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Rogers, R. E. (Robert Empie), 1813-1884



  • Existence: 1813 March 29 - 1884 September 6


Robert Empie Rogers (1813 - 1884) was an American chemist and educator. The youngest brother of William Barton Rogers, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he is known for his various professorships, his work and publications in medical chemistry, as well as his participation in many scientific associations.

Educated by his father, Patrick Kerr Rogers, and later by his older brothers, Robert would receive a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1836 [1]. After graduating, Rogers would become the lead chemist for the first Geological Survey of Pennsylvania until 1842 [1]. Henry Darwin Rogers, Robert's brother, acted as the lead of the entire survey. During this time, in 1840, Robert would also help to co-found the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists [2].

As part of his professional life, much like his siblings, Rogers would hold many professorships throughout his career. Across his various roles he'd teach applied chemistry, as well as topics related to medicine and toxicology. Among his other university positions, Rogers was the Dean of the medical faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, and the President of the Franklin Institute. He would also hold professorships at the University of Virginia and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia [2]. During the Civil War, between 1862-1863, Rogers also served as acting assistant surgeon at West Philadelphia Military Hospital [2].

In 1872, Rogers was appointed by the United States Department of the Treasury as part of a commission to examine the smelters' and refiners' department, as well as the waste of silver of the United States Mint in Philadelphia [1]. From 1872 until his death in 1884 he would also act as chemist to the gas trust of Philadelphia [1].

Among his publications as part of many scientific societies, Rogers would notably co-author a textbook with his brother, James Blythe Rogers, in 1855, Elements of Chemistry (1846) [2].

Robert Empie Rogers died, at the age of 71, on September 6th, 1884 in Philadelphia, PA.

1. Edgar Fahs Smith, "Biographical Memoir of Robert Empie Rogers, 1813-1884" National Academy of Sciences (November 1904) 2. “William Barton Rogers: Chronology” MIT Libraries


Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

William Barton Rogers II papers

Identifier: MC-0003
Scope and Contents of the Collection The substance though not the bulk of the papers consists of letters from Henry Darwin Rogers to his nephew William Barton Rogers II, son of James Blythe Rogers. From 1852 to about 1857 William Barton Rogers II worked as an assistant to Henry D. Rogers on the Pennsylvania Geological Survey. The papers of are interest because they shed light on the working methods of the Geological Survey of Pennsylvania.The collection includes correspondence from Henry Darwin Rogers instructing...
Dates: 1838 - 1919

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