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Men of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) online

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honorary degree of Master of Arts by Yale University.

On August 2nd, 1901, Professor Lang was married to Alice
Hubbard Derby of New Haven, Connecticut. They have no
children. Professor Lang is a Republican and has voted the ticket
of that party from the time he was made a citizen of the United
States. While his father and grandfather distinguished themselves
as ministers in the Lutheran Church, he is himself an attendant of the
Episcopal Church.

Professor Lang states that the influence of his mother on his
intellectual, moral, and spiritual life in his younger days was a
very strong one, and says that, from his own observation and experi-
ence as a citizen of this country, the best methods and principles for
strengthening the sound ideals in American life are strict perform-
ance of duty and careful and devoted attention to one's profession.



CHARLES BRINCKERHOFF RICHARDS

RICHARDS, CHARLES BRINCKERHOFF, professor of
mechanical engineering at Yale University, is a descendant
on his mother's side of John Howland, who came over in
the "Mayflower," and on his father's side of Lieutenant Thomas
Tracy, who came from Tewksbury, England, and settled in Nor-
wich, Connecticut, in 1637, Among his forbears was Ezekiel
Cheever, a teacher for seventy years of his ninety-four years of life
and first master of the Boston Latin School, about 1640; also, George
Brinckerhoff, a prominent lawyer in New York.

His father, Thomas Fanning Richards of Brooklyn, New York,
was an importer and manufacturer, of marked integrity and unself-
ishness, generous, courteous, a true gentleman. His mother, who
died when he was ten years old, was Harriet Howland Brinckerhoff.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 23rd, 1833.

He early displayed a fondness for scientific subjects and for
general works in mathematics. Obtaining his education in private
schools, where his natural bent was recognized and appreciated, at
the age of nineteen he went into the extensive establishment of the
Woodruff & Beach Iron Works, in Hartford, as draughtsman, to
improve both his technical and practical knowledge. His ambition
was to become a mechanical engineer, and for such as he desired
to be the country in its development was making loud demands.

After six years of this practical study in Hartford, he opened
an office in New York as a consulting engineer, remaining there
from 1858 to 1861. Then he accepted the highly responsible position
of engineer superintendent of the Colt's Patent Firearms Company
of Hartford, where he continued through the war period, so im-
portant for that concern, and till 1880. From 1881 till 1884, he
was superintendent of the great plant of the Southwark Foundry
and Machine Company of Philadelphia.

In 1884 he was called to his present position of professor of
mechanical engineering at Yale University, which institution con-



310 CHARLES BRINCKEEHOFF RICHARDS

ferred upon him that year the degree of M.A. He also has the
decoration of chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France.

Professor Eichards has been consulting engineer for the con-
struction of many large buildings, notably the Connecticut Capitol
at Hartford. He was United States expert commissioner to the Paris
International Exposition in 1889. His inventions are numerous,
but perhaps by none is he so widely known as by his steam engine
indicator, patented in 1861 and familiar the world over as the
prototype of all modern steam engine indicators. He wrote the
report on Class 52 of Group VI., Paris International Exposition,
1889, and was editor of Volume III. and half of Volume IV. of the
General Eeports of the Exposition. Also he is the editor of engineer-
ing and technical words in Webster's International Dictionary and he
has written a number of papers for different publications.

He has served as vice-president and manager of the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers and he is a member also of the
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and of the Con-
necticut Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, a corresponding member of the
Societe Industrielle de Mulhouse, of Alsace, Germany. In politics
he is affiliated with the Eepublican party.

He married Miss Agnes Edwards Goodwin of Hartford on Sep-
tember Ifith, 1858. They have had five children, all of whom are
living. The professor's home is at No. 277 Edwards Street, New
Haven.



ARTHUR REED KIMBALL

KIMBALL, ARTHUR REED, journalist and associate editor
of the Waterbury American, was born in New York City, Feb-
ruary 1st, 1855. He traces his ancestry to Governor Carver,
who came from England to America in Colonial times. He is also
descended from Jonathan Edwards. Mr. Kimball's father was J.
Merrill Kimball, a well known merchant. His mother, Elizabeth C.
Kimball, exerted on him a strong mental and moral influence.

