History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Charles A. Schaffer
CHARLES A. SCHAFFER, late president of the State University, was born August 14, 1843, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His early education was thorough and he was fitted for college at the Germantown Academy. His progress was so rapid that he was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1861, at the age of eighteen. He then began the study of medicine, entering a pharmacy and beginning a laboratory course in Philadelphia which was continued at Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1862 he became private secretary to his uncle, General Herman Haupt, then stationed in Virginia. The following year he enlisted in Landis' Philadelphia Light Brigade and in a skirmish at Carlisle distinguished himself for gallant conduct. In 1863 he entered the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard, remaining two years. From there Mr. Schaffer went to Union College at Schenectady, New York, as instructor in chemistry. In 1867 he went abroad for advanced study in chemistry and for two years was a student at Gottingen, where in 1868 he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. During the following year he studied metallurgy at the Berlin School of Mines and completed his foreign studies by a course of six months in Paris. While studying there he was elected to the chair of analytical chemistry and mineralogy at Cornell University, at the time being but twenty-six years of age. There he remained nineteen years, and during the absence of the president, Andrew D. White, was usually called to act in his absence. During his last year at Cornell Dr. Schaffer was dean of the faculty. He was inaugurated president of the Iowa State University, in June, 1887, and entering upon the work he voluntarily took upon himself instruction in chemistry of the medical and dental students with lectures on medical jurisprudence. Dr. Schaffer worked untiringly for a large endowment for the University throughout the State and before the Legislature. He was not a brilliant public speaker and “his strongest point was his remarkable executive ability,” says Henry Sabin. During his residence in the State he was an earnest worker for the upbuilding of Iowa City, the home of the University. He stood high in the councils of the Episcopal Church and was a trustee of Griswold College and St. Katherine's Hall, Davenport. President Schaffer died in the midst of his great usefulness at Iowa City, September 13, 1898.