Jacob Whitman Bailey

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Jacob Whitman Bailey (1811–1857) was an American naturalist, known as the pioneer in microscopic research in America (microscopy).[1]:9-10

He was born in Auburn, Mass., and in 1832 graduated at West Point, where, after 1834, he was successively assistant professor, acting professor, and professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology. He devised various improvements in the construction of the microscope and made an extensive collection of microscopic objects and of algæ, which he left to the Boston Society of Natural History. In 1857 he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a member of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, a precursor to the Smithsonian Institution. He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1845.[2] Bailey and his son William were survivors of the steamboat Henry Clay disaster on July 28, 1852, though his wife and daughter, both named Maria, were among the casualties. He died on February 26, 1857, at the beginning of his term of office as Association for Advancement of Science President.

He wrote many articles on scientific subjects for the American Journal of Science and for scientific societies, a report on the infusorial fossils of California, and a valuable volume of Microscopical Sketches, containing 3000 original figures. A sketch if his life is given in the American Journal of Science and Arts, volume xxv, (New Haven, 1847).

It was Jacob Whitman Bailey that Lieut. Matthew Fontaine Maury wrote a letter to inquiring as to the material from the sea floor brought up with Lt. John Mercer Brook's deep-sea soundings and core samples. From that it was determined that the sea floor where the trans-Atlantic Cable was laid because the samples showed Lieut. M F Maury that his "Telegraphic Plateau" was perfect for the underwater cable. The samples Maury sent proved the "Telegraphic Plateau" samples were non-abrasive for such a cable to be laid.

Source: Several editions from 1855-1864 that were improved with time as more information was collected entitled "Physical Geography of the Sea" by Matthew Fontaine Maury. Specifically I cite this one: "The Physical Geography of the Sea, and its Meteorology" Eleventh Edition. By M. F. Maury, LL.D. Illustrated with numerous charts and diagrams. SAMPSON LOW, SON & MARSTON, 14 LUDGATE HILL. 1864.

This source is also a full book transcription on https://en.wikisource.org

Page 317 section §587. Bailey's letter.

[Professor Bailey's reply to Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury on deep sea core samples using Lt. John Mercer Brook's deep sea sounding device and core sampling device.

Also see pages 345+ ]


  1. ^ Makers of American Botany, Harry Baker Humphrey, Ronald Press Company, Library of Congress Card Number 61-18435
  2. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Author Query for 'Bailey'". International Plant Names Index.