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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/859

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835
SKETCH OF MANLY MILES.

on to the farm, and Manly and his brother went round thrashing for the neighbors. Industrious in study as well as in work, the boy never neglected his more prosaic duties to gratify his thirst for knowledge. He studied geometry while following the plow, drawing the problems on a shingle, which he tacked to the plow-beam. Whenever he was missed and inquiry was made about him, the answer invariably was, "Somewhere with a book." He was most interested in the natural sciences, particularly in chemistry in its applications to agriculture, and in comparative physiology and anatomy, and was a diligent student and collector of mollusks.

Choosing the profession of medicine, Mr. Miles was graduated M. D. from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1850, and practiced till 1859. In the meantime he became greatly interested in the subject of a geographical survey of the State, for which an act was passed and approved in 1858. In the organization of the survey, in 1859, he was appointed Assistant State Geologist in the department of zo├Âlogy; and in the next year was appointed professor of zoology and animal physiology in the State Agricultural College at Lansing.

In his work as zoologist to the State Geological Survey, in 1859, 1860, and 1861, he displayed rare qualities as a naturalist, so that Mr. Walter R. Barrows, in recording his death in the bulletin of the Michigan Ornithological Club, expresses regret that many of the years he afterward devoted to the development of experimental agriculture "were not spent in unraveling some of the important biological problems which the State afforded, which his skill and perseverance would surely have solved." He was a "born collector," Mr. Barrows adds, "as the phrase is, and his keen eyes, tireless industry, and mathematical precision led to the accumulation of thousands of valuable specimens and more valuable observations."

Mr. Bryant Walker, of Detroit, who knew Professor Miles well in later years, and had opportunity to review his zo├Âlogical work, regards the part he took during this service in developing the knowledge of the fauna of the State as having been very prominent. "The catalogues he published in the report for 1860 have been the basis for all work since that time." He kept in correspondence with the most eminent American naturalists of the period, including Cope, Prime, Lea, W. G. Binney, Baird, and Agassiz, and supplied them with large quantities of valuable material. From the many letters written by these naturalists which are in the possession of his friends, we take, as illustrating the character of the service he rendered and of the trust they reposed in him, even previous to his going on the survey, one from Agassiz, of February 4, 1856: