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UW (Madison) Faculty Kids, c. 1890s

Imagine your kids are on the playground at school, engaged in a time-honored round of “my dad’s stronger than your dad” or “my mom’s smarter than your mom.”

And then, they run into THIS bunch. Here’s how I imagine it goes down:

  • "My dad can see stars!”
  • "Big deal, my dad’s the university president and some day, they’ll name a really odd-looking building after him!” 
  • "Oh yeah, my dad introduced microscopic slides to campus, will someday found the study of lakes, will be university president AND have a normal-looking building named after him.” 
  • "Sift this, Birgey, my dad’s a worldwide champion of academic freedom!” 

Who wins? I’d say it’s a toss up. But what a intriguing bunch of childhood playmates!


UW Archives image #S07183: Children of UW Faculty, c. early 1890s. From left to right: Helen Flint (later Ingersoll), Richard T. Ely Jr., Edward G. Birge, Anna G. Birge and Janet Van Hise. Posed with their teacher. 

Notes: Helen Flint was the daughter of Albert S. Flint, staff astronomer at the Washburn Observatory. She later married renowned UW physicist, L.R. Ingersoll. Edward G. and Anna G. Birge were the only two children of Edward Asahel Birge. Janet Van Hise was the daughter of Charles Van Hise. Richard T. Ely, Jr. was the son of Richard T. Ely, Sr. 

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Filed under faculty kids 1890s Van Hise Ely Birge Ingersoll Flint UW-Madison university faculty history US history Wisconsin Madison