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Samuel D. Tillman


Centurion, 1873–1875

Full Name Samuel Dyer Tillman

Born 1 April 1815 in Utica, New York

Died 4 September 1875 in Jersey City, New Jersey

Buried Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Proposed by Charles P. Daly and Jonathan Edwards

Elected 6 December 1873 at age fifty-eight

Century Memorials

The list of deceased members contains the names in the order of their loss, of Hays, Sherwood, Strong, Gaillard, Tillman, Stone, Kemble, Hegeman, Turney and Blodgett. The memorial notices, prepared and presented by your direction, express our appreciation of those we have lost with an earnestness of feeling and an appropriateness of phrase to which your Board can have nothing to add.

Augustus R. Macdonough
1876 Century Association Reports

The late Professor Samuel D. Tillman was a native of Utica, and a graduate of Union College. He passed nearly twenty years in the practice of the law, and in public office, in Western New York. Literary and scientific studies had always more attractions for him than the pursuit of his profession. Twenty years ago, he removed to Hew York, and devoted himself to scientific researches. In these he found ample scope for a fine mechanical and inventive faculty. During these twenty years be was a prominent member of the American Association for the advancement of Science, having for friends and associates President Barnard, Professors [Edward S.] Morse and [Joseph] Henry, and others of like eminence. He was for many years Professor of Science and Mechanics in the American Institute, and its Corresponding Secretary. He was, during the same time, editor of the Annual Transactions of the Institute, published by the State of New York. He was also chairman of the Polytechnic Club. In his official capacity, he was often consulted by inventors or improvers of machines and processes, and sometimes by over-sanguine projectors and theorists. The first he aided by valuable suggestions or counsel. To the others he rendered no less service, by dissuading them from further indulgence in unprofitable daydreams.

The scientific attainments of Professor Tillman were recognized by learned institutions, especially by Union College, in their conferring of honorary degrees. Few were more conversant than he with every department of mechanical science and practical invention. He had made the laws of sound an especial study. His publications and school chart have been of great value in promoting a knowledge of music. He also devised and perfected a simple nomenclature of chemistry. His theory of atoms has received the highest commendations from men of science in America and Europe. His latest invention was a planisphere for schools and libraries, facilitating the use of maps and globes. We are indebted to him for the instrument in our library.

Professor Tillman had great geniality of manners and character, which gave relish to his companionship in his hours of relaxation from mechanical and mathematical studies. His stores of information were always at the service of others, and he cheerfully encouraged and aided the researches of younger and less experienced enquirers. He felt especial interest in studies which promised some beneficent improvement or reform, for he earnestly believed that there was no science, however abstract, which could not be transmuted into social good. His premature decease may justly be accounted a loss to useful art and learning.

Henry C. Dorr, Henry R. Winthrop, and Augustus R. Macdonough
1875 Century Association Memorial Notices