Edwin O. Jordan

Edwin O. Jordan, Shosaburo Watase, Frank R. Lillie, and William Morton Wheeler were friends while studying at Clark University and came with Charles Otis Whitman to the University of Chicago in 1892. Jordan taught his first course at the university in the spring of 1893 entitled "Sanitary Biology" in which students studied the effect of sewage disposal on the water supply and drinking water. In the following academic year, "Sanitary Biology" was expanded into two courses, one each focused on general and advanced bacteriology.

Initially trained as a zoologist, Jordan spent a majority of his career at the University of Chicago expanding its bacteriology department. In 1899 he published a translated text of Ferdinand Hueppe's well-known "Naturwissenschaftliche Einfuhrung in die Bakteriologic" into English under the title of "The Principles of Bacteriology". He pushed for the creation of a bacteriologist society to recognize the importance of bacteriology as a separate science and the first meeting of the Society of American Bacteriologists was held in 1899; Jordan served as its President in 1905 and remained a strong supporter throughout his life.

The Department of Pathology and Bacteriology was recognized as a separate biological science unit at the University of Chicago in 1900, removing bacteriological work from the Department of Zoology. One of his lasting legacies to the field of Bacteriology was his textbook "General Bacteriology", whose first edition appeared in 1908 and which printed 11 editions prior to his death in 1936. During his tenure at the University of Chicago, he was an active advocate for pasteurized milk through his research on milk-borne disease and he greatly influenced the knowledge of sanitation with his findings about the self-purification of streams. This knowledge benefited not only the scientific community but importantly, the community of the city of Chicago.

Edwin O. Jordan

From the Photographic Archive Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. Available at: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/. Identifier: apf1-03064