John Ripley Freeman

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John Ripley Freeman
Born (1855-07-27)July 27, 1855
West Bridgton, Maine
Died October 6, 1932(1932-10-06) (aged 77)
Providence, Rhode Island
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Alma mater
Notable awards
  • Elizabeth Farwell née Clark
Chairman of the NACA
In office
President Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by William F. Durand
Succeeded by Charles Doolittle Walcott

John Ripley Freeman (July 27, 1855 – October 6, 1932) was an American civil and hydraulic engineer. Freeman was born in West Bridgton, Maine and received his undergraduate degree from MIT in 1876. He is noted for his efforts to design and build the Charles River Dam, advising the government on dam and lock foundations for the Panama Canal, and influencing the design of MIT's new campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was also the founder and president of Massachusetts Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics during World War I, and served as chairman from 1918–1919.

Freeman was the design engineer for several water projects, including the Lake Spaulding Dam, the Holter Dam, the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, the Charles River Dam, the Keokuk Dam, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and the Panama Canal).[1][2]

Degrees and Honors[edit]

  • Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil Engineering, Boston, Mass., June, 1876.
  • Elected Honorary Member Phi Beta Kappa at Brown University, 1901.
  • Doctor of Science, Brown University, 1904.
  • Doctor of Science, Tufts College, 1905.
  • Member National Academy of Sciences, 1918
  • Doktor Ingenieur, Ehrenhalber, der Sachsischen Technischen Hochschule, Dresden, Germany, June, 1925
  • Honorary Member, Marsaryk Academy of Works, Czecho-Slovakia, 1926.
  • Doctor of Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1927
  • Ehrenbürger (Honorary Member) der Badischen Technischen Hochschule, Karlsruhe, Germany, January, 1929
  • Doctor of Science, Yale University, 1931
  • Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des Forschungs-Institutes in München und Walchcnsee, Bavaria, Germany, January, 1931.
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  1. ^ Mount, Sci-Tech Archives and Manuscript Collections, 1989, p. 49; Jackson, Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West, 2005, p. 285, fn. 33.
  2. ^ "Biographical Memoir of John Ripley Freeman, 1855–1932" (PDF). National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]