The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hitchcock, Edward
HITCHCOCK, Edward, American Congregational clergyman and geologist: b. Deerfield, Mass., 24 May 1793; d. Amherst, Mass., 27 Feb. 1864. He was principal of the academy in his native place 1815-18; pastor of the Congregational Church in Conway, Mass., 1821-25; professor of chemistry and natural history in Amherst College 1825-45 and president of Amherst College and professor of natural theology and geology 1845-54. He was appointed State geologist of Massachusetts in 1830, of the State District of New York in 1836 and of Vermont in 1857. In 1850 he was commissioned by the government of his native State to examine the agricultural schools in Europe. His life was in a great measure identified with the history of Amherst College. Connected with it almost from the beginning, in his own presidency he procured for it buildings, apparatus and funds to the amount of $100,000, doubled the number of students and established it on a solid pecuniary as well as literary and scientific basis. His earliest scientific publications were the ‘Geology of the Connecticut Valley’ (1823), and a ‘Catalogue of the Plants within Twenty Miles of Amherst’ (1829). Later works were ‘Lectures on Diet, Regimen, and Employment’ (1831); ‘Lectures on the Peculiar Phenomena of the Four Seasons’ (1850); ‘Reports on the Geology of Massachusetts’ (1833-35-38-41); ‘Illustrations of Surface Geology’ (1857); ‘Elementary Geology,’ which passed through 25 editions in America, and one-third of that number in England; ‘Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences’ (1851); and ‘Reminiscences of Amherst College’ (1863). Dr. Hitchcock suggested as well as executed the geological survey of Massachusetts, the first not only in the long series of scientific surveys in the United States, but the first survey of an entire State under the authority of government in the world. He was the first to give a scientific exposition of the fossil footprints of the Connecticut Valley, and with him ichnology as a science began.