James Eights (1798-1882), a naturalist from Albany, New York enjoyed a varied and influential scientific career. He the first American naturalist in the Antarctic, and was the first to observe, collect, and describe fossils on that continent, work that won him a singular honor—a portion of the west Antarctic shoreline, between Cape Waite and Phronger Point, has been designated “Eights Coast.” Closer to home, Eights was a prominent figure in the study of the geology of New York State, and participated in the nation's first state-wide assessment of natural resources. In addition to these scientific endeavors, Eights popularized contemporary scientific concepts in witty and informative articles.
Though Eights received some measure of recognition for his accomplishments in his lifetime, he has been largely neglected since then, and even his biographers have generally focused on the Antarctic aspects of his career. The title of Daniel McKinley’s biography--James Eights 1798-1882 Antarctic Explorer, Albany Naturalist: His Life, His Times, His Work (2006)--sets the tone. Earlier essays by John M. Clarke (1916), W. T. CaIman (1937) and Joel Hedgpeth (1971) also attempted to revive Eights' reputation; indeed, Clarke entitled his essay "the Reincarnation of James Eights." Yet there was not much to bring back to life; as Clarke put it, Eights' pioneering research on the South Shetland Islands (1829) was "the first and almost only notch in the tally stick of his real career." Eights would have accomplished more, Clarke averred, had he not been dropped from the Second U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842). The rejection was the turning point in his life. Eights "from this time on ceased to live; though he remained on Earth a half-century longer," Clarke wrote. Equally dramatic was W. T. CaIman's assessment: "the tragedy of poor Eights' life seems to have drawn itself out. . . in loneliness, obscurity and poverty." "Obscurity and poverty," Hedgpeth comments, "unfulfilled promise. . . a life destroyed by circumstances."
None of these accounts accurately depicts Eights' varied life: there was more than one notch on his tally stick. Eights’ scientific work in the 1820s that preceded his Antarctic researches has been overlooked. So too has his close association with Amos Eaton and his efforts to push the [[[Albany Lyceum of Natural History]] into the mainstream of nineteenth-century American science, as well as the influence of Stephen Van Rensselaer on his career.
The importance of Eights’ later career also has been obscured. Clarke and CaIman emphasize his dismissal from the second expedition and thereby distort the significance of those years. It is true that according to a narrow definition of science, Eights’ only contributions were those original observations that he made during the first expedition. However, if science includes conservation and public policy, then he remained an active scientist almost to his eighth decade. Eights was an intelligent naturalist who later became a perceptive popularizer of science. He knew despair as well as the satisfactions of creativity. Though unemployed and dissolute in the late 1840s, by the mid-1850s he was engaged in a variety of projects. To judge from Eights’ literary output after 1838, his career had not then reached its peak; he published nine papers before 1838, but fifty-six after that date. The majority of these essays have not been cited in previous biographies. Their very existence suggests that throughout his long life, Eights was a dedicated naturalist whose interests were broad and whose vision, to a degree, anticipated present-day environmental concerns.
Born in 1798 in Albany, New York, James Eights was the son of Dr. Jonathan Eights, a noted physician, under whose tutelage James studied medicine and natural history. Dr. Jonathan Eights was an active member of the Society for the Promotion of Useful Arts. His connections there with powerful New York families--most particularly the Van Rensselaers--proved indispensable to his son's scientific career. Stephen Van Rensselaer was the "Patroon" and patron of James Eights. With his enormous estates—which totaled upwards of half a million acres--Van Rensselaer was an influential presence in the political and intellectual life of New York State in the first four decades of the nineteenth century. It was through Van Rensselaer that Eights joined with Amos Eaton for what proved to be a series of innovative geological and educational enterprises.
