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1 April 2013 Origin of the Kansas Academy of Science
John D. Parker
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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article was written by Dr. John Dempster Parker (1831–1909), co-founder and first Secretary of the Kansas Academy of Science, and published in the Kansas City Review of Science and Industry in 1884. Parker taught at Lincoln College in 1867-69 as the Professor of Natural Science and Mathematics. At the time, the college was small, and his courses included Greek, Physics, Analytical Geometry and Surveying. One of Prof. Parker's early scientific accomplishments was the 1868 publication of an article in the American Journal of Science and Arts about the April, 1867 earthquake in Kansas. He resigned his position in August, 1869, less than a year after the school became Washburn College and later served as pastor of a Congregational church at Burlington, Kansas. In 1871, he was appointed by the Governor to be Superintendent of the Kansas Institution for the Blind in Wyandotte (now Kansas City), Kansas, and worked there four years. Following that, he was a city missionary for seven years in Kansas City.

In researching this article, I discovered that the paper published in the Kansas City Review had actually been written earlier as a letter to Dr. A.H. Thompson of Topeka, then the 6th President of the Kansas Academy of Science. It was read verbatim on November 21, 1883 at the 16th Annual Meeting of the KAS in Topeka as part of Thompson's speech as the retiring president of the KAS, and subsequently published in the Transactions in 1884. At the time the letter was written, then Captain Parker, U.S. Army, was serving as Post Chaplain at Fort McKavitt, near Menard, Texas. He was re-assigned to Fort Hays in 1884 and Fort Riley in 1885, and was the President of the KAS in 1887. Parker subsequently served as Post Chaplain at Fort Robinson in Nebraska, and Fort Stockton in San Diego, California, where he retired in 1895. He was influential in the establishment of the San Diego Normal School in 1897. Dr. Parker died at the Presidio Hospital in San Francisco on March 8, 1909, and was buried there in the National Cemetery with full military honors (Willard 1911).

John D. Parker "Origin of the Kansas Academy of Science," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 116(1–2), 54-56, (1 April 2013).
Published: 1 April 2013

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