St. Elmo Brady
|Saint Elmo Brady|
December 22, 1884|
|Died||December 25, 1966
|Alma mater||Fisk University (BA)
University of Illinois (MS), (PhD)
Saint Elmo Brady (December 22, 1884 – December 25, 1966) was the first African American to obtain a Ph.D. degree in chemistry in the United States. He received his doctorate at the University of Illinois in 1916.
Saint Elmo Brady was born on December 22, 1884 in Louisville, Kentucky. Greatly influenced by Thomas W. Talley, a pioneer in the teaching of science, Brady received his bachelor's degree from Fisk University in 1908 at the age of 24, and immediately began teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His abilities were acknowledged in 1912 when they offered a scholarship to the University of Illinois to engage in graduate studies.
Brady published three scholarly abstracts in Science in 1914-15 on his work with Derick. He also collaborated with Professor George Beal on a paper published in Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry titled, "The Hydrochloride Method for the Determination of Alkaloids." Professor Brady also authored three monographs on Household Chemistry for Girls.
Brady completed a M.S. in chemistry in 1914 and carried out his Ph.D. thesis work at Noyes Laboratory under the direction of Professor Clarence Derick, writing a dissertation in 1916 titled "The Divalent Oxygen Atom."
Many years later, he told his students that when he went to graduate school, "they began with 20 whites and one other and ended, in 1916 with six whites and one other."
Brady was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, which he received from the University of Illinois in 1916.
During his time at Illinois, Brady became the first African American admitted to the university's chemical honor society, Phi Lambda Upsilon, (1914), and he was one of the first African Americans to be inducted into Sigma Xi, the science honorary society (1915).
After completing his graduate studies, Brady taught at Tuskegee University from 1916 to 1920. Brady accepted a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1920. In 1927 he moved to Fisk University to chair the school's chemistry department. He remained at Fisk for 25 years until his retirement in 1952. After his retirement from Fisk, he taught at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. Brady's legacy was his establishment of strong undergraduate curricula, graduate programs, and fund raising development for four historically black colleges and universities. In conjunction with faculty from the University of Illinois, he established a summer program in infrared spectroscopy, which was open to faculty from all colleges and universities.
Talley-Brady Hall on the Fisk campus is named for Brady and another Fisk alumni, Thomas Talley.
Personal life and death
Brady married Myrtle Travers and they had two sons, Robert and St. Elmo Brady, Jr. who worked as a physician.
St. Elmo Brady died in 1966 on Christmas Day in Washington, D.C.
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- "St. Elmo Brady". Chemical Heritage Foundation.
- "Historic Markers Across Tennessee". Latitude 34 North. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- "Brady, Saint Elmo (1884-1966)". BlackPast.org. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- "Edward Marion Augustus Chandler: Chemist". The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences. Retrieved 1 December 2016.