Rogers becomes professor of applied chemistry and materia medica at the University of Virginia.
  • 1843: Robert Empie Rogers marries Fanny Montgomery.
  • 1844: William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers are elected foreign members of the Geological Society of London.
  • 1844: William Barton Rogers is elected a member of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, Copenhagen.
  • 1844 - 1845 : William Barton Rogers serves as chairman of the faculty of the University of Virginia.
  • 1844 - 1847 : James Blythe Rogers is professor of chemistry at the Franklin Institute.
  • 1845: William Barton Rogers is elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1846: In response to Henry Darwin Rogers's request, William Barton Rogers writes A Plan for a Polytechnic School in Boston, a plan the brothers hoped would be funded by the Lowell Institute. The terms of the Lowell will did not allow the plan to be funded.
  • 1846: Robert Empie Rogers publishes a textbook on chemistry.
  • 1847: James Blythe Rogers becomes professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1848: William Barton Rogers receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Hampden-Sidney College in Virginia.
  • 1849: James Rogers, uncle of the Rogers brothers, dies.
  • 1849: William Barton Rogers marries Emma Savage of Boston, and the couple take a honeymoon trip to England, Scotland, and Switzerland, then return to Charlottesville in October.
  • 1850: William Barton Rogers II (nephew) enters the University of Virginia.
  • 1852: James Blythe Rogers dies in Philadelphia. His position as professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania is filled by Robert Empie Rogers. William Barton Rogers II returns to Philadelphia; he never resumes his study at the University of Virginia
  • 1852 - 1857? : William Barton Rogers II (nephew) works as an assistant on the Geological Survey of Pennsylvania.
  • 1853: William Barton Rogers resigns his professorship at the University of Virginia and moves to Boston, where he delivers several courses of public lectures.
  • 1854: Henry Darwin Rogers marries Eliza Lincoln, a half-sister of Emma Savage Rogers.
  • 1856: Robert Empie Rogers is elected dean of the medical faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1857: Henry Darwin Rogers is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Dublin.
  • 1857: William Barton Rogers travels to Great Britain for his health and attends a meeting of the British Association in Dublin.
  • 1857: Henry Darwin Rogers becomes Regius Professor of Natural History at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1859: William Barton Rogers receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College of William and Mary.
  • 1861: William Barton Rogers is appointed state inspector of gas meters and gas for the state of Massachusetts.
  • 1861 April 10: The "Act to Incorporate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" is passed by the legislature and approved by Governor Andrew.
  • 1862 May 6: At the first Annual Meeting of the Government of the Institute, William Barton Rogers is elected president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 1862 December: William Barton Rogers II is appointed treasurer of the Saving Fund Society of Philadelphia.
  • 1862 - 1863 : Robert Empie Rogers serves as acting assistant surgeon at West Philadelphia Military Hospital.
  • 1863: William Barton Rogers attends the organizational meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. Although he was a charter member of the Academy, he was dropped for lack of attendance and later reinstated.
  • 1863 - 1869 : William Barton Rogers serves as corresponding secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1864: Robert Empie Rogers and others found the Humboldt Oil Company, which fails in 1873.
  • 1864: William Barton Rogers resigns his office as state inspector of gas meters and gas.
  • 1864 - 1866 : Henry Darwin Rogers serves as president of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow.
  • 1865: William Barton Rogers is elected first president of the newly-organized American Social Science Association.
  • 1866: Robert Empie Rogers marries Delia Saunders.
  • 1866: Henry Darwin Rogers dies in Scotland.
  • 1866: Harvard University confers an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on William Barton Rogers.
  • 1867: William Barton Rogers is appointed commissioner to represent Massachusetts at the Universal Exposition at Paris.
  • 1868: Due to ill health, William Barton Rogers retires from teaching physics at MIT. Professor John Daniel Runkle is appointed as acting president to serve until William Barton Rogers is well enough to resume his administrative duties.
  • 1869: The Rogers Laboratory of Physics is established by E. C. Pickering and named in honor of William Barton Rogers.
  • 1870: The first proposals of a union of MIT and Harvard are made. William Barton Rogers was consistently opposed to the proposed union.
  • 1870 May 17: William Barton Rogers resigns the presidency of MIT because of his poor health.
  • 1870 September: William Barton Rogers II becomes a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
  • 1870 October 3: John D. Runkle becomes second president of MIT
  • 1872 - 1875 : Robert Empie Rogers does research aimed at improving metal refining techniques in the US Mint.
  • 1873: James Savage, William Barton Rogers's father-in-law, dies.
  • 1875 - 1879 : Robert Empie Rogers serves as president of the Franklin Institute.
  • 1876: William Barton Rogers is elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • 1877: Robert Empie Rogers becomes professor of medical chemistry and toxicology at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.
  • 1878 June 12: John D. Runkle resigns as MIT president
  • 1878 February: William Barton Rogers II is appointed vice president of the Saving Fund of Philadelphia.
  • 1878 - 1887 : William Barton Rogers II is a member of the Board of Directors of the Mercantile Library Company.
  • 1879 - 1882 : William Barton Rogers serves as president of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • 1879 December 10: William Barton Rogers begins a second term as MIT president
  • 1880: The American Association for the Advancement of Science meets in Boston, and William Barton Rogers serves as host chairman.
  • 1880: William Barton Rogers II is chosen a member of the American Philosophical Society.
  • 1881 May: Francis Amasa Walker is formally elected to succeed William Barton Rogers as president of MIT.
  • 1881 November 10: Francis A. Walker takes office as president of MIT.
  • 1882 May 30: William Barton Rogers dies in Boston.
  • 1882 October: William Barton Rogers II is elected one of the Board of Managers of the Saving Fund Society of Philadelphia.
  • 1883: Robert Empie Rogers receives an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
  • 1883: The original building of the Institute is renamed the Rogers Building in honor of William Barton Rogers.
  • 1883: The highest mountain in Virginia is named Mt. Rogers in honor of William Barton Rogers.
  • 1884: Robert Empie Rogers dies.
  • 1887: William Barton Rogers II becomes a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  • 1893 January: William Barton Rogers II is elected one of the Board of Trustees of the Building Fund of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and secretary of the Board.
  • 1893 March 15: William Barton Rogers II dies.
  • 1896: Life and Letters of William Barton Rogers, edited by Emma Savage Rogers with the assistance of William Thompson Sedgwick, is published.
  • 1911: Emma Savage Rogers dies.

