Article ID: CBB844814529

The Newberry-Whittlesey controversy and its protagonists: background, arguments, and outcome of a bitter feud (2022)


In 1869 a bitter feud broke out between two preeminent Ohio geologists, John Strong Newberry (1822–1892), and Colonel Charles Whittlesey (1806–1886), beginning with the naming of Newberry as State Geologist for Ohio, a position that both had lobbied for. The two protagonists had much in common, including their interests in Ohio geology, but they also had different geological and class backgrounds, interests, and talents. Whittlesey waged an unremitting campaign against the organization and emphasis of the Newberry Survey for more than a decade. This long battle played out on the political and public stage, with an exchange of acrimonious letters in newspapers across Ohio. Some of Whittlesey’s charges, such as absenteeism, were valid, and Newberry’s replies were overly strident. Newberry had supporters, including James Hall, but Whittlesey gained the support of Leo Lesquereux and Ebenezer B. Andrews, as well as many legislators and at least one influential newspaper. Whittlesey and Newberry made many contributions to geology and both have important geological features named for them. Both are buried in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

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Authors & Contributors
Alice Kim
Millefiorini, Federica
Nicole C. Lautze
Young, Davis A.
Williams, Gary C.
Sinkankas, John
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences
History of Science
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
American Studies
University of Oklahoma
University of Texas Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Fabrizio Serra Editore
Earth sciences
Controversies and disputes
Science and politics
Oil; natural gas
Petroleum industry
Maclure, William
Tyson, Philip T.
Stoppani, Antonio
Winchell, Newton Horace
Silliman, Benjamin
Lane, Alfred Church
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
United States
North America
Ohio (U.S.)
Hawaii (U.S.)
California Academy of Sciences
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Princeton University
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

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