Memoir

Alexander Dallas Bache

July 19, 1806 - February 17, 1867


Election Year: 1863
Membership Type: Member

Alexander Dallas Bache was a charter member of the Academy and its first president, a position Bache held from the Academy's founding in 1863 until his death in 1867. Trained as an engineer at the National Military Academy at West Point, Bache was invited to the chair of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania not long after his graduation. In 1843 Bache was made superintendent of the United States Coast Survey. Although it was initiated in 1817, by 1843 the survey was still largely incomplete. Bache organized and oversaw operations, putting to use such then-new technologies as the electric telegraph and photography. As president of the new Academy, Bache was instrumental in setting the institution on a firm foundation.

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