Henry Rogers United States

Biography of Henry Rogers

Henry Rogers
Henry Rogers

Henry Darwin Rogers (1808-1866) was Professor of Natural History from 1857 until his death in 1866, a post he held while also serving as the first Keeper of the Hunterian Museum.

Born in Philadelphia, Rogers was given the middle name 'Darwin' as his father, an Irish immigrant, was an admirer of Erasmus Darwin, natural philosopher, physiologist, slavery abolitionist and later grandfather of Sir Charles Darwin. Henry and his brother William Barton Rogers, who went on to found the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were brought up as supporters of the Scottish abolitionist Fanny Wright, who had visited the United States advocating for universal education, emancipation of slaves, equal rights, sexual freedom and other ideas radical at the time. In spite of this William Barton Rogers was an owner of slaves and expressed views in support of slavery. He later changed his stance and became a supporter of Abraham Lincoln.

Rogers was taught at home and studied briefly at the College of William and Mary, before founding two high schools with his brother.

Henry Rogers began his career as a professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1835 he became Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Pennsylvania and head of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey.

He became a freelance geologist and in 1855 moved to Scotland. He was appointed to the Chair of Natural History in 1857 and took residence at Professor's Square after the 1870 move to Gilmorehill.

In 1859, Rogers took on John Young as Assistant Keeper of the Hunterian. Together, in 1863, they undertook fieldwork in the structure of granite on the Isle of Arran.

Henry Darwin Rogers died on the 29th May 1866, at the age of 57, shortly after returning from a visit to his brother in Boston.


Henry Rogers

Born 1 August 1808, Philadelphia, USA.
Died 29 May 1866.
GU Degree:
University Link: Professor
Occupation categories: geologists
Record last updated: 11th Mar 2020

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