Brush, George Jarvis, 1831-1912

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George Jarvis Brush (1831-1912): 1852-1853 taught chemistry at the University of Virginia and did mineralogical experiments; 1855 appointed professor of metallurgy at Yale University Sheffield Scientific School, and in 1864 this position was expanded to include mineralogy; became president of Sheffield Scientific School in 1872, and continued until 1898; served as trustee, and other positions on the Board of the school until 1912; author of books and articles.

Louis Valentine Pirsson (1860-1919): 1892 began teaching mineralogy and lithology at Yale; also held administrative posts in Sheffield Scientific School and was the author and editor of various books, articles, and journals.

From the description of George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960 (inclusive), 1834-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702204780

George Jarvis Brush (1831-1912): 1852-1853 taught chemistry at the University of Virginia and did mineralogical experiments; 1855 appointed professor of metallurgy at Yale University Sheffield Scientific School, and in 1864 this position was expanded to include mineralogy; became president of Sheffield Scientific School in 1872, and continued until 1898; served as trustee, and other positions on the Board of the school until 1912; author of books and articles.

Louis Valentine Pirsson (1860-1919): 1892 began teaching mineralogy and lithology at Yale; also held administrative posts in Sheffield Scientific School and was the author and editor of various books, articles, and journals.

From the description of George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960 (inclusive), 1834-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122562576

George Jarvis Brush (1831-1912): 1852-1853 taught chemistry at the University of Virginia and did mineralogical experiments; 1855 appointed professor of metallurgy at Yale Univesity Sheffield Scientific School, and in 1864 this position was expanded to include mineralogy; became president of Sheffield Scientific School in 1872, and continued until 1898; served as trustee, and other positions on the Board of the school until 1912; author of books and articles.

George Jarvis Brush, mineralogist and head of Yale's Sheffield Scientific School, was born on December 15, 1831, the son of Jarvis and Sarah Brush, in Brooklyn, New York. In 1835, the Brush family moved to Danbury, Connecticut, where they resided for six years, only to return to Brooklyn in 1841.

When Brush was fifteen, he attended a private school in West Cornwall, Connecticut headed by Theodore S. Gold. Although he only attended the school for six months, Gold aroused his interest in natural science. After leaving school, Brush was employed by a New York mercantile house where he worked for two years until a serious illness in 1848 prompted him to leave business and consider farming for a career. In order to prepare himself for this new career, Brush entered Yale College in 1848 enrolling in the School of Applied Chemistry. He attended lectures in agricultural and practical chemistry given by John Pitkin Norton and Benjamin Silliman, Jr. Two years later he became an assistant to Benjamin Silliman, Jr., who was teaching in the medical department of Louisville University, a position Brush held until 1852. As a result of his prolonged absence from New Haven, Brush was required to take special examinations. Nevertheless he graduated with the first class of the new Yale Scientific School, receiving a Ph.D. in 1852. Later, under Brush's guidance and leadership, this department became the Sheffield Scientific School.

After graduation, Brush spent a year (1852-1853) at the University of Virginia as an assistant in chemistry. It was here that Brush became associated with the chemist and mineralogist, John Lawrence Smith. Together they worked on a series of mineralogical experiments, the results of which were published in the American Journal of Science . Brush spent the summer of 1853 as an assistant in charge of the department of mineralogy at the Crystal Palace of the International Exposition in New York, but in the fall he sailed for Germany where he continued his studies under Liebig, von Kobell, and Pettenkoffer, and also studied at the mining school at Freiberg, Saxony.

In 1855, Brush was appointed professor of metallurgy at the Sheffield Scientific School. To prepare himself for this position, he studied during the year of 1856 at the Royal School of Mines in London and visited mines and smelting works in Great Britain and on the continent. The following year he assumed his duties at Yale. In 1864 his position was expanded to include mineralogy and by 1871 Brush was devoting himself exclusively to mineralogy, his major field of interest.

Brush's career as a scientist was closely related to the development of the Sheffield Scientific School, of which he became president in 1872. In fact, much of his time was devoted to the administration of the school thus forcing him to gradually abandon his teaching duties. By the end of the 1870's, he had given up laboratory instruction; by 1884, lectures as well. He continued as the director of the Sheffield Scientific School until 1898. Thereafter, he served variously as secretary, treasurer and president of the Board of Trustees of the school until his death on February 6, 1912.

