Eaton, Amos, 1776-1842

Alternative names
Birth 1776-05-17
Death 1842-05-10

Biographical notes:

Parker Cleaveland worked as a mineralogist and geologist.

From the guide to the Parker Cleaveland papers, [ca. 1806]-1844, Circa 1806-1844, (American Philosophical Society)

Born in Chatham, New York, Amos Eaton graduated from Williams College in 1799 and then studied law in New York City. He was admitted to the state bar in 1802. After imprisonment from 1811 to 1815, Eaton refocused his attention on science and botany. His pragmatic concern was the "application of science to the common purposes of life." From 1818 to 1824, Eaton was an itinerant lecturer at schools in New England and New York. In 1824 he helped found the Rensselaer Institute in Albany, where he remained as senior professor for the rest of his life.

From the description of Amos Eaton, John Batchelder, and Stephen Williams lectures on medical jurisprudence, 1821-1824. (National Library of Medicine). WorldCat record id: 14324658

From the guide to the Amos Eaton, John Batchelder, and Stephen Williams lectures on medical jurisprudence, 1821-1824, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Amos Eaton joined the New York Bar in 1802 and subsequently established himself as a lawyer and land agent in Catskill, New York. In 1810 Eaton taught what is considered to be the first popular course in botany in the United States. Shortly afterward, Eaton was imprisoned for forgery, and then pardoned in 1815. He relocated to New Haven, Connecticut and studied science under Benjamin Silliman at Yale. In 1817 Eaton began teaching natural sciences at Williams College, where he continued to give public courses as an itinerant lecturer. In the 1820s Stephen Van Rensselaer financed a series of geological surveys of New York State, furthering Eaton's reputation in both field work and scholarship. When Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School in 1824, he appointed Eaton senior professor. At Rensselaer, Eaton became a leader in scientific education by combining his unique teaching methods of laboratory experimentation and field observation. He was also an advocate of advanced education for women, although he was unsuccessful in his efforts to integrate women into the collegiate program. Eaton remained at Rensselaer until his death in 1842.

From the description of Papers, 1824-1841. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). WorldCat record id: 43358248

Botanist and senior professor of the Rensselaer Institute (later Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

From the description of Papers, 1798-1846. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122578289

Scientist and educator, of Troy, N.Y.

From the description of Letter written by Amos Eaton to Messrs. Menely & Outhout, 1836 Sept. 3. (New London County Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 163569212

Botanist, geologist and professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

From the description of Papers, 1827-1831. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 35060020


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  • New York (State)--West Troy (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
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  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Rensselaer Institute (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)