Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PORTER, John Addison, chemist, born in Catskill, New York, 15 March, 1822; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 25 August, 1866. He was graduated at Yale in 1842, and after further study in Philadelphia became in 1844 tutor and then professor of rhetoric at Delaware college in Newark, Delaware In 1847 he went abroad and studied agricultural chemistry for three years under Liebig, at the University of Giessen. On his return to the United States he was assistant at the Lawrence scientific school of Harvard for a few months, but in 1850 he was appointed professor of chemistry applied to the arts at Brown, and in 1852 he was called to succeed Professor John P. Norton in the chair of agricultural chemistry in Yale (now Sheffield) scientific school. In 1856 he was given charge of the department of organic chemistry, and so continued until 1864, when failing health led to his resignation. Professor Porter was particularly interested in the welfare of the scientific school, and did much to ensure its success. He married a daughter of Joseph E. Sheffield (q. v.), and his influence and efforts were potent toward securing the generous donation from the latter that resulted in placing the school on a firm financial basis. The present great interest in obtaining a knowledge of scientific agriculture is largely the outcome of his work. Professor Porter was a member of scientific societies, and contributed various papers to the "American Journal of Science." He also established the "Connecticut War Record," a monthly periodical, devoted to the publication of news from the Connecticut regiments at the front during the civil war. Professor Porter published "Principles of Chemistry" (New York, 1856) ; " First Book of Chemistry and Allied Sciences" (1857); and "Selections from the Kalevala, the Great Finnish Epic" (1868). In 1871 the Scroll and key society of Yale, of which he was a founder in 1842, established in his memory the John A Porter university prize of $250, which is awarded annually for the best essay on a given subject, and is the only prize open to all the members of Yale university.--His son, John Addison, journalist, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 17 April, 1856, was graduated at Yale in 1878, and has been connected with various journals. He has contributed to periodicals, and published monographs on "The Corporation of Yale College" (Washington, 1885), and "Administration of City of Washington" (1885) ; and a volume of "Sketches of Yale Life" (1886).
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