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Tom Marshall's The Burro '03


William Phipps Blake
William Phipps Blake

WILLIAM PHIPPS BLAKE, our honored friend who is so fittingly installed in the chair of Geology, Mining and Metallurgy at this institution and whose likeness occurs opposite this page, has followed a career which, to say the least, has been a highly checkered one. It comes to the lot of few men indeed to lead a life so frought with interest and so replete with passages of big things done. We write only a sketch of the outline of his life's work to date. and leave to you the pleasing task of filling in the intercises and expanding the general topics as best fitted to yourselves. To make you to understand and fully appreciate the beauty and accomplishment of this long life is a task for which we have neither the space nor the ability and our hope is that you might have the opportunity. as has been given to some of us, of sometime pursuing his courses and obtaining there from somewhat of the essence of that life, somewhat of the spirit of things done which it breathes and somewhat of the energy and inspiration which must have been his during those years of labor.

His preparation for this active career was obtained at Sheffield College. Yale's scientific school, where he received the degree of Ph.B. and latter at Dartmouth College from which institution he carried away a degree of A. M. His first actual work in the field was commenced when he entered the New York Medical College as assistant chemist in 1852. From this point his course was an ever rising one and we find him climbing with rapid strides to chemist and mineralogist of the New Jersey Zinc Co., and then to the same position on the staff of the United States Pacific Railroad survey corps, in the year '53: author and editor of the reports to the government of that survey; editor of a mining magazine and journal of geology from '58 to '60: mining engineer to the Japanese government where he was head of the mining department in the National College during the years '62 and '63: professor of geology and mining in the College of California in '66; commissioner from California to the Paris Exposition, '67: editor of reports of U. S. commissioner to Paris '67-'7 I : chief of scientific staff of San Domingo commission '71 ; commissioner from Conn. to the International Exposition, Philadelphia, and chairman classification committee at that exposition '71-'77: commissioner to Vienna Exposition '75: U. S. commissioner to Paris World's Fair '78 and secretary scientific commission reining engineer '79-'95 and since that date he has been Territorial geologist and director of School of Mines for Arizona. During his life he has contributed largely to the literature of mining, geology and engineering and has come to be recognized as standard authority in this field and to him and his work you will find countless references in the technical literature of the day.

Not the least of his work here has been the collection and selection of our museum which is today largely due to his untiring effort and painstaking direction, the finest collection of Arizona and southwestern relics and specimens of natural history which is to be found in the U. S., and invaluable to the University.

It is a goodly thing to have labored long and to have labored hard but to have worked through a long life on things which are worth the while is certainly the greatest satisfaction. To look back over a field of operations in which one can see big things growing and existing and to be able to feel that these things

are in some respect the product of one's own handiwork must of necessity be a source of intense satisfaction, of most keen joy. It will be given to perhaps none of us to do so many big, practical things, to have a part in and be parcel of such a large share of the world's real work, howsoever much our hearts may yearn for such and howsoever hard our heads and hands may labor to that end, Yet the association here in our daily walks with those who have known these things is a goodly thing; goodly for mind and heart as well. To be given the privilege of daily intercourse with and daily talks of rich and valuable experience of the past and present is a circumstance of our lives highly to be valued. And these things we have of him of whom we write and it is from this source our gratitude springs.

Is it not a goodly record indeed? Small wonder that we hold him in prime reverence and close tucked in the softest corner of our kindest regard.

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