Mr. Kimball prepared for college at Hopkins Grammar School
and then took the academic course at Yale, graduating in 1877.
After his graduation he took a year's course at the Yale Law School,
followed by a year in the law office of F. H. Winston in Chicago. He
was admitted to the Chicago bar in 1879. He then taught school for
a year, at the end of which he became editor of the Iowa State
Register, in Des Moines.

In 1881, after a term as a reporter in St. Louis, Mr. Kimball
became associate editor of the Waterbury American. In addition
to his editorial work he has lectured on journalism at Yale and has
made many contributions to the leading magazines, including
Scribner's, The Century, The North American Revieiv, The Atlan-
tic Monthly, Harper's, The Outlook, and The Independent.

Mr. Kimball is a director in the American Printing Company,
a member of the executive committee of the Civil Service Reform
Association of Connecticut, a member of the Century Club of New
York and of the Society of Colonial Wars. In political faith he is
an Independent and his religious connections are with the Con-
gregational Church. His most enjoyable sports are .golf and bil-
liards.

On May 15th, 1895, Mr. Kimball married Mary E. Chase. They
have two children, Elizabeth Chase Kimball and Chase Kimball,
both now livincr.



ALBERT LESLIE SESSIONS

SESSIONS, ALBERT LESLIE, is a scion of the distinguished
and widely known family of that name. He was born in
Bristol, Connecticut, the fifth day of January, 1872. His
father was John Henry Sessions and his mother was Maria Francena
Woodford before her marriage. Both of them are widely known for
their philanthropy, and a large number of people bless them for
their benefactions. John H. Sessions died April 2nd, 1902. Mr.
Sessions comes of a long and enviable line of ancestors. Samuel
Sessions came from England to Massachusetts in 1630. Many of his
descendants have distinguished themselves in many ways. A few of
them we name: the Rev. John Sessions, a graduate of Dartmouth
College, and of Princeton Seminary, and a successful clergyman of
the Presbyterian Church; the Hon. Darius Sessions, an alumnus of
Yale, and governor of Rhode Island; also the grandfather of the
subject of this sketch, Hon. John Humphrey Sessions, and the father,
John Henry Sessions, manufacturers of Bristol.

Albert L. Sessions received a good education. He studied at the
Bristol public schools, Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, Massachusetts,
and is a graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University,
taking the Ph.B. degree in 1892, and is a member of the Chi Phi Fra-
ternity and the University Club of New York. Immediately after
leaving college he entered the employ of his grandfather and father
in the business which his grandfather was instrumental, as a partner,
in establishing November 15th, 1854. On October 1st, 1899, shortly
after the death of his grandfather, he was admitted into partnership,
the firm name being, as before, J. H. Sessions & Son, which was
continued after the death of his father, April 2nd, 1902, by his mother
and himself. July 1st, 1905, this business was incorporated under a
special charter from the State of Connecticut, the firm name remain-
ing as before. The incorporators and sole owners were his mother,
his wife, and he himself. He is a prodigious worker, and gives
promise of being one of Connecticut's most successful business men.



ALBERT LESLIE SESSIONS 315

On February 7th, 1894, Albert L. Sessions married Miss Leila B.
Beach, daughter of Hon. Henry L. Beach. They have five
children : Paul B., born November 19th, 1895 ; Ruth J., born May
14th, 1897; John H., born July 12th, 1898; Judith H. and Janet M.
(twins), born May 21st, 1901.

Mr. Sessions is an honored member of Prospect Methodist Episco-
pal Church, and one of its trustees. He is president and treasurer
of J. H. Sessions & Son, president of the Bristol Water Company,
treasurer of the Sessions Clock Company, and a director in the
Bristol and Plainville Tramway Company. Like his ancestors before
him, he is a good churchman, a man with high ideals, of unflinching
integrity, of public spirit, and ready to help in any needed reform and
desired improvement. Mr. Sessions is a Republican in politics. He
has no desire for public office, but is interested in all public matters
and desires the best possible government for the people. He has often
stated that his ambition was to be worthy of the honorable record of
so many of his ancestors and relatives.



