Prof. Arthur Michael

Born in Buffalo NY in 1855, he studied chemistry at Heidelberg under Robert Bunsen (1811-1899) and at Berlin under August Wilhelm Hofmann (1818-1892). He then studied under Adolphe Wurtz (1817-1884) in Paris and Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907) in St Petersburg, but never acquired a formal degree. In 1881 he arrived at Tufts as an Assistant in the Chemical Laboratory, and a year later, was appointed Professor of Chemistry to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Professor Pitman. He occupied the chair of Chemistry for eight years, and during that time made the laboratory at Tufts famous as the seat of notable research work. He received an A. M. degree from Tufts in 1882, and a Ph. D. in 1890. In 1889, he married Helen Cecilia DeSilver Abbott (1857-1904), a brilliant scientist herself and one of the few women organic chemists of the time, she went on to earn an M.D. degree in 1903 at Tufts School of Medicine. After a failed attempt to run the chemistry department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1891, he spent three years working with his wife in his private laboratory on the Isle of Wight in England before returning to Tufts. After he retired from Tufts in 1907, Michael set up another private laboratory at Newton Center near Boston. In 1912 he was appointed a Professor of Chemistry, without lecturing duties, at Harvard University. Arthur Michael died in 1942. Additional information can be found in the Biographical Memoir by Louis F. Fieser and in the Tufts digital archives.