Page images
PDF
EPUB

treasurer. The past presidents have been A. D. Bache, 1863–1867; Joseph Henry, 1867–1878; Wm. B. Rogers, 1879–1882; O. C. Marsh, 1883–1895. The American association for the advancement of science held its first meeting in 1848, being the continuation of the Association of American geologists and naturalists founded in 1840. The objects of the association are stated in its constitution to be “by periodical and migratory meetings, to promote intercourse between those who are cultivating science in different parts of America, to give a stronger and more general impulse and more systematic direction to scientific research, and to procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and wider usefulness.” The association thus occupies the same field as the British association for the advancement of science (established in 1831), L'Association française pour l'avancement des sciences (established in 1864), Die Versammlurg deutscher Naturforscher und Aerzte (established in 1828), and similar societies in Switzerland, Russia and other countries. All these associations have performed a useful service in bringing men of science together and in attracting the attention of the general public to scientific work. With the increasing specialization of science, the establishment of special societies and journals, and the growth of university centers, the meetings have perhaps become relatively less important than formerly. But the division into sections for the different sciences has in part met the needs of modern specialization, and there is at present a movement to arrange for the meetings of special societies in affiliation with the association. The American association is composed of members and fellows. All interested in science are eligible to membership, while the fellows are elected from such of the members as are engaged in advancing science. There are at present 949 members and 776 fellows and in addition two patrons, one corresponding member and one honorary member. The attendance at the meetings, which are held for a week, usually in August, varies considerably with the place and other Societies and academies similar to the Philosophical society of Philadelphia and the Academy of arts and sciences of Boston are to be found in many of the larger cities of the United States. They have been established during the present century, many of them recently, and in their scope and influence are chiefly local or confined to a single state. These societies cover the field of the natural and exact sciences or of the natural sciences only, while special societies for different sciences have been founded in many cities. National societies have also been established for most of the sciences, and these are at the present time the most active of the scientific societies of the United States.

The New York academy of sciences, organized in 1817 as the Lyceum of natural history in the city of New York, is divided into four sections, each of which holds monthly meetings. These sections are: Astronomy and physics; geology and mineralogy; biology; anthropology, psychology and philology. The academy also holds general meetings and gives an annual reception and exhibition of scientific progress. It publishes annals in octavo and memoirs in quarto, and has a library numbering over 18,000 titles. In New York there is also a scientific alliance, including the academy and the following local societies: The Torrey botanical club, the New York microscopical society, the Linnaean society of New York, the New York mineralogical club, the American mathematical society, the New York section of the American chemical society, and the New York entomological society. Efforts are now being made for the erection of a central building for the societies composing the Scientific alliance.

Washington has recently become the chief scientific center of America, the government institutions and departments offering numerous and important positions for men of science. The Philosophical soci was or -ized in 1871. This and the other societi tly formed a joint alliance, which w ton academy of sciences

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

the academy are: The Anthropological society of Washington, the Biological society of Washington, the Entomological society of Washington, the Geological society of Washington, the National geographic society, the Medical society of the District of Columbia, and the Philosophical society of Washington. The academy and most of the separate societies publish proceedings. In Philadelphia there are, in addition to the Philosophical society, several important institutions. The Academy of natural sciences, organized in 1812, possesses large endowments, a fine museum and a good library (50,000 volumes). Meetings of its different sections are held weekly, and the proceedings are now in their — volume. The Franklin institute was organized in 1824 for the promotion of the mechanic arts. Its Journal, published continuously since 1826, is now in its 147th volume. The institute has done much toward promoting industrial exhibitions, the development of the patent system of the United States, the laws on weights and measures, etc. It has a large library, and conducts classes and lectures. The Wagner free institute of science, organized in 1855, supports a museum and library, gives free lectures and instruction and publishes transactions. The Boston society of natural history, founded in 1830, conducts a museum and a library, and publishes memoirs and proceedings. The Boston scientific society holds meetings partly popular in character. The Lowell lectures, endowed by Mr. John Lowell with $250,000, are an important foundation that may be mentioned in this connection. Other cities of the Atlantic states possess academies, organized on the general lines of those already described. The Connecticut academy of arts and sciences at New Haven, founded in 1799 on the model of the Boston academy, is the oldest of these. The Maryland academy of sciences at Baltimore dates from 1819. Local academies, often with a museum and scientific library, or scientific societies, usually of more recent development than the academies, are to be found or "ony cities, including Salem, Worcester, Gloucester Societies and academies similar to the Philosophical society of Philadelphia and the Academy of arts and sciences of Boston are to be found in many of the larger cities of the United States. They have been established during the present century, many of them recently, and in their scope and influence are chiefly local or confined to a single state. These societies cover the field of the natural and exact sciences or of the natural sciences only, while special societies for different sciences have been founded in many cities. National societies have also been established for most of the sciences, and these are at the present time the most active of the scientific societies of the United States.

The New York academy of sciences, organized in 1817 as the Lyceum of natural history in the city of New York, is divided into four sections, each of which holds monthly meetings. These sections are: Astronomy and physics; geology and mineralogy; biology; anthropology, psychology and philology. The academy also holds general meetings and gives an annual reception and exhibition of scientific progress. It publishes annals in octavo and memoirs in quarto, and has a library numbering over 18,000 titles. In New York there is also a scientific alliance, including the academy and the following local societies: The Torrey botanical club, the New York microscopical society, the Linnaean society of New York, the New York mineralogical club, the American mathematical society, the New York section of the American chemical society, and the New York entomological society. Efforts are now being made for the erection of a central building for the societies composing the Scientific alliance.

Washington has recently become the chief scientific center of America, the government institutions and departments offering numerous and important positions for men of science. The Philosophical society was organized in 1871. This and the other societies of the city subsequently formed a joint alliance, which was transformed into the Washington academy of sciences in 1898. The societies united by and ethnology has been founded at Sitka. California now possesses two of the important universities of the United States, and a rapid growth of scientific interest may be expected on the Pacific coast. The societies and academies thus briefly reviewed suffer from the specialization which the growth of modern science requires. This has indeed been met in the larger centers by a subdivision into sections, but in many cases the societies are concerned only with natural history and often in an amateur and somewhat superficial manner. The differentiation in science which has interfered with societies covering a wide field has, however, been favorable to the establishment of local and national 'societies devoted to a single science, while professional and technical societies with definite interests to promote have in recent years grown greatly in number and in influence. Of these societies the National educational association should be mentioned first. Its present name was assumed in 1870, but it was established as the National teachers' association in 1857, being then the outgrowth of the American institute of instruction, organized in 1830, and other societies. The objects of the association, according to the preamble of its constitution, are “to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States.” The association has been extremely successful in attaining these ends. The annual meetings have been held in different states and in Canada, and the attendance at recent meetings tends to be as large as 10,000 members. The finances have been so administered that a large permanent endowment has been secured, and the annual volumes of the Proceedings contain papers and discussions of great educational interest and value. Until 1870 topics were discussed before the whole association as a body, but subsequently special departments have been organized, including school superintendence, normal schools, kindergarten instruction, elementary

« PreviousContinue »