Although Brush's scientific work was ultimately restricted by his administrative duties, he nevertheless made several important contributions to the study of mineralogy. His studies with J. Lawrence Smith have already been mentioned. His Manual of Determinative Mineralogy, published in 1874, was a clear and concise summary of blowpipe methods and principles and included determinative tables adapted from those of von Kobell. The book went through several editions. In addition, Brush left to the Sheffield Scientific School an extremely complete and well-catalogued collection of mineral specimens numbering some 15,000 items.

Brush married Harriet Silliman Trumbull in 1864. They had three daughters: Sarah Jarvis, Bertha De Forest, and Eliza Trumbull. His wife died in 1910, and Brush two years later.

LOUIS VALENTINE PIRSSON

Louis Valentine Pirsson, geologist and Yale professor, was born November 3, 1860 to Francis Morris and Louisa (Butt) Pirsson. He saw little of his natural parents for his mother died when he was four and his father was frequently away. At the age of nine, Pirsson became the ward of Thomas Lord of New York, who placed him with the family of the Reverend William J. Blain on a farm near Amsterdam, New York. Young Pirsson received his early education from Blain and displayed an interest in natural history. When he was sixteen, he went to the Amenia Academy in Dutchess County, New York, and in 1879 he entered the Sheffield Scientific School from which he graduated with honors in 1882.

In 1889, through the help of George Jarvis Brush, Pirsson became a field assistant of the United States Geological Survey party under Arnold Hague then studying Yellowstone Park. This experience stimulated his interest in igneous geology, a subject he further studied in Heidelberg and in Paris.

In 1892 Brush invited Pirsson to teach mineralogy and lithology at Yale and, the following year, he gave the first graduate course in petrology at Yale. Pirsson became an assistant professor in 1894 and professor of physical geology in 1897. In addition, he held many administrative positions in the Sheffield Scientific School, was an associate editor of the American Journal of Science from 1899 until his death in 1919, and was the author of many works on geology, including Rocks and Rock Minerals (1908) and Textbook of Geology (1915).

Pirsson married Brush's oldest daughter, Eliza Trumbull Brush, in 1902.

From the guide to the George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960, 1834-1939, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Moore, Gideon Emmet. Notes on Washoe metallurgy : Virginia City (Washoe), Nevada / by Gideon Emmet Moore, 1867. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, 1838-1915. Thomas Raynesford Lounsbury papers, 1829-1915 (inclusive), 1856-1915 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Brush, George Jarvis, 1831-1912. George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960 (inclusive), 1834-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn William B. Provine collection of evolutionary biology reprints, 20th century. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Yale University. Dept. of Geology and Geophysics. Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, records, 1789-1957 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn J.P. Lesley Papers, 1826-1898 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Marsh, Othniel Charles, 1831-1899. Othniel Charles Marsh papers, 1817-1899 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Clark, Wilson H. Record books, 1865-1868. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Yale University Library, Manuscripts & Archives). Brush Family Papers.
referencedIn National Academy Of Sciences, Archives. Rg 192: Commissary General Of Subsistence.
creatorOf Brush, George Jarvis, 1831-1912. Letter, 1884. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 26: Office Of The Secretary, Incoming Corres..
referencedIn American Philosophical Society. John Fries Frazer Papers.
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
referencedIn Yale University Library, Manuscripts & Archives). W. D. Whitney Collection.
referencedIn Gilman, Daniel Coit, 1831-1908. Daniel Coit Gilman papers, 1845-1910 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Daniel Coit Gilman papers, 1845-1910 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Silliman family. Silliman family papers, 1717-1977 (inclusive), 1717-1911 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Marsh, Othniel Charles, 1831-1899. Othniel Charles Marsh papers, 1817-1899 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. James Henry Coffin Papers. Smithsonian Institution Archives
creatorOf George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960, 1834-1939 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Brush, George Jarvis, 1831-1912. George Jarvis Brush family papers, 1834-1960 (inclusive), 1834-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Weir, John Ferguson, 1841-1926. John Ferguson Weir papers, 1838-1957 (inclusive), 1861-1928 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Farquhar, Francis Peloubet, 1887-1974. The Whitney Survey on Mount Shasta, 1862 : a letter from William H. Brewer to Professor Brush : typescript, [19??]. California Historical Society
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 52: Assistant Secretary, Incoming Correspondenc.
referencedIn Thomas Raynesford Lounsbury papers, 1829-1915 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn John L. (John Lawrence) LeConte papers, 1812-1897, 1812-1897 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Silliman family papers, 1717-1977, 1717-1911 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Spencer F. Baird Papers (Mc 2000.11).
referencedIn Silliman family. Silliman family papers, 1717-1977 (inclusive), 1717-1911 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn National Academy Of Sciences, Archives. Deceased Members.
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Birth 1831

Death 1912

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