Monday, August 14, 2006

Edwin Lincoln Moseley -- Teacher, Scientist, Scholar


One of the most interesting characters to contribute to Sandusky's history is Edwin Lincoln Moseley, a science teacher at Sandusky High School, and later one of the original professors on the science faculty at what is now Bowling Green State University.

Edwin Moseley was born in Michigan in 1865 and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1885, the youngest in his class. He joined the faculty of Sandusky High School in 1889, after he returned from participating in a scientific expedition that took him across the Pacific to Hawaii, the Philippines, China, and Japan. (Here is SHS class of 1912, with faculty. E.L. Moseley is in the back row.)
While at Sandusky High School, Moseley was perhaps most admired for inspiring his students to learn through direct observation and to develop independent thinking.
He used both the school laboratory (one of his SHS physics classes is shown here) and field trips to teach his students -- he frequently brought his students on scientific explorations of Sandusky Bay and the Lake Erie Islands, to study the geology and flora of the region. While a teacher at SHS, he operated a natural history museum in the school building, managing a collection of about 17,000 specimens (an exhibit area of the museum is pictured below).

While in Sandusky, his reputation as a scientist and a scholar became so great that, in 1914, he was invited to become the founding science faculty (yes, faculty -- he was the only science professor when he started there) at the new Bowling Green State Normal College (now Bowling Green State University). He continued his research and teaching in Bowling Green until his retirement in 1936. He died in 1948, leaving a legacy of strong scholarship and devoted students.

For more information about Professor Moseley: Relda E. Niederhofer and Ronald L. Stuckey have produced a book that may be the definitive biography of the professor, Edwin Lincoln Moseley: Naturalist, Scientist, Educator; the book is available in the Biography section of the Sandusky Library and as a reference book in the Genealogy department.
The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has a small collection of papers and publications by and about Professor Moseley, including many of his scientific publications (such as: Sandusky Flora; Trees, Stars, and Birds; Lake Erie: Floods, Lake Levels, Northeast Storms; and others) and a small number of letters and documents he wrote. A finding aid to the collection is available; contact the library reference department (419-625-3834) or the Archives Librarian for more information. Additionally, The Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University holds a collection of Edwin Lincoln Moseley papers, primarily covering his time in Bowling Green.

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