Edward Loranus Rice

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Edward Loranus Rice
Born (1871-03-18)March 18, 1871
Middletown, Connecticut
Died February 4, 1960(1960-02-04) (aged 88)
Delaware, Ohio, United States
Residence Delaware, Ohio
Nationality American
Alma mater Wesleyan University, University of Munich
Known for

debate on biological evolution with William Jennings Bryan;

scientific consultant to Clarence Darrow before the Scopes trial
Spouse(s) Sarah Langton Abbott (m. 1901)
Children Charlotte Rice Roden (1904-1990)
William Abbott Rice (1912-1991)

Edward Loranus Rice (1871-1960) was a biologist and educator who served as the acting president of Ohio Wesleyan University. He was best known for his 1924 debate with William Jennings Bryan on the topic of biological evolution and serving as a scientific consultant to Clarence Darrow before the 1925 Scopes trial.

Early life and education[edit]

Edward Loranus Rice was born in Middletown, Connecticut, March 18, 1871 to William North Rice and Elizabeth Wing (Crowell) Rice. He received his A.B. degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 1892. He earned two doctoral degrees, including a Ph.D. degree in Zoology in 1895, at the University of Munich and a Sc.D. in 1927, from Wesleyan University.

Academic career[edit]

Dr. Rice began his 50 consecutive years of teaching as Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University in 1896. He soon became a Professor of Biology and Geology at Allegheny College 1896-98 before becoming a Professor of Biology at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1898 and serving until his retirement in 1941. He served as Acting President of Ohio Wesleyan University from 1938 to 1939.[1] After his retirement he returned to teaching as a War Emergency Professor at Ohio Wesleyan from 1942-1945. He was Visiting Professor at Ohio State University Lake Laboratory on Lake Erie at Cedar Point, Sandusky Bay [2] during the summers of 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, and 1912.

Rice was honored with membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Sigma Xi, and the Eclectic Society. He elected a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) of which he was Vice President and Chairman of the Biological Sciences Section in 1903. He held memberships in American Society of Naturalists, American Genetic Association, American Association of Anatomists, and American Society of Zoologists. He was a Fellow in the Zoology Section, and President of the Ohio Academy of Sciences from 1906 to 1907, and served as Secretary from 1912 to 1923.

Like his father William North Rice, Dr. Rice was most noted for his work to reconcile scientific observations with religious faith. At the 1924 meeting of the AAAS, he debated William Jennings Bryan on biological evolution and was a scientific consultant for Clarence Darrow before the 1925 Scopes trial.[3] He is also well known for authoring a textbook, An Introduction to Biology in 1935, and he contributed numerous papers to scientific journals.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Rice, E.L. (1908). Gill development in Mytilus. Biological Bulletin 14(2):61-77.
  • Rice, E.L. (1916). The quarter-centennial anniversary of the Ohio Academy of Sciences. Science 43(1102):217-218.
  • Rice, E.L. (1920). The development of the skull of the skink, Eumeces quinquelineatus L. Journal of Morphology 34(1):120-243.
  • Rice, E.L. (1925). Darwin and Bryan: a study in method. Science 61(1575):243-250.
  • Rice, E.L. (1935). An Introduction to Biology. Ginn and Company, Boston. 602pp.

Family life[edit]

Dr. Rice married Sarah Langton Abbott on March 20, 1901 and they had two children, Charlotte Rice and William Abbott Rice. Dr. Rice died February 4, 1960. Upon his death, his body was donated to the University of Chicago College of Medicine, but a memorial monument was erected at Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.[4] Rice's son, William Abbott Rice (1912-1991) was a professor of geology at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio[5] His daughter Charlotte Rice (1904-1990) married political scientist and Princeton and Denison University professor Albert Andrews Roden (1906-2002).


Edward Loranus Rice was a direct descendant of Edmund Rice, an English immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony, as follows:[6][7]

    • William Rice (1788–1863),[8] son of
    • Nathan Rice (1760–1838), son of
    • John Rice (1704–1771), son of
        • Ephraim Rice (1665–1732), son of
        • Thomas Rice (1625–1681), son of


  1. ^ "Rice for OWU". Time Magazine 8 Aug 1938. 1938-08-08. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Ohio State University Lake (Stone) Laboratory History". Ohio State University. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Gilbert, J. (1997). William Jennings Bryan, Scientist". pp. 22-35 In: Redeeming Culture:American Religion in An Age of Science. University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "1960 Annual Report of Ohio Academy of Sciences with E.L. Rice Obituary" (PDF). Ohio Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Reminiscences of William A. Rice". Alliance, Ohio Oral History Project, Rodman Public Library, Alliance Ohio. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Edmund Rice (1638) Association, 2009. Descendants of Edmund Rice: The First Nine Generations.
  7. ^ "Edmund Rice descendants: First six generations". Edmund Rice (1638) Association, Inc. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "William Rice". Edmund Rice (1638) Association. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 

External links[edit]