Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
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BLODGET, Lorin, physicist, born near Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, 25 May 1823. He was educated at Jamestown Academy and at Geneva (now Hobart) College. In November 1851, he became assistant at the Smithsonian Institution in charge of researches on climatology, and at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Cleveland in 1853, he presented seven papers on atmospheric physics. These early contributions were among the first ever published in this country on that subject, and were of value in establishing the science. From 1852 till 18;56 he was associated with the engineers on the Pacific railroad surveys, and directed the determination of altitudes and gradients by means of the barometer. The latter part of this period was spent in the war office, to which he had been transferred. In 1857 he published "The Climatology of the United States and of the Temperate Latitudes of the North American Continent," which was the most valuable contribution on that subject ever issued in this country. It was extensively circulated, and 500 copies sent to Europe were disposed of in six months. The book was highly complimented by Humboldt. In 1863 he was placed in charge of the financial and statistical reports of the treasury department, and in that capacity published several volumes of official reports. From 1865 till 1877 he was United States appraiser-at-large of customs, and during 1874-'5 he was special assistant of the treasury department. While connected with the government service he wrote reports on finance, revenue, industrial progress, and census of industry. From 1858 till 1865 he was secretary of the Philadelphia Board of Trade, and from 1859 till 1864 the editor of the "North American," published there. His publications include 150 bound volumes and 350 pamphlets, with thousands of editorial articles. The most important of these are probably the accounts of his researches on climatology, and were published by the government. His "Commercial and Financial Resources of the United States" (1864) was circulated to the extent of over 30,000 copies, was reprinted in Nuremberg, Germany, and did much to sustain the credit of the United States in the money markets of the old world. The industrial census of Philadelphia has been taken four times by him, and he has resided in that city since 1857.
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