In 1820, Van Rensselaer appointed Eights as draftsman to Eaton's geological survey of the Erie Canal region. As Samuel Rezneck has noted, this survey was one of the first of its kind in the United States. Eights’ contribution was geological and artistic: He supplied maps of the survey's route and etchings of the canal. The etchings would later adorn crockery commemorating the canal's opening. Eights also worked on the project as a surveyor and undoubtedly absorbed Eaton's teachings. The one letter that survives between Eights and Eaton during this period suggests the closeness of their relationship, Eights’ involvement in the Albany scientific community, and the great importance of "the old man at Washington," the Patroon. Eights wrote:
I presume you must be heartily tired of waiting for the maps. I shall not however at this time attempt to apologize for detaining them so long. . .The one surrounded by ruled lines I intended for the Patroon. Should you want any more you have only to intimate your wishes and I will supply you abundantly. . . A few copies of James' work has reached Albany. I have heard no opinion respecting it--Henry W[ebster] is now perusing it. When he gets through we shall know all about it. L. C. Beck will "snap off" his next week-present my respects to the old man at Washington also my compliments to Mrs. Eaton and family.
Eaton and Eights continued to work together under Van Rensselaer's patronage. In 1826, Eaton decided to operate "A Traveling School of Science" on the Erie Canal during the summer months. This school, financed in part by the Patroon, has been regarded as a "pioneer venture in scientific education," and is the model upon which the tradition of geological field trips is based. According to George W. Clinton, one of the students, Eights played an important formative role. He helped select the participants, collected the provisions and, during the trip, was second in command to Eaton. It is clear from Clinton's journal kept on the voyage that Eights was also a teacher. He must have been a successful pedagogue. The next year Van Rensselaer appointed him an examiner of the Rensselaer School, another of Eaton's educational innovations. Thus in the 1820s, Eights was associated with some of the earliest attempts to add laboratory and field experience to the didactic scientific curriculum.
In addition to his work with Eaton, James Eights was actively involved in the establishment of the Albany Lyceum of Natural History. In 1823, he and other young Albany scientists consciously made the Lyceum a place where the study of natural history was fostered. The Albany group was not unique in this respect; the number of learned societies in the new republic grew rapidly during this period, an increase which ensured the growth of the scientific profession within the fledgling country. In Albany, a museum and a library were part of the Lyceum and Eights was selected curator of its museum collections. He also published several papers in the Lyceum's Transactions. Thus his reputation spread beyond Albany, and he was elected a corresponding member of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York.
Eights’ professional attainments and activities helped him to secure the post of "surgeon and naturalist" on an informal scientific expedition to the Antarctic, organized by Edmund Fanning in 1828. Fanning had originally sought United States government support for the grandly titled "First United States Exploring Expedition." President John Quincy Adams and Samuel Southard, Secretary of the Navy, endorsed Fanning's proposal, and Southard asked the Lyceum of Natural History of New York to suggest a naturalist to accompany the voyage.
Eights indicated that he "was willing to accompany the expedition provided he was put upon the footing of an authorized agent of the Lyceum." The members agreed with Eights’ request and voted him a grant of five hundred dollars. Amos Eaton seconded Eights’ application, calling him "one of the most competent geologists in North America." However, Adams's successor in the White House, Andrew Jackson, scuttled the previous Administration's plans for financial support of the expedition. Fanning and J. N. Reynolds then proceeded to secure private funding for the expedition, which sailed in October, 1829.
The expedition was undertaken in three brigs, the Annawan, with Nathaniel Palmer as Captain; the Seraph, Benjamin Pendleton, Captain; and the Penguin, commanded by Palmer's brother, A. S. Palmer. A newspaper account places Eights aboard the Seraph, but in his application for membership on the second U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838), he stated that he had sailed on the Annawan. If so, he and the Annawan visited Patagonia, Staten Island, Tierra del Fuego, and the South Shetland Islands in 1829-1830. It is clear from the log of the Penguin that Eights also sailed for a time on that vessel.
The expedition was not a complete success. As John Torrey wrote to fellow botanist Lewis Schweinitz, "You have probably heard that Dr. Eights . . . returned last Fall without having accomplished much, for it turned out just as several of us suspected, that the Expedition was destined, not for discovery and scientific purposes--but to catch seals!" Nonetheless, Eights’ published accounts of his observations of Antarctic geology, paleontology, and biology, including descriptions of three new invertebrate species of crustacea, recently have been reprinted and annotated. Another consolation of the voyage, real or imagined, is the Eights family tradition that when the brig Annawan turned about to sail to New York, Eights "ran with all speed to the stern of the vessel and ever after claimed he had been nearer the South Pole than any other mortal."
