Elmer Charles Herber (1900-1984)

Elmer C. Herber, c.1965

Elmer Charles Herber was born on January 26, 1900 in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania to Alfred and Amanda Sigler Herber. He graduated from Kutztown State College in 1920 and Ursinus College in 1925. In 1929, Herber received his M.S. in zoology from University of Pennsylvania. Later, in 1941, he obtained his Ph. D., from Johns Hopkins University.

Herber began his career teaching high school mathematics and science. He then came to Dickinson College in 1929 as an instructor in biology. In 1955 he became chair of that department. Herber was well known among his students for his class field trips and hands-on experiments in the laboratory. He was also a supporter of the campus chapter of Sigma Chi. He retired from the College in 1967 after thirty-eight years of teaching.

Herber was a prominent researcher in parasitology and tropical medicines, winning various grants to continue his work. In 1939 he identified a parasitic fluke in birds which became known as Cercaria herbaria, and in 1961 he received a NIH grant to study tropical medicine in Central America. Herber published much of his research in over twenty-five publications. His forerunner in the biology department, Spencer Fullerton Baird, class of 1840, intrigued Herber; with the help of the American Philosophical Society in 1952, he published Correspondence Between Spencer Fullerton Baird and Louis Agassi – Two Pioneer American Naturalists.

Herber was active outside of the College as well. He was a member of the American Society of Tropical Medicine, American Society of Biology Teachers, and American Society of Parasitologists, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and held the presidency of Pennsylvania Academy of Science. He was a member of the Allison Methodist Church and the Carlisle Rotary.

Dickinson College presented Herber with a Certificate of Distinguished Public Service on October 8, 1966, in recognition of his dedication to the College. Herber married Verna Weiss in June 1929 and the couple had a son, Charles J. Herber. Elmer Charles Herber died on May 12, 1984.

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Dickinson College Archives
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