Henry James Anderson

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Henry James Anderson
Born February 6, 1799
New York City, New York
Died October 19, 1875
Lahore, India
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Alma mater Columbia College
Known for Participation in the United States Dead Sea exploration expedition
Scientific career
Fields Astronomer, geologist and mathematician
Institutions Columbia College

Henry James Anderson (February 6, 1799 – October 19, 1875) was an American scientist and educator. He was born in New York City, and graduated from Columbia College in 1818 he subsequently studied medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He did not practice medicine for long however, instead devoting himself to scientific and literary pursuits. He was appointed professor of mathematics and astronomy at Columbia College in 1825, when he was twenty-six years old; he retained his chair for twenty-five years. Anderson was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1831.[1] He married Fanny Da Ponte, the daughter of Lorenzo Da Ponte. They had two children Elbert Ellery and Edward Henry. In 1848, he accompanied the United States Dead Sea exploration expedition, commanded by Captain William F. Lynch, as a geologist. His reports from the expedition, Geological Reconnaissance of Part of the Holy Land, were published by the United States government in 1848 and 1849. Under the aegis of the American Geographical and Statistical Society, Anderson circulated a petition urging the United States to promote Jewish colonization in Palestine, part of the Jewish restoration movement that flowered at the time.[2]

Anderson converted to Catholicism in 1849; he was active in his new faith for the rest of his life. He was made president of the Particular Council of New York in 1856, and later the head of the Supreme Council in 1860. He visited Pope Pius XI in Rome several times, and was eventually made a Knight Commander of the order of St. Gregory the Great. He made a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Rome in 1875; afterwards, he travelled to Australia in order to observe a transit of Venus. He planned to return home by way of India, but, after mountain-climbing in the Himalayas, he died of a disease in Lahore on October 19. He is buried in a vault under the Church of the Madonna in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a church in whose construction he had been involved.


  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Michael Oren (2007). Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present (New York: W.W. Norton & Company) pp. 140-141.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Meehan, Thomas Francis (1907). "Henry James Anderson". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  • Russo, Joseph Louis. Lorenzo Da Ponte Poet and Adventurer. Columbia University studies in romance philology and literature. New York: AMS Press, 1966. googlebooks.com Accessed October 15, 2007
  • Michael Oren (2007). Power, Faith, and Fantasy: The United States in the Middle East, 1776 to 2006 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company) ISBN 0-393-05826-3