Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Marshall, John P., 1823-1901
|John Potter Marshall (1832-1901), one of the first members of the Tufts faculty, was connected to the college for more than forty-five years. He served as acting president of the institution following Hosea Ballou's death in 1861.|
Marshall, the great great grandson of Governor Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was born in Kingtson, New Hampshire, on August 11, 1823. Before entering Yale in 1840, Marshall attended local academies and worked for a year as a carriage builder in Boston. Following graduation, Marshall spent several years teaching in New England academies and also traveled south to be with his invalid brother. He later returned to New England to resume teaching, moving from his hometown to Danvers, Massachusetts, where he became principal of the high school there. Charles Leonard, future dean of the Tufts Divinity School, recruited him to be principal of Chelsea High School. In 1853, Marshall married Caroline Clement, with whom he had two children. She died in 1895.
Seeing it"as his duty as a universalist to aid the advancement of the college by every means in his power," Marshall left Chelsea to join the faculty of the fledgling institution. He did not immediately vacate his position in Chelsea, teaching there in the morning and at Tufts in the afternoon. Initially charged with instructing all of the scientific work of the college, Marshall eventually limited his courses to mineralogy and geology as the faculty grew in size. As the first faculty member appointed, Marshall served as Professor of Math and Physics from 1855 to 65, and then held the position of Professor of Mineralogy and Geology until 1901.He also served as Professor of Chemistry (1865-76), and Director of Barnum Museum (1892-1898). Following Hosea Ballou's death in 1861, Marshall was appointed acting president of the college for one year. He had also served as dean of the faculty from 1892 to 1898.
During the Civil War, Marshall spent two years in hospital service in the South. In 1872 and 1874, Marshall traveled abroad, studying mineralogy and geology throughout Europe.
In his spare time, he would grind lenses for the college's laboratory equipment and maintain the college's fossil collection, comprised mainly of his private pieces. He built the second house on the hill, at 48 Professors Row, two years after coming to Medford, and resided there until his death on February 4, 1901. A bronze bas relief in memory of Marshall is located in Goddard Chapel.
Source: VF; HTC, 105-107
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