Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DOUGLAS, Silas Hamilton, chemist, born in Predonia, New York, 16 October 1816. He was educated at the academy in Fredonia, and then entered the office of Dr. Zina Pitcher in Detroit, Michigan, for the study of medicine, after which he was graduated in Baltimore as a physician, and entered on the practice of his profession in Dearborn, Michigan In 1844 he was appointed instructor in chemistry in the University of Michigan, and at once was given charge of that department, Dr. Douglas Houghton, the professor of chemistry, being absent in the prosecution of the geological survey of Michigan. Two years later he was elected professor of chemistry, and took part in the establishment of the department of medicine, which was organized in 1848. He secured at that time the promise of a chemical laboratory in the medical department, but its fulfillment was delayed until 1856, when he was given a separate building, provided with tables for twenty-six students, at a time when few of the older Colleges of this country, and not many universities in Europe, were supplied with laboratories. Dr. Douglas served in charge of the chemical department of the University of Michigan for thirty-three years, during which time his labors were directed to the establishment of a laboratory of instruction, as the object of his life, a purpose in which he was eminently successful. As a result of his efforts the laboratory through successive enlargements reached a capacity for 270 students in 1880. He has been connected with various scientific societies, both as active and corresponding member. His publications include, " Tables for Qualitative Chemical Analysis" (Ann Arbor, 1864); and, jointly with Professor Albert B. Prescott, "Qualitative Chemical Analysis" (New York, 1873; 3d ed., 1880).
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