William Barton Rogers was one of four sons of Patrick Kerr Rogers and Hannah Blythe Rogers. The eldest of his brothers, James Blythe Rogers, was trained as a physician, but spent most of his life as a professor of chemistry. Henry Darwin Rogers made his primary scientific contributions in the field of geology, and the youngest brother, Robert Empie Rogers, was a professor of chemistry and physician. Throughout their lives, the four brothers worked in close conjunction in their scientific endeavors, with the result that a description of one brother’s achievements is incomplete without some account of the others’ activities.

Best known as founder and first president of MIT, William Barton Rogers began his career as professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the College of William and Mary and later taught natural philosophy at the University of Virginia. He also served as state geologist of Virginia and led the first Geological Survey of the state. At about the same time, Henry Darwin Rogers was state geologist of New Jersey and state geologist of Pennsylvania. Although Willam Rogers taught many facets of natural philosophy and chemistry, he made significant contributions in geology, and his articles were often co-authored by his brother Henry. In 1849, William Rogers married Emma Savage of Boston, and in 1853 the couple moved to Boston. Supported by the scientific community of Boston, Rogers brought to life his conception of a dual theoretical and technical scientific education, and largely through his efforts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was incorporated in 1861. William Barton Rogers served as President of MIT from the first meeting of the incorporators in 1862 until 1870, then served a second term as president from 1879 until 1881. He died in 1882 and is buried in the James Savage plot in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The youngest of the Rogers family members represented in this collection of papers is William Barton Rogers II, who was a son of James Blythe Rogers and was named in honor of his uncle. William B. Rogers II, was exposed early to the scientific activities of his father and uncles, who encouraged him to seek a career in science. Although he maintained an amateur interest in science, William B. Rogers II, turned to a career in banking and served the Western Savings Fund Society of Philadelphia for thirty years.

From the guide to the William Barton Rogers papers, Bulk, 1834-1882, 1804-1950, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6d2211v
Ark ID:
w6d2211v
SNAC ID:
6749243

Subjects:

  • Electricity
  • Surveys And Explorations, General
  • Harvard
  • Civil war
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • National Institute
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • District of columbia
  • Geologists--United States--Biography
  • Smithsonian Exchange
  • Ethnology Archaeology Anthropology
  • Mathematics
  • Inventors
  • Princeton (College Of New Jersey)
  • Columbia
  • Optics
  • Electric Motors, Generators, Dynamos
  • priorities
  • Smithsonian Board Of Regents
  • Patent Office
  • Smithsonian Weather Service
  • Exposition
  • Hospitals
  • Education, Higher--Massachusetts--Cambridge
  • Acoustics
  • Scientific organizations
  • Smithsonian Building
  • Franklin Institute
  • Meteorology
  • Astronomy
  • Science--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States--History
  • Science In America
  • Engineering--Study and teaching--United States--History
  • College presidents--Massachusetts--Biography
  • Lectures, Popular
  • Geology
  • Induction
  • Education
  • Scientists--United States--Biography
  • Smithsonian Publications
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Coasts--Surveys
  • Scientific publications
  • American Assoc. For The Advancement Of Science (+ Aagn Etc.)
  • Education, Higher--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Presidents
  • Recommendations For Positions
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology--History

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Charlottesville (Va.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)