|Born||December 31, 1824
North East, New York
|Died||February 19, 1891 (aged 66)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|Known for||Adamites and Preadamites: or, A Popular Discussion (1878), Pre-Adamite hypothesis|
Alexander Winchell (December 31, 1824, North East, New York - February 19, 1891, Ann Arbor, Michigan) was a United States geologist, who contributed to this field mainly as an educator, and a popular lecturer and author. His views on evolution aroused controversy among his contemporaries. Today the racism of these views is more cause for comment.
Winchell graduated from the Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut, in 1847. He then taught at Pennington Male Seminary of New Jersey, Amenia Seminary of New York (where he had previously been a student), an academy in Newbern, Alabama, and the Mesopotamia Female Seminary of Eutaw, the last of which was founded by him. He became president of the Masonic University at Selma, Alabama, in 1853, but in 1854 entered the service of the University of Michigan as professor of physics and civil engineering. Eventually he became professor of geology and paleontology at Michigan. He stayed at Michigan until 1872.
In 1859, Winchell was appointed as State Geologist of Michigan for the newly formed second geological survey of the state. He held the post until 1863 when the state did not appropriate funding to continue the survey. The survey was resumed in 1869, and Winchell was reappointed in April. Owing to conflicting opinions between Winchell and his superiors, he resigned in 1871.
In 1872, he was appointed chancellor of Syracuse University. The depression of 1873 affected both his personal finances and those of Syracuse, and these troubles led him to resign this position in 1874. The year 1875 found him a professor of geology and zoology at Vanderbilt University. There his views on evolution, as expressed in his book Adamites and Preadamites: or, A Popular Discussion (1878), were not acceptable to the University administration because they diverged from Biblical teaching. Today the views on the "inferiority of the Negro" (quote from his 1878 book) would probably have been the focus of controversy. In any case, he was obligated to resign in 1878. He then returned to the University of Michigan, where he was professor of geology and paleontology.
His work in geology was not so significant as his teaching and popular lectures and writing in this field. He was much concerned with reconciling science and religion.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alexander Winchell (geologist).|
- Sketches of Creation
- The Doctrine of Evolution
- The Geology of the Stars
- Reconciliation of Science and Religion
- Sparks from a Geologist's Hammer
- World-Life: a Comparative Geology
- Geological Excursions
- Geological Studies
- Proof of Negro inferiority
- "Sketch of Alexander Winchell". The Popular science monthly 41: 837. 1892.
- George P. Merrill (1936). "Winchell, Alexander". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Beach, Chandler B., ed. (1914). "Winchell, Alexander". The New Student's Reference Work. Chicago: F. E. Compton and Co.
- "Chancellors Papers: Alexander Winchell". Syracuse University Archives. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Segall, R. Thomas (1980s). A Brief History of the Michigan Geological Survey. Michigan Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources. p. 2. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012.
- Michon Scott (2011). "Rocky Road: Alexander Winchell". strangescience.net. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- "Proof of Negro inferiority". OCLC Classify. Retrieved May 29, 2013.