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Mon, 12.22.1884

St. Elmo Brady, Chemist born

St. Elmo Brady

*St. Elmo Brady was born on this date in 1884. He was a Black chemist.

St. Elmo Brady was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Greatly influenced by Thomas W. Talley, a pioneer in the teaching of science, he received his Bachelor's Degree from Fisk University in 1908 and immediately began teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.  His outstanding abilities were acknowledged in 1912 when he was offered a scholarship to Illinois for graduate studies.  He told his students many years later that when he went to graduate school, "they began with 20 whites and one other and ended, in 1916, with six whites and one other."

During his time at Illinois, Brady became the first Black admitted to Phi Lambda Upsilon, the chemistry honor society (1914), and was among the first to be inducted into Sigma Xi, the science honorary society (1915).  In November 1916, The Crisis Monthly magazine of the NAACP selected Brady for its biographical sketch as "Man of the Month." Brady published three scholarly abstracts in Science in 1914-15 on his work with Derick. He also collaborated with Professor George Beal on a paper published in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry titled "The Hydrochloride Method for the Determination of Alkaloids."

Professor Brady also authored three monographs on Household Chemistry for Girls.  He was among the first Blacks to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1916 for work in Noyes Laboratory.

Brady's legacy was his establishment of strong undergraduate curricula, graduate programs, and fundraising development for four historically black colleges and universities. In conjunction with faculty from the University of Illinois, he established a summer infrared spectroscopy open to faculty from all colleges and universities. He served at Tuskegee Institute (1916–1920), Howard University in Washington DC (1920–27), Fisk University (1927–52), and Tougaloo College following his retirement from Fisk.  St. Elmo Brady died on December 25, 1966.

To become a Chemist



Black Biography, 1790-1950:
A Cumulative Index. Randall K. Burkett,
Nancy Hall Burkett, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., editors.
(Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey), 1990. p. 135.
Blacks in Science and Education.

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