ACS President: T. Sterry Hunt (1826-1892)

Served as President: 1879 and 1888

First ACS president to serve two terms

Suggested use of chromic dyes as basis of green dyes used to print American paper money


  • Attended Yale in 1845-1846, studied under Benjamin Silliman, Jr. (Per his father’s directions, the professor trained Hunt by having him perform analytical research, analyze mineral samples for the Geological Survey of Vermont, and assist with lecture preparation)

Career Highlights:

  • Chemist and mineralogist, Geological Survey of Canada, Montreal, 1846-72
  • Part-time professor of chemistry at Laval University, Quebec, 1856-62, McGill University in Montreal, 1856-68, lecturing in French
  • Professor, geology, MIT, 1872-78
  • Chemist, Geological Survey of Pennsylvania 1875, 1878
  • Retired from both MIT and Pennsylvania to become a geological consultant and writer, 1878.
  • Specialized in mineralogical and geological chemistry

Notable Accomplishments:

Studied calcium phosphate and salt deposits and petroleum in Canada. Co-invented the Hunt-Douglas process for extracting copper from its ores. Published over 350 articles, essays, books and presentations. Wrote the organic chemistry section for Silliman, Jr's text, First Principles of Chemistry. Published 18 articles/notes in Silliman Sr.'s American Journal of Science at an early age (1845-47).

Major Awards and Honors:

  • Unanimously elected a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences,1845
  • Elected fellow, Royal Society of London, 1859
  • Elected member, National Academy of Sciences, 1873
  • Honorary Master’s degree, Harvard University
  • Honorary LLD, University of Cambridge, 1881 (stayed in Isaac Newton’s room at Trinity College)
  • Honorary LLD from Laval University
  • Chavalier de la Legion d’Honneur

Service to Science:

  • President, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1870
  • One of the founders of the International Geological Congress, 1878
  • Co-founder Royal Society of Canada (RSC), 1882
  • Royal Society of Canada; co-founder, 1882; appointed as Vice President, RSC, 1863-84, first elected president 1884-85.

Did You Know

. . . that Hunt defined silicon as the “carbon” mineralogy as a parallel to the common definition of organic chemistry as the chemistry of carbon compounds?

. . . that Hunt presented one of the two papers at the Priestley Centennial in 1874, titled “A Century’s Progress in Chemical Theory”?

Former ACS President T. Sterry Hunt