American Philosophical Society
Member History

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404. History of the Arts, Literature, Religion and Sciences[X]
1Name:  Dr. Charles C. Gillispie
 Institution:  Princeton University
 Year Elected:  1972
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  404. History of the Arts, Literature, Religion and Sciences
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1918
 Death Date:  October 6, 2015
Charles Coulston Gillispie was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1918. At Wesleyan University he majored in chemistry with a minor in history, then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate study in chemical engineering. From 1942-46 he served in the United States Army in ranks from private to captain, becoming company commander in the 94th Chemical Mortar Battalion, XV Corps, Third Army, in the European Theater of Operations. Thereafter, he decided to become a historian rather than an engineer and was admitted to graduate study at Harvard University. Combining his technical background with his interest in history, Dr. Gillispie began the study of science as a factor in historical development. Joining the Princeton University faculty in 1947, he taught history while developing the lectures that would become the 1960 book The Edge of Objectivity. That same year he founded the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at Princeton, a collaborative venture between departments. During the 1960s and 1970s Dr. Gillispie also conceived, organized and edited the 16-volume Dictionary of Scientific Biography, which catalogued the careers of over 5,000 scientists from antiquity to the 20th century. The collection immediately established itself as the standard work of reference in the history of science. After serving as Directeur d'Etudes Associé at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris from 1980-85, Dr. Gillispie retired from the Princeton faculty in 1987 in order to devote himself to the completion of his scholarly undertakings. Publishing in both English and French, Dr. Gillispie has numerous books to his credit, including Lazare Carnot, Savant (1971); Science and Policy in France at the End of the Old Regime (1983); The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation (1983); Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827, a Life in Exact Science (1997); Science and Polity in France, The Revolutionary and Napoleon Years (2004); and Essays and Reviews in History and History of Science (2007). The recipient of the 1997 Balzan Prize for History and Philosophy of Science, he was a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1972. Charles Gillispie died October 6, 2015, at age 97, in Plainsboro, New Jersey.
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