Croft, Henry Holmes

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(1820-1883), DCL, FCS
Born 6 March 1820 on Gower Street, London, England.
University College, University of London (part-time study)
University of Berlin (on recommendation of Michael Faraday) (1838-1841)
First Professor of Chemistry and Experimental Philosophy at UofT and King’s College
1849: elected Vice-Chancellor (under the Chancellorship of the Hon. P.B. DeBlaquière)
As ex-Vice-Chancellor, a subsequent ex officio member of the University Senate
Fellow, Chemical Society of London
DCL 1853 University of Toronto
Founding captain (later major) of the University Rifle Corps

Strong interest in agriculture and horticulture (Agricultural Chemistry); strong proponent of a provincial school of agriculture; a founder of the Entomological Society of Ontario; one of the founders of the Royal Canadian Institute; toxicologist (medical jurisprudence)

Craig, Gerald M. ‘Henry Holmes Croft,’ Dictionary of Canadian Biography, XI (1881-1890) 218-219

King, John. McCaul, Croft, Forneri. Toronto: Macmillan, 1914.

[re. University of Berlin] “There was one distinction which, with his inherent hatred of shams in any form, Croft could never be induced to seek, and that was the degree of Ph.D. as obtainable at that time. He was not at all singular in this respect. The examinations for the degree in the ordinary course at Berlin were unusually searching and severe; he passed them all with the highest honours, but, like several of the best men of his time, he would never accept a distinction whgich could be had for sixty shillings and a written thesis at any other German University. The trumpery difference in academic standing between those whose scholarship really merited the honour and those whose money purchased it without any, made it, in his opinion, of very dubious value.” (King, pp 125-6)

“...he may be said to have laid the foundation of our educational system of practical chemistry, and the admirable methods of illustration in chemical research and analysis.” (King, 154-5)