WILBUR OLIN ATWATER

ATWATER, WILBUR OLIN, Ph.D., LL.D., one of the ablest
and best known scientists of this century, educator, author,
and the pioneer of some of the most important scientific investi-
gations of the day, professor of chemistry at Wesleyan University, the
chief of the Nutrition Investigations of the United States Department
of Agriculture, whose earnest, thorough, and fruitful experiments in
agricultural and physiological chemistry have made him a public
benefactor and whose successful researches into abstract science pro-
claim him one of the greatest scholars of his day, was born in Johns-
burgh, New York, May 3rd, 1844. He is descended from David
Atwater, a native of Kent, England, who emigrated thence to
America and became one of the original settlers in the New Haven
Colony in 1635. He is the son of William Warren Atwater and
Eliza Barnes Atwater. His father was a Methodist minister and a
strong and active temperance worker in Burlington, Vermont, where
he edited a temperance paper. William Atwater was a man of
indomitable will and perseverance.

It was natural that the son of a Methodist minister should not
spend all of his early years in one place and Wilbur Atwater lived in
various small New England and New York towns in his boyhood.
He had the priceless endowment of excellent health which found logi-
cal expression in a love of outdoor sports, especially the aquatic ones,
swimming and fishing. He was eager to have a thorough education
and worked to get it, both at farming and as clerk in a country store,
and he considers the experience gained by this early labor a most
useful part of his education. After gleaning sufficient preparatory
knowledge from the public schools in the various towns where the
family made their home he spent two years at the University of
Vermont and two at Wesleyan University, from which he was
graduated in 1865. Two years' teaching followed this academic course
and he then took a course in post-graduate study at Yale, which led
to his taking his Ph.D. degree at that university in 1868. In 1870 he



WILBUR OLIN ATWATER 317

went abroad and spent two years in scientific study at Leipzig, Berlin,
Heidelberg, and Munich. Upon his return to the United States he
took the position of professor of chemistry in the University of Ten-
nessee, from which he resigned in 1873 to take the same chair at the
Maine State College, where he stayed but a year as he was called to
Wesleyan University, where he has been in charge of the chemistry
department continuously since that time.

In December, 1873, Professor Atwater addressed the Connecti-
cut State Board of Agriculture on the subject of agricultural investi-
gations, especially in regard to scientific fertilizers and cattle rations,
and put before that board the importance of having a government
experiment station for that purpose. He finally secured state appro-
priations for the work, and an experiment station, the first in this
country, was eventually established through his efforts. From 1875
to 1877 he was director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment
Station, and he is still a member of the board of control of that im-
portant organization. He was also the pioneer promoter of another
important and fruitful enterprise, known as Investigations into the
Laws of Nutrition and Food Economy, which resulted in the establish-
ment of dietary standards which have since been regarded as authorita-
tive by American students of domestic science. Actuated by the
belief that the field of agricultural and physiological chemistry was
a great opening for the student and experimenter. Professor Atwater
continued his researches along those particular branches of science
with the utmost success. He worked up statistics of food consumption
and in collaboration with Professor Hempel of Dresden he elaborated
a bomb calorimeter for determining the amount of potential energy
in foods. He was one of the inventors of the Atwater-Rosa calorim-
eter which demonstrates the theory that the law of conservation of
energy obtains in the living organism and aids in the study of many
physiological problems, and for which he was awarded the Elliott-
Cresson Medal in 1900. His work along this line was of fourfold
importance, indicating the true economy in the use of food, the
establishment of due proportions in diet, rules for quantity, and the
revelation of many popular errors in diet. From 1888 to 1902 he
was director of Storrs' Experiment Station and from 1888 to 1891
he was director of the Office of Experiment Stations, United States
Department of Agriculture, which the Government had called him



318 WILBUR OLIN ATWATEE

to organize as a central office or clearing house for the institutions
of like nature all over the country and the medium by which they
might keep in touch with similar institutions in Europe. In 1891
and 1893 he went to Europe to secure European contributors for
the "Experiment Station Eecord" which he founded. From 1894
to 1903 he was special agent in charge of the Nutrition Investiga-
tions authorized by Congress and carried on by the United States
Department of Agriculture. Since 1903 he has been chief of the
Nutrition Investigations conducted by the United States De-
partment of Agriculture. At the time of the World's Fair he
collected and analyzed five hundred specimens of food materials on
exhibition there. With F. G. Benedict, a fellow professor at Wesleyan,
he conducted "An Experimental Inquiry Regarding the Nutritive
Value of Alcohol" and served on the physiological sub-committee of
the "Committee of Fifty for the Investigation of the Liquor Problem."

