1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hitchcock, Edward
HITCHCOCK, EDWARD' (1793–1864), American geologist, was born of poor parents at Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the 24th of May 1793. He owed his education chiefly to his own exertions, and was preparing himself to enter Harvard College when he was compelled to interrupt his studies from a weakness in his eyesight. In 1815 he became principal of the academy of his native town; but he resigned this office in 1818 in order to study for the ministry. Having been ordained in 1821 pastor of the Congregational church of Conway, Mass., he employed his leisure in making a scientific survey of the western counties of the state. From 1825 to 1845 he was professor of chemistry and natural history, from 1845 to 1864 was professor of natural theology and geology at Amherst College, and from 1845 to 1854 was president; the college owed its early success largely to his energetic efforts, especially during the period of his presidency. In 1830 he was appointed state geologist of Massachusetts, and in 1836 was made geologist of the first district of the state of New York. In 1840 he received the degree of LL.D. from Harvard, and in 1846 that of D.D. from Middlebury College, Vermont. Besides his constant labours in geology, zoology and botany, Hitchcock took an active interest in agriculture, and in 1850 he was sent by the Massachusetts legislature to examine into the methods of the agricultural schools of Europe. In geology he made a detailed examination and exposition of the fossil footprints from the Triassic sandstones of the Connecticut valley. His collection is preserved in the Hitchcock Ichnological Museum of Amherst College, and a description of it was published in 1858 in his report to the Massachusetts legislature on the ichnology of New England. The footprints were regarded as those of reptiles, amphibia and birds (?). In 1857 he undertook, with the aid of his two sons, the geological survey of Vermont, which was completed in 1861. As a writer on geological science, Hitchcock was largely concerned in determining the connexion between it and religion, and employing its results to explain and support what he regarded as the truths of revelation. He died at Amherst, on the 27th of February 1864.
His son, Charles Henry Hitchcock (1836– ), did good service in geology, in Vermont, New Hampshire (1868–1878), and other parts of America, and became professor of geology at Dartmouth in 1868.
The following are Edward Hitchcock’s principal works: Geology of the Connecticut Valley (1823); Catalogue of Plants growing without cultivation in the vicinity of Amherst (1829); Reports on the Geology of Massachusetts (1833–1841); Elementary Geology (1840; ed. 2, 1841; and later ed. with C. H. Hitchcock, 1862); Fossil Footmarks in the United States (1848); Outline of the Geology of the Globe and of the United States in particular (1853); Illustrations of Surface Geology (1856); Ichnology of New England (1858); The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences (1851; new ed., 1869); Reminiscences of Amherst College (1863); and various papers in the American Journal of Science, and other periodicals.