Henry Darwin Rogers, 1808-1866: American Geologist

By Patsy Gerstner | Go to book overview

11
Faithful Labours Cruelly Repaid, 1846-1848

The thought that Boston might provide a site for the school of practical science that he and William hoped to open someday was uppermost in Rogers's mind when he went to Boston. Consequently, one of the first things he did after returning was to approach John Amory Lowell, head of the Lowell Institute, about the possibility of attaching such a school to the institute, and he asked William to put their ideas on paper for Lowell.1 William responded with a long plan for a polytechnic school, a school that would "embrace full courses of instruction in all the principles of physical truth having direct relation to the art of constructing machinery, the application of motive power, manufactures, mechanical and chemical, the art of engraving with electrotype and photography, mineral exploration and mining, chemical analysis, engineering, locomotion and agriculture."2 Although Lowell considered the plan, nothing came of Rogers's hopes for a school at the Lowell Institute.

Nevertheless, Rogers did not consider this a particular setback, for he felt that the atmosphere and time were right in Boston for him and for William to start such a school themselves, independent of any other organization. William, just as enamored of Boston as Henry, later wrote that "ever since I have known something of the knowledge-seeking spirit, and the intellectual capabilities of the community in and around Boston, I have felt persuaded that of all places in the world it was the one most certain to derive the highest benefits from a Polytechnic Institution."3 In spite of the brothers' enthusiasm for Boston and for their own school, William was not ready to leave the University of Virginia, and Rogers sought an academic post for himself.

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