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Ebenezer Emmons
(1799-1863)

Ebenezer Emmons (1799-1863) was an important American Geologist and Medical Doctor. Emmons is considered by some to be a founding father of American Geology. His work was crucial in developing a nomenclature and context for American geology as distinct from European geology. A graduate of Williams College, Ebenezer studied medicine and, as a secondary focus, geology. After graduate he set up a medical practice in Chester, Massachusetts, but never truly abandoned his love for geology. Inspired by the work of Amos Eaton, Emmons enrolled at Rensselear School (Rensselear Polytechnic), where Amos taught, to further his geological studies. After graduating, Emmons wrote several important geological treatises, textbooks, and essays. In the process he is said to have named both the Adirondacks and the Taconic Mountains. One interesting episode in Emmons life was his dispute with James Hall. At the time Emmons was chief of the New York State Geological Survey. Emmons and Hall had a very public disagreement over the dating of the Taconic Orogeny. Emmons believed that the event dated to the Cambrian age while Hall contended with the orthodoxy that the Orogeny was Ordovician. Though ultimately proven correct, the dispute resulted in a court hearing in Halls favor. Emmons was prohibited from practicing Geology in New York State. Instead he became the First Geologist of North Carolina where he lived out the remainder of his days. Click here for a list of maps by Ebenezer Emmons.

Rare maps by Ebenezer Emmons currently for sale.

Rare maps by Ebenezer Emmons in the Geographicus Antique Map Archive.

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