Archive:Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896)

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Archives > Archive:Biographies > Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896)

Prof. J.D. Whitney, State Geologist of California - 1863. Silas Selleck, photographic artist...San Francisco.

Massachusetts-born scientist who became the state geologist of California in 1860 and made an extensive survey of the land with William H. Brewer, Clarence King, Lorenzo Yates and others. His published studies included The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California (1880). Mt. Whitney was named in his honor.

American geologist who measured (1864) the highest peak in the continental United States, which was later named after him.

Mount Whitney, the highest peak (4,418 m/14,494 ft) in the conterminous United States, is located in the Sierra Nevada range, in Sequoia National Park, California. The first white persons to see the peak were Josiah D. Whitney and his geological surveying party in 1864.

From [ttp:// The Free Dictionary]:

Josiah Dwight Whitney (November 23, 1819-August 15, 1896) was a professor of geology Geology at Harvard University (from 1865), and was chief of the California Geological Survey (1860-1874).

While chief of the Survey, he organized a eminent team of geologists and geographers to survey the entire state of California, including the first scientific survey of the Sierra Nevada. Whitney left the fieldwork to his team, while publishing their results as the Geological Survey of California. He also published The Yosemite Book, which advocated protecting Yosemite Valley as a national park.

Whitney is probably best known for his scientific feud with John Muir. Whitney concluded that Yosemite Valley was a graben, a downdropped block of land. In 1871, Muir concluded (from his fieldwork) that it was a glacial valley. Muir was correct. Whitney mocked Muir and tried to suppress any evidence of glaciation in Yosemite. Whitney never admitted that he was wrong.

Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States, was named after Whitney.

He was the brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney.

Portrait of Josiah Dwight Whitney:

His ancestry: Josiah Dwight8 Whitney - (Josiah Dwight7, Abel6, Aaron5, Moses4, Moses3, Richard2, John1)

Copyright © 1999, 2006, The Whitney Research Group