The year 1825 is a landmark in the history of American geological education owing to innovations pioneered by William Maclure and Amos Eaton. School systems devised independently by them offered a wide background in early nineteenth century science, including for the first time practical experience in field geology. To learn by doing was the simple maxim employed in education. Eaton's Rensselaer School at Troy, New York, and Maclure's School of Industry at New Harmony, Indiana, soon developed into the most successful training centers for students of field geology in the United States. State and Federal involvement in the surveying of natural resources expanded toward the middle of the nineteenth century. Between 1830 and 1860, 56 geological surveys were conducted in 33 states or territories. The Troy and New Harmony schools provided leaders and participants for nearly half (48%) of these projects. The most prominent students were David Dale Owen, of New Harmony, and James Hall, of the Rensselaer School.

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