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Runkle, John Daniel, 1822-1902



  • Existence: 1822 October 11 - 1902 July 8

Biographical Note

John Daniel Runkle, 1822-1902, SB, MA, 1851, Harvard College, was the second president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1870 to 1878, having served as acting president from 1868 to 1870. He was professor of mathematics from 1865 to 1902. Earlier in 1860 he was a member of the committee that prepared the "Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology," which led to the establishment of MIT in 1861, and he worked closely with the founder and first president of MIT, William Barton Rogers. Runkle's interest in the "Russian system of shop work training" led to the establishment of the School of Practical Mechanisms at MIT in 1876. After his resignation as president in 1878, Runkle was granted two years' leave of absence which he spent traveling in Europe with his family and during which he studied technical and industrial education abroad. He then returned to MIT and teaching.

John Runkle was also associated with the Nautical Almanac computation project from 1849 to 1884. In 1858 he founded the journal The Mathematical Monthly and edited it for three years, when publication ceased.

He was married to Catharine Robbins Bird in 1862 until her death in 1897. Their children who lived to adulthood were Catharine Bird, born February 1863; John Cornelius, born December 1866; Eleanor Winslow, born March 1881; and Gordon Taylor, born July 1882. Two other children, William Bird (February-September 1865) and Emma Rogers (May 1870-May 1871) did not survive childhood.


Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Correspondence, MIT, 1865 - 1866

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: cuid26299
Scope and Contents

Correspondents include Charles D. Gambrill and John Daniel Runkle.

Dates: 1865 - 1866

John D. Runkle papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0007
Scope and Contents The collection consists mainly of the professional correspondence of John D. Runkle, a professor of mathematics and the second president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The bulk of the incoming correspondence is from William Barton Rogers, MIT’s founder, and his wife, Emma Savage Rogers, concerning MIT. Other prominent correspondents include Robert H. Richards, Charles W. Eliot, Benjamin Pierce, William R. Ware, Albert F. Hall, and T. Sterry Hunt. Letters from Edward...
Dates: 1853 - 1880

Student records, 1885 - 1886

 unspecified — Box 1: [Barcode: 39080036785720]
Scope and Contents From the Collection: This collection contains one volume of minutes and records of the Special Committee of the Faculty on the School of Mechanic Arts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from November 24, 1877, to January 2, 1880, and three volumes of student records from 1876-1886. The Special Committee of the Faculty was responsible for the administration of the School of Mechanic Arts. MIT President John D. Runkle was chair of the committee from 1877 to 1878; Professor John Ordway was...
Dates: 1885 - 1886

William Barton Rogers papers

Identifier: MC-0001
Abstract This collection contains the personal correspondence of William Barton Rogers, the founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Family and professional correspondence, notes, articles, lectures, clippings, and drafts of articles on scientific topics, documents relating his philosophy on science and technology education, and many antecedent documents relating to the establishment and early years of MIT are included. An important part of the collection is drafts of...
Dates: 1804 - 1950; Majority of material found within 1834 - 1882