Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRISCOM, John, educator, born in Hancock's Bridge, Salem co.. N. J., 27 September, 1774; died in Burlington, New Jersey, 26 February, 1852. His education was acquired at the Friends' academy in Philadelphia, and later he was given charge of the Friends' monthly-meeting school, in Philadelphia, with which he continued for thirteen years. In 1806 he removed to New York, where he was actively engaged in teaching for twenty-five years. He was one of the first to teach chemistry, and gave public lectures on this subject to his classes early in 1806. When the medical department of Queen's (now Rutgers) college was established in 1812, he was appointed to the chair of chemistry and natural history, which he held until 1828. His colleague, Dr. John W. Francis, said of him that "for thirty years Dr. Griscom was the acknowledged head of all teachers of chemistry among us" in New York. He was the projector of the New York high school, an institution on the Lancaster or monitorial system of instruction, which had great success from 1825 till 1831, under his supervision. For many years Dr. Griscom's lectures were given in the "New York Institution," which had been built in 1795 for an almshouse. Halleck, in his "Fanny," thus alludes to the building and its occupants: "It remains To bless the hour the Corporation took it Into their heads to give the rich in brains The worn-out mansion of the poor in pocket, Once 'the old almshouse, ' now a school of wisdom, Sacred to Scudder's shells and Dr. Griscom." From 1832 till 1834 he had charge of a Friends' boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island, also lecturing in various places on chemistry and natural philosophy. Subsequently he resided in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and then in Burlington, New Jersey, where he was town superintendent and trustee of public schools, and also was associated in the reorganization of the common school system of New Jersey. During his residence in New York he was instrumental in organizing the Society for the prevention of pauperism and crime, which was the parent of many important reform movements. For many years he contributed abstracts of chemical papers from the foreign journals to Silliman's" Journal of Science." He was also the author of "A Year in Europe" (New York, 1823), and "Monitorial Instruction" (1825). See a "Memoir of John Griscom," by his son (New York, 1859).--His son, John Haskins, physician, born in New York city, 14 August, 1809; died there, 28 April, 1874, was educated in the Collegiate school of Friends, and, after studying medicine under Dr. John D. Godman and Dr. Valentine Mott, was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1832. A year later he was appointed assistant physician to the New York dispensary, becoming physician in 1834. From 1836 till 1840 he was professor of chemistry in the New York college of pharmacy. In 1842 he was made city inspector, but a year later became visiting physician of the New York hospital, and continued as such until within a few years of his death. In 1848 he was appointed general agent of the commissioners of emigration, which office he filled until 1851. Dr. Griscom was identified with the management of the New York prison association, the Juvenile reformatory, the Home for the friendless, the New York sanitary association, the Social science association, and the New York association for the advancement of science and art, of which he was one of the founders and first president. He wrote much and ably On medical, sanitary, hygienic, and scientific topics, contributing largely to the medical journals, and was the author of "Animal Mechanism and Physiology" (New York, 1839); "Uses and Abuses of Air for the Ventilation of Buildings "(1850); "An Oration before the Academy of Medicine" (1854); "Prison Hygiene" (Albany, 1868); "Use of Tobacco and the Evils resulting from It" (New York, 1868); and "Physical Indications of Longevity" (1869).
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