In addition to organizing and developing the National Food
Investigations, directing the office of Government Experiment Stations
and conducting his classes at Wesleyan, Professor Atwater has written
over one hundred and fifty papers on scientific subjects. He has been
a frequent contributor to the standard scientific journals and these
writings and his lectures comprise much valuable and original
scientific literature. In 1895 he published for the Government
"Methods and Results of Investigations in the Chemistry and
Economy of Food," a most important work.

As a teacher Professor Atwater is thorough, earnest, enthusiastic,
and approachable. He has a remarkable gift of planning his work
and of imparting his own scholarly knowledge. As an experimenter
and investigator in the realm of science he stands in the foremost
ranks and his deep interest in scientific research is embodied in his
scientific library in Middletown, which is perhaps the most complete
private library of its kind in this country. His intellectuality is that
of a true student and scholar and his energy and perseverance in car-
rying out his mental ambition are equally great.

Professor Atwater has never narrowed his life to one of solely
intellectual activity. He has taken a steady interest in politics
and though formerly a Republican he styles himself at present a
Mugwump, for he took exception to the Republican support of
Blaine and is always "Independent" on local issues. He is an



I



WILBUR OLIN ATWATER 319

actively interested member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Of
late years he has also been actively interested in national temperance
reform, both in this country and in Europe. He is exceedingly fond
of outdoor life and enjoys hunting and fishing and life in tne woods.
As an alumnus and member of the faculty of Wesleyan he is greatly
interested in the college life and growth. In August, 1874, he was
married to Marcia Woodard, by whom he has had two children. He
is a member of the Wesleyan fraternity, Phi Nu Theta, the Cosmos
Club of Washington, D. C, the American Chemical Society, the
American Physiological Society, the Washington Academy of Sciences,
a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
a member of the Societe Chemique de Paris, the Deutsche Chemische
Gesellschaft, associate member Societe d'Hygiene Alimentaire et de
FAlimentation Eationelle de I'Homme, corresponding member Societe
Royal des Sciences Medicales et Naturelles de Bruxelles, foreign
member of the Swedish Royal Academy, corresponding member of
the Russian Imperial Military Academy of Medicine, associate mem-
ber of the French National Society of Agriculture, and a member of
many philanthropic organizations. This long list shows better than
anything else Professor Atwater's broad interests, his international
prominence in the world of science, and his active part in the
intellectual life of his generation. In mind and achievement he
is beyond doubt a great, practical, public benefactor, and one of the
most advanced and able scientists of the age.



OSCAR KUHNS

KUHNS, OSCAE, A.M., L.H.D., author and educator, pro-
fessor of Eomance languages at Wesleyan University, Middle-
town, Connecticut, was born in Columbia, Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, on February 21st, 1856. On both the paternal and the
maternal sides he is descended from the oldest German and Swiss
settlers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the so-called Penn-
sylvania Dutch. On his father's side his earliest ancestor in this
country was Theobald Kuntz, as the name was then spelled, who was
married at Lancaster, in 1745, to Maria Margaret Fortune, whose
ancestors had left France at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
and had gone to Germany. This Theobald Kuntz was the son of
Johann Francis Kuntz of Waldmohr, Zweibrucken, Germany. On
his mother's side Oscar Kuhns traces his ancestry to Bishop John
Herr, leader of the Swiss Quakers who made the first settlement of
Lancaster in 1710. His great-grandfather, George Kuntz, was in the
Revolutionary War and his maternal great-grandfather, Frederick
Brown, was with General Arnold at the battle of Quebec and served all
through the Revolution. Professor Kuhns is the youngest of four
brothers, two of whom, George Washington and Walter Brown, died
in childhood. It was the unselfishness and kindness of his other
brother, Henry Clarence, that alone made possible an academic
career for Oscar Kuhns. Professor Kuhns's father, William
Kuhns, a blacksmith and inventor, was a native of Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, and a man of excellent mental endowment and
strong religious convictions. He was interested in mechanics and
applied science and was one of the first to work at photography, being
a personal friend of Dr. John W. Draper, the founder of American
photography. Professor Kuhns's mother was Rebecca Brown, a
woman whose chief characteristic was intense piety, inherited from
her Swiss-Quaker ancestors. He describes her as one "of a sweet
and lovable disposition, who was universally loved and whose spiritual
influence was very great."