Despite John Torrey's disparaging comments about the importance of the expedition, there was contemporary scientific recognition of the value of Eights’ Antarctic endeavors. On the basis of his work there, Eights was selected as zoologist to the Second U.S. Exploring Expedition which this time the U. S. government would fund. Originally scheduled to depart in 1837, it finally sailed in late 1838. In that interval, Eights was dropped from the scientific corps owing to personal jealousies and political intrigue, and he was replaced by James D. Dana. Captain Charles Wilkes, leader of the expedition, wrote that Eights was dismissed because "his habits were not of the best." This vague statement could cover a multitude of sins. According to Eights’ "Naturalist's Every Day Book," he was familiar with narcotics and opium, as well as "haschisch." But, if Wilkes was referring to Eights’ use of mind-altering substances, alcohol was a more probable habit than drugs. When his father died in 1848, Eights reacted by drinking heavily, and he may have done so in earlier years. There is also the possibility that Eights was a homosexual or was perceived to be by his contemporaries. John M. Clarke, for example, couples the suggestion that Eights’ "personal habits" led to his dismissal with a discussion of his association with Albert Lawtenslager, an "old companion." There is a further element to the story: the decision to exclude Eights was reached in secrecy, and he was not officially notified until just before the sailing date. Meanwhile, in preparation for the voyage, Eights continued to buy reference books and scientific equipment for which he was never reimbursed. Following his rejection, he turned down offers to be the state geologist in two states and resigned from the New York State Geological Survey.
In 1838, then, James Eights’ pioneering work in the Antarctic was arrested. Yet he was not bitter. Indeed, he wrote John Torrey, "I, of course, am one of the defunct, having received no orders from last fall. Who are going and what are their respective departments?" Once the expedition sailed, Eights turned his attention to a wide variety of enterprises. He worked and published essays as a geologist, mining engineer, artist, historian, and conservationist. This new stage in his career was marked by paradox: He was a generalizer in an age of increased specialization.
This shift in his interests was already evident in essays that he wrote for the Zodiac, an Albany journal of art and science. Eights was one of the journal's editorial sponsors. His delightful continuing series, "Notes of a Pedestrian" and "Naturalist's Every Day Book;" were probably abstracted from his personal journal. He told, among other things, of soil and mineral samples that people sent to him to be analyzed; of a bird that someone shot and brought to him for identification and filing in the Albany Lyceum's cabinets; of plants that were noticed, properly named and prepared for the herbarium. He wrote of carnivorous insects and plants, the field berries hawked in the streets, Indian and other herb remedies for tuberculosis and syphilis. Occasionally Eights injected a droll note: The catfish-and-eel fisherman who kept pulling out turtles; the family that kept wasps in the living room to keep down the fly (Musca) population. He also suggested skunk spray to improve night vision. A New York Star editor applauded the rich diversity of material that Eights presented and his approach to his subjects. The essays are "a rich treat of scientific information-perfectly new and original-a most admirable and graphic picture, full of sound and accurate investigation, and well written in a most piquant and pleasing style. The author must be an accomplished writer as well as a profound naturalist." He demonstrated his continuing interest and competence in geology in a Zodiac essay entitled "A Synopsis of the Rocks of New York," and in several installments of "Notes of a Pedestrian." These essays were all that were published of a projected book on New York's geology and were based on his extensive travels around the Empire State. Throughout, Eights called attention to the similarities between European and American geological structures, but he also made significant contributions to local geological study. He coined the term "cocktail" to describe esopus grit, a formation peculiar to New York State, and he is also credited by the geologists Ebenezer Emmons as being the first to observe the presence of old red sandstone in New York. Eights was not infallible, however. As John Wells has shown, the influence of Eights’ studies with Amos Easton led him to use Eatonian stratigraphy and therefore to equate fallaciously the Pottsville conglomerates with the conglomerates capping the Catskill graywackes, arguing that coal was not found in the Catskills. Despite this "fallacy of the consequent," his conclusion was correct.
