chapter  4
19 Pages

Science and Civilization in Early Meiji Japan: The "Autobiographical Notes" of Thomas C. Mendenhall

WithRichard Rubinger

This chapter establishes two broad contexts from which to view Mendenhall's work in Japan: the body of experience, training, and skills which he brought to Tokyo; and the institutional development of science at the University where his professional activities took place. The following account of the life and work of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall is based on extensive materials housed in the Niels Bohr Library of the American Institute of Physics in New York City. They contain approximately 4,000 items—manuscripts, correspondence, published articles, photographs and memorabilia—occupying twelve feet of shelf space. Mendenhall was born on a farm near Hanoverton, Ohio on 4 October, 1841. He was named after the popular governor of the state at the time, Thomas Corwin. His formatives first twenty years were spent in the hills of eastern Ohio during the politically tense period preceding the Civil War.