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James Joshua Blaisdell

Summary of James Joshua Blaisdell Chapter from Richardson's History:

     Born in Canaan, New Hampshire on February 8, 1827, he grew up in nearby Lebanon, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1846, and afterward became a Congregational pastor. In 1853 he married Susan Ann Allen. He came to Beloit to teach Rhetoric and Philosophy in 1859. He based his teachings on Platonism and Christianity. With his lectures on "Ethics," "Logic," and "Evidence of Christianity," he taught to both his classes and the public. He treated his students as individuals, not conforming to the traditional teaching methods of the time. People described his personality as genial yet puritanical, and he opposed change.

     Blaisdell also became involved in several community activities. In 1864 he became chaplain of the 40th Wisconsin volunteers in the Hundred Days' service in Memphis. He took on the responsibility of the Beloit schools in 1864. He was a member of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, and became vice president of letters in 1894-95. He was also the President of the Wisconsin Children's Home Society 1893-96, Chairman of the Committee on Reformation of Penitentiaries for the State Conference of Charities and Corrections, and one of the directors of the YMCA. In 1873 he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from Knox College and Dartmouth. He authored the book Visions of a Citizen, which was published after his death in October 1896.


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