Eights’ Zodiac essays, according to Wells, were the last of a long line of "amateur" efforts in New York Devonian geology. In 1836, the New York State Geological Survey was established as a continuing professional effort. Because of his work with Eaton and his Zodiac essays, the Survey hired Eights as an assistant to Lardner Vanuxem. They collaborated on the report of the Fourth District of New York, issued in 1838. Once again Eights participated in a major scientific innovation. There had been tentative efforts to establish geological surveys in other states, but none was as comprehensive as was New York's; it was the standard by which all others were judged. Eights’ association with the Survey extended beyond this field work. Each year the geologists gathered in Albany to discuss their finds and ensure that a uniform language was adopted to describe their discoveries. The meeting of the so-called "Geology Board" became an annual event which Eights attended even when not employed by the Survey. Apparently, he was an influential member: James Hall, head of the New York Survey for several decades, lavishly praised Eights as "the best informed man in science" he ever knew. An outgrowth of the board's meetings was a movement to form the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Eights was an original member of the organization, one more sign of his professional commitment.
During the 1840s and 1850s, Eights shifted his attention to mineralogy. His first known mining report was published in 1846, the year of the copper boom along the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He examined several claims of the New York and Lake Superior Mining Company, a group headquartered in Albany, and reported to the company's trustee, General Gerrit V. Denniston, encouraging estimates that were included in the company's first annual report.
Geology continued to engage Eights’ attention, although his "Notes of a geological examination. . . of Mitchell's Cave" (1847), ostensibly concerned his efforts to discover "the remains of numerous animals of unknown species." Eights had read of such discoveries in European caves and hoped to duplicate that feat in America. With several friends he spent three days examining the cave, and the paper is a minute description of their explorations. Mitchell's Cave, however, refused to cooperate. The single skeleton retrieved was a "partially decomposed carcass of a recent species of bat." And, much to the explorer's "mortification, it was discovered that the dimensions of the elder of [his] companions far exceeded . . . the width of the entrance" to the cave. The anecdote suggests that Eights presented the paper more for its entertainment value than for its significant geological content.
There would be little humor in the succeeding years. In 1848 Eights’ father died, leaving but a small income for his wife and two unmarried daughters. For James, Dr. Jonathan Eights had only words of advice: "I have left nothing to my son James, knowing that he is capable of supporting himself. . . And I recommend to him industry, temperance, and the practice of religious and moral duties." James, however, could not take care of himself. He had lived with his parents all his life, and when his mother died in 1849, he fell into a deep depression. He worked little during this period of grief, and spent his minimal income on alcohol. When the family home was sold, R. V. DeWitt, who ran a patent business in Albany, gave Eights space in his office "feeling I could exercize a salutary influence over him." For a time, DeWitt succeeded: "He has been with me . . . ever since and behaved himself with exemplary steadiness. In only three or four instances and then under peculiar temptations, has he deviated from sobriety."
To buttress this steadiness, DeWitt and A. E. Williams, Eights’ first cousin, urged Joseph Henry, head of the Smithsonian Institution and an old acquaintance of Eights’, to find him a job. "I am afraid," DeWitt wrote Henry, "if he should once be thrown out upon the world, without employment, he would do some rash act. He broods over his condition."
Joseph Henry did not employ Eights, but in August, 1850, wired DeWitt fifty dollars to send their indigent friend to California or the Minnesota Territory. Now that his mother was dead, and the family broken up, Eights had to be sent from Albany: "The Doctor has been relapsing into his old ways," DeWitt reported, "so that after repeated frolics at odd times, I am convinced his further stay in this city will be certain ruin to him and he will end his days in the poor house or penitentiary as a vagrant." There is, however, no firm evidence that Eights went to either the poorhouse or to the western states.
By 1852 Eights appears to have overcome his grief and depression. He began to write for, and was probably paid by, The Cultivator, an Albany journal sponsored by the New York Agricultural Society. Eights also secured work as a geologist in the North Carolina mining regions. Twenty years earlier, North Carolina had undergone a gold rush during which the surface deposits had been stripped hastily. "Present and immediate gains had been sought rather than permanent and continued operations," an historian of the gold rush has observed. When copper and silver were found there in the l850s, mine operators realized that North Carolina was rich in a variety of minerals. To exploit the mineral potential, the operators hired geological surveyors, mostly from the north. How his southern employers heard of Eights is not clear, but it is probable that his qualifications were passed on by Ebenezer Emmons, one of his colleagues on the New York Geological Survey who at that time was the state geologist of North Carolina.