OSCAE KUHNS 321

Though he was born in a village most of Oscar Kuhns's boyhood
was spent in the city. He was exceedingly fond of reading and study
and did not allow himself to be handicapped by lack of funds in secur-
ing the best education. He prepared for college alone in the evenings
after busy days at work as a clerk, and found time to become well
acquainted with Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Dante, whom he
loved and admired with the passion of a true scholar. He was
graduated from Wesleyan University in 1885 and three years later
received the degree of Master of Arts. Since then he has studied at
the universities of Berlin, Geneva, Paris, and Eome and was granted,
in 1904, the degree of L.H.D. by Dickinson College. He seemed
to have a "call" to the study and teaching of languages, in which
he had been interested from childhood, and he began to teach at
Wesleyan, after receiving his Master's degree.

In 1890 he became professor of Eomance languages at Wesleyan
and he still fills that chair. His chief work outside of his immediate
professional duties in the lecture room has been in writing and some
very genuine and valuable literature has come from his pen. In 1895
he published his scholarly "Treatment of Nature in Dante" which pro-
claims the author to be a true student of that great master; indeed
Professor Kuhns has been passionately fond of the great Italian poet
since childhood. In 1904 he published "Dante and the English
Poets," a most interesting piece of literary workmanship of which
it has been said that "the amount of valuable material and data
thus brought together is a matter for surprise and admiration." In
1903 appeared his well-known "Great Poets of Italy," an interesting
history of Italian literature, which is thorough, accurate, and con-
cise and covers material which most writers would have spread over
many volumes. He is also the author of "German and Swiss
Settlements of Colonial Pennsylvania, a Study of the so-called Penn-
sylvania Dutch," an exhaustive history of those interesting colonists
told in an entertaining and romantic but none the less authentic
manner. He has also produced eight or ten successful text-books.
His style is clear, coherent, and graceful and his method of writ-
ing is that of a thorough and original student, who is capable of the
finest discriminations, and of an artist in the power of selection and
condensation of materials.

Professor Knhns is a member of the college fraternity, Psi



322 OSCAR KUHNS

Upsilon, of the Lancaster County Historical Society, the Modern
Language Association, and of the Sons of the American Revolution.
In politics he is a Republican and in creed he affiliates with the
Methodist Episcopal Church. On the sixth of April, 1893, he mar-
ried Lillie B. Conn of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, by whom he has had
one child, Austin Hubberd. Professor Kuhns makes his home in
Middletown, the seat of Wesleyan, his Alma Mater, and the center
of his professional activities.



CHARLES SMITH DAVIDSON

DAVIDSON, CHAELES SMITH, retired superinteDdent of the
Hartford Division of the New York, New Haven and Hart-
ford Eailroad, was born in East Haven, New Haven County,
Connecticut, November 9th, 1829, the son of Abijah Bradley David-
son and Harriet Smith Davidson. His father was a farmer, who
also conducted a public livery and was captain and commandant of
the Second Cavalr}^ Governor's Horse Guard, and a man greatly in-
terested in public affairs. Mr. Davidson's mother was a woman of
firm and beautiful character, which had a lasting influence on her
son's moral and spiritual life. The family trace their ancestry to
Andrew Davidson, who came from England and was an early settler
in East Haven, and their genealogy embraces many loyal Eevolution-
ary patriots and later defenders of their cause in the War of 1812.

Strong, vigorous, and active Charles Davidson found his great-
est pleasure as a boy in outdoor sports. He was brought up in New
Haven and educated at the Lancastrian School there, where he took
second highest honors for excellent scholarship. He delighted in
reading, inclining most strongly to historical and mechanical works.
After leaving school he worked for two years at various occupations
and during that time became more and more impressed with the
importance of "learning a trade," which he resolved to do. In 1847
he went to work in a silver plating shop in New Haven. The follow-
ing year he went to Springfield and served a three years' apprentice-



Online LibraryNorris Galpin OsbornMen of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 30)