Webster, John White, 1793-1850

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1793
Death 1850

Biographical notes:

Harvard professor; murderer of Dr. Parkman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Cambridge, to the Rev. John Pierpont, 1824 May 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270586850

Murderer of Dr. George Parkman.

From the description of Letter : to William Hickling Prescott, 1850 Aug. 29. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 41415981

Professor of chemistry at Harvard University.

From the description of Letter, 1845, Sept. 24 : Cambridge, MA. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 31822648

Webster graduated from Harvard in 1811 and taught chemistry and mineralogy at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of John White Webster, 1840-1849 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122611195

Dr. John White Webster (1793-1850) graduated from Harvard in 1811 and was appointed Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy at the college. He was the author of several technical books and a member of many learned societies. In 1850 he was tried, convicted, and executed for the grisly murder of Dr. George Parkman (1790-1849), physician and notable property owner in Boston, a man to whom Webster was heavily indebted and whom he had attempted to defraud.

From the description of Papers, 1824-1850. (American Antiquarian Society). WorldCat record id: 225194037

John White Webster (1793-1850), a physician and chemist in Boston, Massachusetts, served as Lecturer on Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology at Harvard from 1824 to 1826; Adjunct Professor of Chemistry from 1826 to 1827; and Erving Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy from 1827 to 1850. After receiving his Doctor of Medicine from Harvard in 1815, Webster completed his medical studies in London. Webster pursued a medical practice in Boston until his appointment as Lecturer on Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology in 1824, confining his instruction to the Harvard Medical School. Like his predecessors, Webster used experiments to demonstrate the principles of chemistry and recent scientific discoveries.

Webster served as an associate editor of the Boston Journal of Philosophy of Arts (1823-1826) and edited two well-known foreign works for use in the United States, Elements of Chemistry (1827) by Andrew Fyfe (1792-1861) and Animal Chemistry or Organic Chemistry by Justus Liebig (1803-1873). In 1826, Webster published a textbook designed for students studying chemistry at Harvard, A Manual of Chemistry. This chemistry book presented the latest advances in chemistry and discussed general chemical principals, electronegative substances, electropositive substances, metals and their combination with other substances, mineral analysis, and vegetable and animal substances.

In March 1850, Webster was arrested for the murder of Dr. George Parkman (1791-1849), a well-known Boston physician. He was found guilty and was hanged on August 30, 1850.

The chair of Chemistry was endowed as the Erving Professorship of Chemistry and Materia Medica in 1791, under the will of William Erving (A.B. 1753), and was known by this title until 1816. From 1816 to 1827, the professorship was the known as the Erving Professorship of Chemistry. From 1827 to 1894, it was entitled the Erving Professorship of Chemistry and Mineralogy. In 1894, "Mineralogy" was removed from the title and the professorship was known as the Erving Professorship of Chemistry.

The previous holders of the Erving Professorship of Chemistry were Aaron Dexter (1791-1816) and John Gorham (1816-1827).

From the guide to the Records of the Erving Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy kept by John White Webster, 1824-1835 and undated., (Harvard University Archives)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6nk3qk1
Ark ID:
w6nk3qk1
SNAC ID:
13420991

Subjects:

  • Lawyers
  • Henry, Joseph, Personality, Etc
  • Capital punishment
  • Recommendations For Positions
  • Scientific publications
  • Trials (murder)
  • Mineralogists
  • Executions and executioners
  • Depositions
  • Harvard
  • Philadelphia
  • Applied Science, General
  • Murder
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Chemistry
  • Mineralogy
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Minerals--Collection and preservation

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Massachusetts--Boston (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Boston (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Boston (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Boston (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)