Regardless of how he came to be hired, Eights’ stay in North Carolina was productive. In addition to advising the owners of the Ward Gold Mine on the best means of production, he also surveyed and analyzed the properties of several land speculators, James R. Foster and the Hiatt brothers. His reports to these men were published in 1854 and 1855.
The Albany-based "geologist and mining surveyor," as he now styled himself, wote his reports after extensive travels around North Carolina, travels which enabled him to write a general survey of the state's "Geology, Mining Regions, Scenery, etc." for Mining and Statistical Magazine (1858). As in other essays, he "endeavored to avoid technicalities wherever practicable, believing that the information imparted will be more acceptable to the great mass of readers, if presented in a somewhat literary style, rather than in a more purely scientific language." Eights then proceeded to paint a sweeping portrait of the state’s topography and of its prominent geological features. He included descriptions of the flora and fauna and delivered a rapturous sermon on the restorative powers of nature. Those "whose lives [have] passed amid the noise and bustle of the city" should spend a summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Eights advised; "the climate here is certainly delicious." Among the delicacies of North Carolina, he mentioned the numerous mineral springs, and, with sure entrepreneurial instinct and a very likely acquaintance with the New York spas, suggested that these springs be exploited to tap the fashionable multitude of their "surplus wealth." As is clear from the concerns of this and the preceding essays, Eights now wrote for a more diverse audience than he had in the early 1830s.
That he was attuned to this growing audience's eagerness for scientific knowledge conflicts with John Clarke's portrayl of Eights as being out of touch during the final decade of his life; his reported poverty was mirrored in intellectual and physical demise: "His sands ran out-he lost his grip-through the sixties and into the seventies; he was an old man now and in his growing feebleness he sought the home of a sister living in Ballston, and there died in 1882…
This picture of maudlin tragedy does not correspond with the evidence. Eights undertook scientific expeditions to New England, and as noted, North Carolina; he collected fossils in Panama. How Eights--who a decade earlier almost went to the poorhouse--financed these excursions is not known, but he could not have been destitute. Nor had his creativity diminished over these years.
In a letter to James Hall he suggested that the Panamanian fossils, if identical to specimens he had collected thirty years earlier in southern Chile, might indicate continuous fossiliferous formation extending throughout South America. Even the brutal Civil War did not slow him down: Eights remained highly productive amid the national crisis, publishing at least seventeen essays. Indeed, the scarcities induced by the war provided him with a new field of research. Because cotton was no longer available for fabric and paper products, Eights recommended as replacements jute hemp, manila hemp, and more obscure barks and grasses. As substitutes for commonly used dyes then in short supply, he suggested coal tar, Rubri tinctorum of the common madder, and alum as a mordant. He also suggested that glycerin be used as a moistener for plug tobacco and as antifreeze.
What makes this period in Eights’ career especially intriguing was his continuing concern for the environment and humanity’s relation to it. Earlier, Eights was perhaps the first to point out the ecological distortion caused by the Erie Canal. From the increased numbers of black bass caught in the Hudson River he reasoned that the fish had traveled from its native habitat in Lake Erie via the canal system through to the river. Lacustrine turtles and some snails also extended their habitats similarly.
Eights also noted that the region’s forests of white pine and white oak were rapidly disappearing. The increase in human population had boosted the demand for building materials to such an extent that if the United States Navy ever needed "a speedy supply of this timber . . . the greatest difficulties would occur in endeavoring to comply with the demand." Decades before George Bird Grinnell and Gifford Pinchot advocated forest conservation on a national level, Eights had urged that the species such as oak and pine be farmed in New York to make a consistent supply available.
The Albany scientist also worried about the deleterious effects of contemporary technology on food quality. He refused to describe the process by which artificial honey was manufactured "lest we . . . be considered instrumental in favoring the infamous practice now so common, and innocently add another to the list of impure substances which we are. . . consuming at our tables." Citing Jean Baptist Boussingault, Eights was similarly opposed to the practice of sifting bran from white flour, for "by rejecting the bran. . . we actually lose a large amount of nourishment of the most important kind."
