The Lazzaroni: Science and Scientists in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America

By Lillian B. Miller; Frederick Voss et al. | Go to book overview

Benjamin Apthorp Gould 1824-1896

It was Benjamin Apthorp Gould's dedication to "the advancement of science" and original research that brought him into the exclusive circle of Lazzaroni; his conviviality, too, and generosity toward his friends made him particularly acceptable to a group marked as much for their high spirits as for their high aims. But his arrogance with respect to his scientific mission--an arrogance that marked other Lazzaroni members as well--and his insistence that scientists be permitted to "labor in those fields for which they are best adapted" without any interference from the community not only frustrated the Lazzaroni cause, but, ironically, prevented progress in gaining the public support for pure research that the Lazzaroni hoped to obtain.

Gould was born into a cultivated mercantile family--his father had been principal of Boston Latin School for fourteen years before retiring to become a merchant in the Calcutta trade--and he moved with ease among the distinguished and wealthy societies of Boston and Cambridge, an ease which his brilliance at Harvard merely accentuated. From the day he became Benjamin Peirce's star mathematics student and protégé to the day he returned from Berlin and Göttingen boasting a German doctorate, Gould was destined for success. Upon his return from Europe, he founded the Astronomical Journal ( 1849), modeled closely after similar German publications, which he edited and managed until the Civil War forced a temporary end to its publication. Typically, the journal was designed for professional astronomers, not for the general public, and Gould made no effort to make it popular. In 1852 he became head of the longitude department of the Coast Survey, with headquarters at the Harvard Observatory in Cambridge. Here he was frequently joined by Peirce, who acted as consultant to the Coast Survey, and Peirce's brother-in-law, Lieutenant Charles Henry Davis, editor of the Nautical Almanac. The three men, all operating with Coast Survey funds, were instrumental in making

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The Lazzaroni: Science and Scientists in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • Lenders to the Exhibition xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Alexander Dallas Bache 1806-1867 13
  • Benjamin Peirce 1809-1880 18
  • Louis Agassiz 1807-1873 24
  • Joseph Henry (1797-1878) 31
  • Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (1822-1908) 39
  • Charles Henry Davis (1807-1877) 43
  • Benjamin Apthorp Gould 1824-1896 49
  • John Fries Frazer 1812-1872 56
  • James Dwight Dana 1813-1895 59
  • Cornelius C. Felton 1807-1862 66
  • James Hall 1811-1898 70
  • Henry Wilson 1812-1875 74
  • Asa Gray 1810-1888 78
  • William Barton Rogers 1804-1882 85
  • Charles William Eliot 1834-1926 91
  • Matthew Fontaine Maury 1806-1872 97
  • Joseph Leidy 1823-1891 104
  • John William Draper 1811-1882 109
  • Spencer Fullerton Baird 1823-1887 114
  • Bibliography 120
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