Merritt Caldwell (1806-1848)

Merritt Caldwell

Merritt Caldwell was born on November 29, 1806 to William and Nancy Caldwell of Oxford, Maine. He attended Bowdoin College and Medical School, graduating in 1828. He received his master’s degree from that institution in 1831. From 1828 until 1834, Caldwell was principal of the Maine Wesleyan Seminary.

Caldwell came to Dickinson College in 1834 as professor of mathematics, metaphysics, and political economy. He is credited with introducing the first biology classes at the college, known then as “natural science.” In 1841, he was forced by ill health to take a break from teaching, but returned to the school upon his sufficient recovery. Caldwell traveled to London in 1846 where he participated in the World’s Temperance Conference before a four month tour of Europe. Caldwell’s delicate health had improved during his European tour, but this proved only temporary.

He resigned his position at the College in March 1848 due to failing health. Merritt Caldwell died of tuberculosis on June 6, 1848 in Portland, Maine.

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Dickinson College Archives
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