The Biographical Dictionary of America/Avery, Elroy McKendrel

AVERY, Elroy McKendrel, author, was born in Erie, Mich., July 14, 1844; son of Casper Hugh and Dorothy (Putnam) Avery and a descendant of Christopher Avery, who immigrated to Massachusetts with Winthrop in 1630. He attended the public schools of Monroe, and when sixteen years of age he taught a winter school in an adjoining town. While thus engaged the civil war broke out, and he gave up the ferule for the musket. He volunteered in the 4th Michigan infantry as a private, and, later, in the 11th Michigan cavalry, serving throughout the war and attaining the grade of sergeant-major. While at the front he wrote letters to the Detroit Tribune, which attracted much attention and were widely quoted. Returning home, he spent two years in preparing for college, meanwhile earning his own support, and in September, 1867, entered Michigan university. He paid his way at college for two years by acting as correspondent for the Detroit Tribune and as city editor of the Ann Arbor Courier, meanwhile taking high rank in the college recitation room. In the fall of 1869 he accepted the position of principal of the high school at Battle Creek, Mich., but this he soon resigned, a friendly loan enabling him to re-enter the university. He was graduated in 1871, and soon afterwards received the appointment of superintendent of the public schools of East Cleveland, Ohio. After the annexation of East Cleveland to Cleveland he served several years as principal of the East high school, and in 1878 became principal of the city normal school, then the apex of Cleveland's public school system. In 1880 he entered the scientific lecture field with an object lesson on the then new electric light. After two years in this field he began the organization of Brush electric light and power companies—a work for which lecturing had given him peculiar qualifications. He was a life member of the American economic association; life member and trustee of the Ohio state archæological and historical society, and of the Western Reserve historical society; member of the American historical association; fellow of the American association for the advancement of science; and second president of the Ohio Conference of charities and correction. In the fall of 1893 he was elected to the Ohio senate, and in 1895 was re-elected. He received the degrees Ph.D. from Hillsdale college; Ph.B. and Ph.M. from the University of Michigan in 1875, and LL.D. in 1895. In 1876, he published Avery’s "Elements of Physics," which was immediately adopted for use in the high schools of Cleveland; in 1878, "Elements of Natural Philosophy." introduced into hundreds of high schools in the United States and Canada; "Elements of Chemistry"; "The Complete Chemistry"; "First Principles of Natural Philosophy"; "Modern Electricity and Magnetism"; "Teacher's HandBook"; "Physical Technics"; "Words Correctly Spoken" (1886); "School Physics" (1895); and "Elementary Physics" (1897); "First Lessons in Physical Science" (1897); "School Chemistry" (1901). He began to write a "Popular History of the United States" in 1884.