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Grant, U. S. (Ulysses Sherman), 1867-1932



  • Existence: 1867 - 1932


Ulysses Sherman Grant was born in Moline, Illinois, on February 14, 1867, the son of Lewis Addison Grant and Mary Helen (Pierce) Grant. His father had served in the Civil War, retired as a major-general, and had been Assistant Secretary of War in the Administration of President Benjamin Harrison. His mother was a niece of President Franklin Pierce. Lewis and Mary Helen Grant had one other child, Colfax, who became a lawyer. Lewis Addison Grant had had a daughter, Augusta, by an earlier wife. Growing up in Moline and Des Moines, Ulysses Grant developed a broad interest in biology. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota in 1888 with such high honors that he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and given a fellowship in zoology for the following year. In the fall of 1889 Grant entered Johns Hopkins University to begin work on a doctoral degree in biology. However, the influence of George Huntington Williams, together with Grant's summer jobs, turned his interest toward geology. He won the fellowship in geology for two years and received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1893.

Grant was Assistant State Geologist of Minnesota from 1893 to 1899, Instructor in Geology at the University of Minnesota, 1897-1898, and one of the editors of the American Geologist. He served as acting Chief Editor of the journal for a year while his mentor, Professor Newton H. Winchell, was on leave. In 1899 President Henry Wade Rogers invited Grant to Northwestern to succeed long-time faculty member Oliver Marcy. Grant served for a short time as Acting Professor of Geology and then became full professor and chairman of the department. He held both of these positions until his death, following an operation for stomach cancer, on September 21, 1932. Grant served twice as Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts during the 1907-1908 and 1916-1919 academic years.

Work in the field occupied most of Grant's summers. He was active with the Geological Surveys of Illinois and Wisconsin, and also worked in Michigan, Oregon, and other states as a consultant for state and local governments and commercial concerns. His work with the U. S. Geological Survey in Alaska is of particular importance.

Grant also wrote extensively. Bibliographies of his work are included in the memoirs of Grant's contributions by Bain and Keyes. His first published paper, on conchology, appeared in 1886, and his last, an abstract with J. F. Stark on the structure and stratigraphy of a portion of the Minnesota Pre-Cambrian, was published in 1931. His major work, The Petrographic Geology of the Crystalline Rocks of Minnesota, written with Newton Horace Winchell, for many years the State Geologist of Minnesota, a pioneering report of almost 900 pages, was published in 1900. His articles and reports on copper, lead, and zinc deposits, and on the movement of glaciers are also important.

An indication of Grant's desire to motivate his students to do their best was his selection as the first president of the Northwestern chapter of Sigma Xi. Places on summer field trips into the Lake Superior wilderness organized by Grant were sought by undergraduate and graduate students not only for the opportunity of acquiring geological knowledge and experience but also for the chance to absorb some of Grant's love for and understanding of the forests, lakes, and other elements of life outdoors.

Grant was active in many organizations. He became Vice-President of the Geographical Society of Chicago, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was deeply involved in the National Research Council.

Ulysses Sherman Grant had a reputation as an excellent teacher for both students majoring in geology and those who took only a course or two. He was an original investigator, a meticulous observer, and a concise and lucid writer. His work on crystalline rocks and their ores and on the movement of glaciers was of seminal importance His work in the field of applied geology (iron in Minnesota; lead and zinc in Wisconsin and Illinois; copper in Wisconsin and Alaska) proved to be of considerable economic value.

On October 1, 1891, Grant married a student at the University of Minnesota, Avis Winchell, the daughter of Professor Winchell. Four children were born of this marriage, Addison Winchell, Lois, Avis Harriet, and Willard Winchell. Lois married George Malcolm Fowler of Joplin, Missouri, and Avis Harriet married Edwin E. Swick of Van Wert, Ohio. Addison married Alice Sullivan of Massachusetts and had a daughter, Marilyn Ruth, born in 1936. Addison later married Maryl Putnam Brown who died in 1977. Addison died in 1954. Willard married Hazel Singleton of Evanston, Illinois, in 1933, and they had two sons : Willard Singleton, born in 1941, and Davison Winchell, born in 1945. Hazel Singleton Grant died in Bogota, Colombia, in 1967. Willard later married Alice Pickering Coners, a Canadian residing in Colombia, in 1969. In 1977 Willard and Alice were living in West Palm Beach, Florida. Avis Harriet and Edwin Swick had one son, Edwin Grant, born in 1931. In 1977 Edwin and Avis Swick were living in St. Charles, Illinois, to which they had moved in 1929. Edwin Grant Swick, his wife, Kathryn (Soutar) Swick, and their three children were living in Bartlett, Illinois, in 1977. Lois and George Fowler had no children; he died in 1972 and she in 1976.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ulysses Sherman Grant (1867-1932) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/14/2
Abstract The papers of Ulysses Sherman Grant (professor and chair of the Department of Geology at Northwestern University) include biographical material, correspondence, publications, autographs and field course notes. The biographical material includes a number of obituaries, clippings, and articles. The bulk of the correspondence is from Ulysses to Avis Winchell Grant before and after their marriage. Of special interest are Grant's long and detailed letters (1905) describing his investigations of...
Dates: 1874-1977; Majority of material found within 1886-1930