Robert Maskell Patterson (March 23, 1787 – September 5, 1854) was an American professor of mathematics, chemistry and natural philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania from 1812 to 1828 and professor of natural philosophy at the University of Virginia from 1828 to 1835. He served as the 6th director of the United States Mint from 1835 to 1851 and as president of the American Philosophical Society from 1809 to 1854.[1][2]

Robert Maskell Patterson
6th Director of the United States Mint
In office
PresidentMillard Fillmore
Preceded bySamuel Moore
Succeeded byGeorge Nicholas Eckert
Personal details
Born(1787-03-23)March 23, 1787
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
DiedSeptember 5, 1854(1854-09-05) (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
SpouseHelen Hamilton Leiper
RelationsRobert Patterson (father)

Early life and education edit

Patterson was born on March 23, 1787, in Philadelphia,[3] one of eight children of Robert Patterson and Amy Hunter Ewing.[4] Patterson attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1804 with a B.A.. He studied medicine under Benjamin Smith Barton[5] and graduated with a M.D. in 1808.[6] He continued his education in Paris, France at the Jardins des plantes, and studied with René Just Haüy,[7] Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, Adrien-Marie Legendre and Siméon Denis Poisson.[8] In 1811, Patterson travelled to England and studied with Humphry Davy.[7]

Career edit

He returned to the United States in 1812 and was appointed professor of natural philosophy, chemistry and mathematics in the department of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He was appointed vice provost in 1814.[7] Patterson remained at Penn until 1828 when he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia. He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1834.[9] Patterson was nominated as director of the U.S. Mint by President Andrew Jackson[10][11] and served from 1835 to 1851.[12] In 807, Patterson and his father were consulted by Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler for guidance on the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1826, Patterson was Consulted by the governor of Pennsylvania to determine the best source of water for a state canal.[8]

He was active in the Franklin Institute, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind.[6]

Patterson died on September 5, 1854, in Philadelphia,[13] and was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery.[14] He was married to Helen Hamilton Leiper, daughter of Thomas Leiper, on April 20, 1814,[15] and together they had six children.[8]

American Philosophical Society edit

Patterson was the youngest person elected to the American Philosophical Society at 22 in 1809. He served as secreatry in 1813, as vice-president in 1825, and as president in 1849.[13]

References edit


  1. ^ Robert Patterson – Philadelphia, PA.
  2. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  3. ^ Bache 1859, p. 60.
  4. ^ "Robert Patterson 1743-1824". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  5. ^ Breck 1854, p. 9.
  6. ^ a b "Robert M. Patterson to Thomas Jefferson, 7 January 1814". National Historical Publications & Records Commission. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Bache 1859, p. 61.
  8. ^ a b c "Robert M. (Robert Maskell) Patterson papers, 1775-1853". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  9. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter P" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  10. ^ "U. S. Mint Medals Presented to Mint Director Robert M. Patterson ** 2012 ANA EXHIBIT **". Collectors Society. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  11. ^ Bache 1859, pp. 61–62.
  12. ^ Seijas, Tatiana; Frederick, Jake (2017). Spanish Dollars and Sister Republics - The Money that Made Mexico and the United States. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-4422-6520-2. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  13. ^ a b Bache 1859, p. 62.
  14. ^ "Robert M. Patterson". Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  15. ^ Breck 1854, p. 12.


External links edit

Government offices
Preceded by 6th Director of the United States Mint
Succeeded by