Keating, William Hypolitus, 1799-1840

Alternative names
Birth 1799-08-11
Death 1840-05-17

Biographical notes:

Charles Lucian Bonaparte was a naturalist and ornithologist.

From the guide to the Correspondence, 1824-1855, from American scientists, 1824-1855, (American Philosophical Society)

Keating was professor of mineralogy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, 1822-1828. He supervised a silver mine at Temascalapa, Mexico for 4 years, returned and became a member of the Pennsylvania legislature in 1832. Chemicals and equipment recorded in this stock book were originally Keating's.

R. M. Patterson, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, agreed to assume responsibility for the chemical stock during Keating's absence in Mexico.

A. D. Bache became professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University Pennsylvania in 1828, after Keating resigned and Patterson left for the University of Virginia. In a note dated Dec. 1828, Bache announces the purchase of the stock from Keating, and that the stock is now the possession of the University.

From the description of Laboratory stock book, 1825-1836. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 122318040

The mineralogist and chemist William Hypolitus Keating was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on August 11, 1799. The son of Baron John Keating, an Irishman by ancestry and former colonel in the French Army, William was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (AB, 1816) and studied mining in both France and Switzerland before joining the faculty at his alma mater in 1822. As the newly minted Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy (1822-1828), he rapidly immersed himself in the city's vibrant community of mineralogists and chemists.

A capable field geologist, Keating accompanied Stephen Harriman Long's second expedition in 1823 as official geologist and spent three years in mineralogical exploration in Mexico, beginning in 1827. His work with Long represented one of the first topographic and mineralogical surveys of the Great Lakes, for which he was given responsibility for compiling and publishing the results as Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. Peter's River : Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods, &c., &c. Performed in the year 1823 (Philadelphia, 1824). Locally, he was as leading member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia as well as one of the motive forces behind the establishment of the Franklin Institute in 1824. He was also an active member of the American Philosophical Society, serving both as Secretary (1823-1827, 1832) and Councillor (1831, 1836-1840), as well as a member of several committees.

In addition to his scientific interests, Keating studied law and was engaged in a number of business enterprises. He died in London, England, on March 17, 1840, while negotiating a mortgage loan for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Co., of which he had been manager from 1835 to 1838.

From the guide to the William H. Keating Notebooks, 1801-1839, (American Philosophical Society)


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  • Finance, Personal
  • Chemical laboratories--19th century
  • Zoology
  • Surveying and Maps
  • Birds--Research
  • Zoological specimens
  • Surveys--Pennsylvania
  • Land and Speculation
  • Ornithology


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  • Potter County (Pa.) (as recorded)