In 1865 he wrote on the recycling of wastes and in defense of technology: "Applied science is continually employed in obtaining beautiful and valuable material which ignorance pronounces good for nothing. . . . The average condition of mankind cannot be materially improved so long as considerable sources of wealth and comfort are thrown away." Eights’ faith in the beneficent character of applied science is a product of his time, but his ecological concerns remain relevant.
Indeed, Eights popularized science but did so in a knowledgeable and professional manner, and was not a “nature faker,” those who exaggerated scientific accomplishments in a flamboyant manner solely to pander to readers' interest in the sensational. Moreover, like his mentor Amos Eaton, Eights believed that science served primarily a utilitarian function; the two men were applied scientists, not pure scientists. It is in this light that one can understand the importance of Eights’ later work for the Country Gentleman. His assessments of alterations in the environment, forest conservation, and resource recycling show that he followed the latest developments in applied science, perceived their importance, and disseminated this knowledge to the lay audience. This contribution alone should absolve him from Clarke's damning statement that after 1837, "Eights' hours seem now to have become of rather idle and impecunious ease."
Eights remained professionally active until the mid-1870s. In the winter of 1869 he surveyed parts of the Pennsylvania coal fields. Three years later he worked as a surveyor in Essex County, New York. He presented his last paper to the Albany Institute in 1872, and in 1874 his final essay appears in The Cultivator. But by then his health had begun to fail. Mention of his physical decline was recorded in the Albany Institute's Proceedings (1874) where members of the Institute defended Eights’ priority against Louis Agassiz's claim to Serolis trilobitoides (Eights), one of his Antarctic crustacea. "Dr.Eights is still residing among us," one participant noted, "though his health does not permit him to attend the Institute meetings. . . ." Later in the year when Eights submitted a short essay to the Institute, the recording secretary had to read it for him. Eights lived at 56 State Street in Albany in 1874, but his name disappears from the Albany Street Directory the following year. Perhaps this is when he moved to Ballston Spa to live with his widowed brother-in-law. Contrary to Clarke's account, Eights did not seek out the comforting arms of his sister. Alida Eights Palmer had been dead for more than a decade. Eights would bury his other sister Catharine, and his brother-in-law, before he died on June 22, 1882.
It is clear from the breadth and depth of James Eights’ activities, that his life was neither as obscure as has been supposed, nor as impoverished. Denied the opportunity to continue his Antarctic research, he was able to make a transition to other, equally rewarding endeavors, and to contribute to the knowledge of his fellow New Yorkers, scientists and farmers alike. Perhaps one key to his resiliency was his commited relationship with nature, and his apprecite of it was as scientific as it was spiritual. "We confess we have set apart many [spring] nights," he once wrote, "to enjoy the perfect stillness of nature. . . . It is like adding a year to one's life, so intense is the enjoyment of the coolness of the air, the deep greenness of the fields, and the music and the whispers of the wind." Refreshed and renewed, James Eights persevered.
This article originated as an essay published in the journal New York History. We thank the New York State Historical Association for its permission to reproduce the article within the Encyclopedia of Earth.
- ^Daniel McKinley, James Eights 1798-1882 Antarctic Explorer, Albany Naturalist: His Life, His Times, His Work, (Albany: New York State Museum, Bulletin #505, 2006); John M. Clarke, "The Reincarnation of James Eights," Popular Science Monthly, II (February, 1916), 201; W. T. Caiman, "James Eights, Pioneer American Naturalist," Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, 149 (1936-1937), 174; Joel Hedgpeth, "James Eights of the Antarctic," in Louis O. Quam, ed., Research in the Antarctic (Washington, D. c.: AAAS, 1971), pp. 3-4. For helping us to assemble evidence for this paper we would like to thank James R. Hobin, Librarian of the Albany Institute, for his invaluable assistance, and the librarians of Albany Medical College, The American Philosophical Society, Cornell University, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, New York Academy of Sciences, New York Botanical Garden Library, New York State Library, Princeton University, The Smithsonian Institution, The U.S. Geological Service Library, University of California, Berkeley, North Carolina Collection of the University of North Carolina, and Watkinson Library of Trinity College, Connecticut. Conversations with Joel Hedgpeth were most helpful and Eunice Herrington skillfully scanned the original text in preparation for this revised version.The original essay appeared in New York History (January 1980) and is reprinted with the kind permission of its editors.
