Herbarium made by Amos Eaton

Throughout his life, Amos Eaton collected and studied specimens of nature, often recording his observations of them in private journals. As his scientific career developed, he began to publish his findings in a variety of manuals, textbooks, and surveys, many of which are available in Rensselaer's Archives and Special Collections Department.

During his association with Rensselaer, Eaton's itinerant lectures decreased, but he continued to offer special classes for local townspeople. As an early proponent of women's education, he also collaborated with Emma Willard and occasionally taught natural science to her students at the Troy Female Seminary. Eaton even attempted to introduce a Ladies Course at Rensselaer in the 1830s, but his efforts were rejected by the school's Board of Examiners.

Amos Eaton's zeal for scientific education extended into his family life. His letters to his children frequently contained advice on their academic pursuits, along with news of his work, reports on his chronic health problems, and comments on other family members. He was successful in transmitting his interests to several of his children: a daughter taught science in a girls' academy; two of his sons studied and taught at the Rensselaer School; and a third son became a professor of natural science.

The following are some of the Amos Eaton manuscripts available in Rensselaer's Archives and Special Collections Department.

Journals and notebooks:



Letter to Emma Willard



Letter to Sarah C. Eaton





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