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Introduction Money for Science It is a truth universally acknowledged that a scientist in possession of experience and expertise must be in search of funding. Today supporting someone to do science is routine. Scientists abound in universities, private foundations, government agencies, and corporate research and development laboratories. Science is a job, and scientists are professionals. For most of the nineteenth century, neither was true. Science had few established sources of support,and the descriptive noun scientist, a term coined in Britain in the 1830s, was rarely used in America until late in the century. Nineteenth-century men of science were becoming professionals, and key to that process was money— money to live on and money to do science.How American men of science made a living by doing science is a crucial historical question.1 One place to start looking for an answer is the geological and natural history surveys of the first third of the nineteenth century. Organized at both the state and federal levels, surveys were a form of government patronage providing salaried positions to a large number of geologists, chemists, botanists, zoologists , and mineralogists. During the 1830s and 1840s, surveys were the training grounds, so to speak, for the first generation of American men of science. (Women at this time were consciously excluded from surveys and largely from science in general.)2 Surveys stimulated the growth of scientific disciplines as well as the development of a national scientific community.3 They also provided a measure of legitimation by putting science at the service of government and the public. Surveys were thus seeds around which a form of professional American science began to crystallize.4 The process, however, was halting, largely because surveys were short-lived. Once completed, surveyors faced the daunting task of finding further employment as men of science. And there were not many options. In this regard, the situation was different from that in Britain, where there was an array of opportunities for getting paid to do science, including writing, editing, reviewing, instrument making, and public lecturing.5 That kind of scientific work was not available inAmerica because there was not such a well-developed market for the 1 display of knowledge. Nor was there a large class of wealthy patrons.As Alexander Dallas Bache, director of the U.S. Coast Survey, put it,“we have no rich aristocracy or extended middle ranks to be enlisted in the cause [of science].”6 Bache’s comments on class point to another distinction. In Britain and continental Europe, men of science were often men of means—in a word, gentlemen .7 In America, men of science came from modest backgrounds; they were the sons of ministers,lawyers,physicians,teachers,and small farmers.8 If Americans were going to do science, they were going to have to work at it. Making money doing science required initiative, luck, and no small degree of self-promotion, besides the requisite experience and expertise. In other words, nineteenth-century American men of science had to be entrepreneurs. Accordingly, many became active lobbyists for the creation of, or appointments to, new state and federal surveys. Some sought teaching positions, although these did not provide much time,money,or encouragement to do research.Still others opted for the path chosen by William W. Mather and James Hall. In 1838 Mather and Hall were geologists working on the New York State Geological and Natural History Survey. Because they knew the survey would come to an end, they decided to set up a business doing geology, and they issued an advertisement of their professional services. Minerals, Mines, Ores, &c. Examined ______ Messrs. W. W. Mather, and James Hall, Geologists, have established an office for the analysis and assay of minerals and ores; for the examination of mines, mining districts, mineral beds, quarries and quarry stones; for communicating information upon the best methods of smelting and working ores and minerals to bring them to a marketable state; and for imparting all the various knowledge which is a necessary preliminary to the successful prosecution of mining enterprises. So many mining operations are undertaken through mistaken views of their probable productiveness, and even of the nature of the mineral ore, that it is deemed necessary for the public interest that an office similar to that mentioned should be established. This professional knowledge is as important to the community, to prevent the undertaking of mining and metallurgic operations where they would be unproductive, as to...


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