March 1, 1862-February 13, 1937

Courtesy, Berton Crandall


EDWARD CURTIS FRANKLIN, president of the American Chemical Society in 1923, was born on March 1, 1862 in Geary City, Kansas. He died at Stanford University on February 13, 1937, having become in the intervening seventy-five years one of America's most honored and best-loved scientists.


As a boy Franklin was definitely not a scholar, though it is understandable that, when contrasted with the attractions to be found outdoors, the primitive educational facilities of frontier schools held but little appeal. Until 1854 Kansas had been in the hands of the Indians, so that the country Franklin grew up in was not yet spoiled by ruthless civilization. His brief autobiographical sketch—describing his boyhood pleasures of hunting, fishing, swimming in the Missouri (even then noted for being muddy), collecting fossils from the River's limestone banks, and the seemingly infinite variety of


An earlier version of this article appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society 71(1949): 1-5. The portrait of Edward Curtis Franklin that appears as this memoir's frontispiece was painted in 1928 by Rem Remsen, son of the noted chemist, Ira Remsen. It is reproduced here from a photograph furnished to the Academy by Franklin's daughter, Mrs. Anna Franklin Barnett, in 1937.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement