WILLIAM WILLARD DANIELLS


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 967-968

WILLIAM WILLARD DANIELLS, M.S., Professor of Chemistry in the University of Wisconsin; he was born in West Bloomfield, Oakland Co., Mich., on the 10th day of March 1840; his early education was obtained in the schools of Detroit and Wacousta, Mich., and at a private academy in Lansing; in 1860, he entered the Michigan Agricultural College, and graduated in 1864 with the degree of Bachelor of Science; for two years thereafter, he was assistant to the Professor of Chemistry in that institution. Prof. DANIELLS spent a portion of the year 1866 and the two following years in the chemical laboratory of the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University - then a special training school for chemists - under the instruction of Dr. Wolcott GIBBS; in February 1868, he was elected to the Professorship of Agriculture in the University of Wisconsin; in 1869, analytical chemistry also was included in his department; in 1875, his chair was changed to chemistry and agriculture; it was given increased prominence, and, after the present season, 1880, his professorship includes only chemistry. Prior to 1868, science-teaching in the University had been only lecture-room instruction; Prof. DANIELLS immediately planned to secure a chemical laboratory, and the only available place was the basement of the south wing of University Hall; during the spring of 1868, he gave laboratory instruction in chemistry daily to a single student, using an old carpenter's work-bench for a laboratory-table, in a room which was literally a cellar with a board floor; the magnificent arrangements of Science Hall afford a happy contrast to that humble beginning; the building-up of the Department of Chemistry to its present advanced position has been Prof. DANIELLS' successful work in the University. He was married June 22, 1871, to Miss Hontas A. PEABODY, of Faribault, Minn.; she is a native of Georgia, and graduated in 1867 from Mt. Holyoke, Mass.; they have two children - Ralph P. and Mildred; their peasant home is on Carroll street, near Langdon. Prof. DANIELLS, upon his arrival in the city in 1868, instituted a series of daily observations and records of meteorological phenomena, which were continued three times daily under his charge up to October 1878, when a United States Signal Service Station was established in Madison; in 1873, he received the appointment of Chemist to the State Geological Survey, and did most of the mineral analyses and assays; such work, although occupying little space upon the printed page, requires much time and skill to accomplish; the Regents have published reports of his valuable experiments upon the University farm. Prof. DANIELLS is a member of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, and has read before it several papers of marked ability; he has also made many addresses treating of the varied applications of science to agriculture; an extended notice of his scientific and literary labors will be found in the chapter on Authors; through all his papers there runs a vein pf practicality - of matter of fact - to be expected of a devotee of science. Under a law recently passed, Gov. Smith in 1880 appointed Prof. DANIELLS State Analyst; he has long been recognized as one of the most successful instructors in the University, both in the class-room and laboratory, his principal characteristics as a teacher being, perhaps, his extreme accuracy and faithfulness; students and visitors declare him a decided success in laboratory instruction; to all questions relating to his specialties, his answers are concise, ready and reliable; but, socially and professionally, he is without ostentation or pride of opinion; he is the appreciated head of a department having unsurpassed facilities for practical instruction in chemistry.


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