Open main menu

John Bascom (May 1, 1827 – October 2, 1911) was an American professor, college president and writer.

John Bascom
John Bascom image
Born(1827-05-01)May 1, 1827
DiedOctober 27, 1911(1911-10-27) (aged 84)
OccupationPresident, University of Wisconsin, 1874 to 1887
John Bascom signature



He was born on May 1, 1827 in Genoa, New York, and was a graduate of Williams College with the class of 1849. He graduated from the Andover Theological Seminary in 1855.[1] Aside from the degrees he received in those places, he held many other scholarly and honorary degrees. He was professor of rhetoric at Williams College from 1855 to 1874, and was president of the University of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1887. He retired in 1903[1] and died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on October 2, 1911.[2][3]

He was the author of some thirty or forty books. He said in his biography the books cost him more money than he ever received from their publication. But he also included that he was glad to have written them and is only sorry that he could not have been of more service to his fellow men. He greatly influenced Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. during the latter's time at the University of Wisconsin.

In 1853, John married Abbie Burt, who died shortly thereafter. John then wed Emma Curtiss, to whom he was married for over fifty years. Their three children, Jean, George and Florence, all graduated from the University of Wisconsin.[4]

Legacy and honorsEdit

Bascom Hill and Bascom Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison are both named for him. Bascom House, the home of the Williams College Office of Admissions, is also named for Bascom.[5]

During World War II the Liberty ship SS John Bascom was built in Panama City, Florida, and named in his honor.[6]

See alsoEdit

Relatives of noteEdit

Books and articlesEdit

Many of these are in the public domain and fully viewable at Google Books.

  • An Appeal To Young Men On The Use Of Tobacco (1850)
  • Philosophy Of Rhetoric (1866)
  • The Principles Of Psychology (1869)
  • Aesthetics (1871)
  • Science, Philosophy And Religion (1871); (1872)
  • Philosophy Of English Literature (1874)
  • Education And The State (1877)
  • Comparative Psychology (1878)
  • Ethics (1879)
  • Natural Theology (1880)
  • The Science Of Mind (1881)
  • The Lawyer And The Lawyer's Questions (1882)
  • Problems In Philosophy (1885)
  • Prohibition And Common Sense (1885)
  • Sociology (1887)
  • The New Theology (1891)
  • Address Before The YMCA Of The Mass. Agricultural College (1892)
  • An Historical Interpretation Of Philosophy (1893)
  • Social Theory (1895)
  • Evolution And Religion (1897)
  • The Goodness Of God (1901)
  • The Remedies Of Trusts (1901)
  • The College Tax Exemption (1907)
  • Things Learned By Living (1913)
  • Sermons And Addresses (1913)


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "Bascom, John 1827 - 1911". Dictionary of Wisconsin History. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Presidents and Chancellors of the University of Wisconsin–Madison". University of Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  4. ^ Eliot, Samuel Atkins (1911). Biographical history of Massachusetts: biographies and autobiographies of the leading men in the state, Volume 1. Massachusetts Biographical Society.
  5. ^ "Bascom House". Williams College Facilities. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  6. ^ Williams, Greg H. (25 July 2014). The Liberty Ships of World War II: A Record of the 2,710 Vessels and Their Builders, Operators and Namesakes, with a History of the Jeremiah O’Brien. McFarland. ISBN 1476617546. Retrieved 7 December 2017.

  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bascom, John" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Further readingEdit

  • Hoeveler, J. David. John Bascom and the Origins of the Wisconsin Idea. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

External linksEdit