Edwin James (scientist)

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Edwin James
Born (1797-08-27)27 August 1797
Weybridge, Vermont
Died 28 October 1861(1861-10-28) (aged 64)
Burlington, Iowa
Nationality American
Fields Geology, botany
Alma mater Middlebury College

Edwin P. James (27 August 1797 – 28 October 1861) was a 19th-century American botanist, geographer and geologist who explored the American West. James completed the first recorded ascent of Pikes Peak.

Born in Weybridge, Vermont, to Daniel and Mary (Emmes) James, he prepared for college at Addison County Grammar School before entering Middlebury College in 1812. After receiving his A.B. in 1816, James moved to Albany, New York, to continue study in medicine (with his brother Daniel James), botany with John Torrey, and geology with Amos Eaton.[1] He married Clara Rogers on 17 April 1827; they had one child who was also named Edwin.[2]

In 1820, James was appointed to Major Stephen Harriman Long's expedition "from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains"; he served as botanist and geologist and is considered one of the first scientists to explore the Rocky Mountains and environs. James lead the first known ascent of Pikes Peak in 1820.[3] He made the first ascension of James Peak, which was later named in his honor.[4] In the Pikes Peak area, he discovered the healing benefits of the mineral waters found in what is now Manitou Springs, Colorado.[5] The expedition notes were recorded in the 1823 publication of Expedition to the Rocky Mountains 1818-1819, which he authored.[6] James was appointed a surgeon in the U.S. Army, serving at outposts on the American frontier. He also served as an Indian agent and learned the Ojibwe language, taking on the role of an amateur linguist, naming the pidgin Broken Oghibbeway and editing A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, published 1830.[7]

After leaving government service, James settled in Iowa and published nine books, including the first translation of the Bible in Ojibwe. He died on 28 October 1861 in Burlington, Iowa.


  1. ^ http://coloradosherpa.net/home/edwin-james/
  2. ^ Wiley, Edgar J. (1917). Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Middlebury College, Middlebury College.
  3. ^ http://historicmorrison.org/history/Pioneers/Stories/EdwinJamessPeak.php
  4. ^ Dziezynski, James (1 August 2012). Best Summit Hikes in Colorado: An Opinionated Guide to 50+ Ascents of Classic and Little-Known Peaks from 8,144 to 14,433 Feet. Wilderness Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-89997-713-3. 
  5. ^ Historic Manitou Springs, Colorado - 2013 Visitors Guide. The Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau & Office of Economic Development. 2013. p. 6. 
  6. ^ http://middarchive.middlebury.edu/u?/diglectarc,172
  7. ^ http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupid?key=olbp29751
  8. ^ "Author Query for 'E.James'". International Plant Names Index. 

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