- ^ Caiman and Hedgpeth assembled bibliographies of Eights' writings but they failed to include approximately thirty-five of his papers. See “The Scientific Career of James Eights: An Annotated Bibliography,” Skenectada: Journal of the American Pine Barren Society, 2, 1980, p. 10-16; Daniel McKinley, James Eights 1798-1882 Antarctic Explorer, Albany Naturalist: His Life, His Times, His Work has built on this earlier research and provided the fullest accounting of Eights’ life and career.
- ^Joel Munsell, "Dr. Jonathan Eights," Annals of Albany 9 (Albany: J. Munsell, 1858). 99-100; William B. Fink, "Stephen Van Rensselaer: The Last Patroon" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1950), passim.
- ^ Amos Eaton. A Geological and Agricultural Survey of the District Adjoining the Erie Canal (Albany: Packard and Van Benthuysen. 1824). preface. passim; Samuel Rezneck. "Joseph Henry Learns Geology on the Erie Canal in 1826," New York History 50 (January 1969),32: James Eights to Amos Eaton. 22 January 1823, Gratz Collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. L. C. Beck and Henry Webster lived in Albany and were active in its scientific community.
- ^Samuel Rezneck. "A Traveling School of Science on the Erie Canal in 1826," New York History 40 (July 1959),255-269; Rezneck, "Joseph Henry." 32-34; George w. Clinton, "Journal of a Tour from Albany to Lake Erie," Buffalo Historical Society Publications 14 (1910), 277-305; Ethan M. McAllister, Amos Eaton: Scientist and Educator (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1941), p. 400.
- ^James M. Hobbins. "Shaping a Provincial Learned Society: the Early History of the Albany Institute." in A. Oleson and S. C. Brown. The Pursuit of Knowledge in the Early American Republic (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976). pp. 117-150;
- ^George H. Daniels. American Science in the Age of Jackson, (New York: Columbia University Press. 1968), chapters 1-2.
- ^Edwin Swift Balch, "Stonington Antarctic Explorers," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society XLI (1909), 473; Niles' Weekly Register, sec. 4, 10 (10), p. 167; Kenneth Bertrand, Americans in Antarctica, p. 153.
- ^John Torrey to Lewis Schweinitz, 26 April 183 I, in C. L. Shear and N. E. Stevens, eds.. "The Correspondence of Schweinitz and Torrey," Torrey Botanical Club Memoirs 16 (1915-1921), 247; Eights' Antarctic papers reprinted in Joel Hedgpeth, "James Eights." in Quam, ed., Research in the Antarctic; for an overview of the flawed expedition, see The Race to the White Continent, Voyages to the Antarctic Alan Gurney, W.W. Norton and Company, 2002 ISBN: 0393323218 p. 103-4; family tradition: Henry Sage Dermott to Louise Sharpe. 24 April 1915, courtesy of Mildred C. Sharpe, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- ^Charles Wilkes to Joel R. Poinsett, 1 May 1838, Poinsett Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania; James Eights, 'The Naturalist's Every Day Book," The Zodiac 1(1835-1836), 42; James Eights, "Haschisch," The Cultivator and Country Gentleman XXV (1865), 130-131,162-163; on alcohol, see footnotes 18, 19; Clarke, "James Eights," pp. 202-02; James Eights to Commodore James Ridgelay, 10 February 1838, American Philosophical Society; James Eights to Samuel Southard, 15 December 1841, Princeton University; Gurney, The Race to the White Continent ISBN: 0393323218, p. 131 observes that in cutting Eights and Jeremiah Reynolds from the scientific team, its organizers allowed cronyism to supercede practicality, for they had “chopped off the two men familiar with the Antarctic,” p. 131.
- ^James Eights to John Torrey, 8 August 1838, Torrey Papers, New York Botanical Garden Library; Eights' art work is examined by William Lassiter, "James Eights and his Albany Views," Antiques, (May 1948), pp. 360-361.
