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Joseph Le Conte Biography

Joseph Le Conte Image

LE CONTE, Joseph (1823-1901). An eminent American geologist, the son of Louis Le Conte. He was born in Liberty Co., Ga., and graduated at Franklin College (University of Georgia) in 1841. After receiving a medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City (1845), he returned to his native State to practice at Macon. In 1850 he entered the Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard, for the purpose of studying under Agassiz; the next year, after graduating B.S., he accompanied Agassiz on a scientific and exploring expedition to Florida. He served successively as professor of natural science in Oglethorpe College, professor of natural history in Franklin College, and' from 1857 to 1869 as professor of chemistry and geology in the University of South Carolina. In 1869 he was appointed to the chair of geology in the University of California, which office he retained until his death. Professor Le Conte did much to popularize the study of geology in America and also contributed many valuable philosophical papers to geological literature. He was elected vice president of the International Geological Congress In 1891, in the following year president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 1896 president of the Geological Society of America. The more important of his publications are: Religion and Science (1873); Elements of Geology (1878; 5th ed., rev. by H. L. Fairchild, 1903); Sight (1881); Compend of Geology (1884); Evolution: Its Nature, its Evidence, and its Relation to Religious Thought (1887). Besides important papers contributed to geological journals, he wrote many essays on biology, philosophy, optics,. and other subjects. Consult S. B., Christy in Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, vol. xxxi. (New York, 1902), including bibliography, and Autobiography, edited by W. D. Armes (ib., 1903). A review of his geologic work is printed in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, vol. xxvi (ib., 1915).

The New International Encyclopaedia, Vol. XIII (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1920) 698.