- ^James Eights, "Notes of a Pedestrian," The Zodiac, III, (1835-1837), passim; James Eights, "The Naturalist's Every Day Book," The Zodiac I , 44; New York Star editor's comments: cover, The Zodiac, (February, 1836).
- ^"Cocktail": Clarke, "James Eights." p. 200; Ebenezer Emmons, "No Coal in New York Rocks," The American Journal of Agriculture and Science 6 (17), 129; John Wells, "Early Investigations of the Devonian System in New York," Geological Society of America, special paper #74 (1963-1964), p. 61.
- ^Wells, "Early Investigations," p. 62; James Hall quoted in John M. Clarke, The Life of James Hall, (Albany: private printing, 1921), pp. 55-56; Samuel Rezneck, "The Emergence of a Scientific Community in New York State A Century Ago," New York History 43 (July 1962),214-216; Sally G. Kohlstedt, The Formation of the American Scientific Community, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976), appendix.
- ^James Eights, "Outlines of the Geological Structure of Lake Superior Mineral Region," in First Annual Report of the New York and Lake Superior Mining Company. (Albany: Evening Atlas Press. 1846).
- ^James Eights, "Notes of a Geological Examination and Survey of Mitchell's Cave, town of Root, County of Montgomery, New York," American Journal of Agriculture and Science, 7 (I), 21-27.
- ^Jonathan Eights' will, Probate Records, Albany County, Albany, New York; R. V. DeWitt to Joseph Henry, 12 April 1849, Joseph Henry Papers, Smithsonian Institution.
- ^R. V. DeWitt to Joseph Henry, 12 April 1849; A. E. Williams to Joseph Henry, 8 June 1849, Smithsonian Institution.
- ^R.V. DeWitt to Joseph Henry, I July, 19 August, 7 September 1850, Smithsonian Institution; Clarke, "James Eights," p. 202, suggests that Eights may have gone west but was unable to verify it.
- ^Fletcher M. Green, "Gold Mining: A Forgotten Industry in Antebellum North Carolina," Part II, North Carolina Historical Review XIV (1937), 135-155; James Eights to A. B. Stith, President of the Ward Gold Mine, 9 April 1854, Greensboro, North Carolina; James Eights, "A Report on the Geological, Mineralogical, and other resources relating to the Hiatt tract of land, containing 2000 acres, in the County of Surry, N.C.," Greensborough, North Carolina, 1855.
- ^James Eights. "North Carolina--its Geology, Mining Regions, Scenery. etc.:' Mining and Statistical Magazine X (1858). (3), 183; (5). 370. 373.
- ^John M. Clarke, "James Eights," p. 202.
- ^Panama: James Eights to James Hall, 17 February 1858, James Hall Papers, New York State Library; James Eights, "On Textile Vegetable Fibre," The Cultivator and Country Gentleman XXIV (1864), 138-139, 154; James Eights, "Mordants and Dyes," C&CG XXVI (1865),146,178,210; James Eights, "Glycerine" C&CG XXIX (1867), 66.
- ^James Eights, "The Naturalist's Every Day Book," The Zodiac I (1835-1836),60.
- ^James Eights, "Scraps from a Naturalist's Notebook," C&CG II (1853),156-157, 205-206; Char Miller, Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism, (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2001).
- ^James Eights, "Honey and the Honey Bee," C&CG XXIV (1864), 98.
- ^James Eights, "On the Utility of the Maize Plant," C&CG XXV (1865), 266-267.
- ^On the role most popularizers chose and the growing gap between scientists and the lay audience, see George Daniels, American Science in the Age of Jackson, p. 40; Clarke, "James Eights," p. 200.
- ^James Eights, “Report upon the Mines and Railroad owned by the Sullivan and Erie Coal and Railroad Company,” (New York: E. A. Holt & Co., (870), pp. 26-31; James Eights, "Darwin's Speculations," C&CG XXIX (1874), 302; Albany Institute Proceedings, 7 May 1874, pp. 322-324.
- ^James Eights, "Our Songsters of Summer," C&CG XXIII (1864), 402.