William Jones, philologist

1746 (London) – 1794 (Calcutta, now Kolkata)

Jones, an all-time brilliant scholar, was the first to see the family relationship of all Indo-European languages, and especially of Sanskrit with Greek and Latin. He also almost single-handed started the academic study of Indian culture, his work directly or indirectly inspiring Goethe, Coleridge and the Bengal Renaissance. He had important links with Wilkins and Monboddo (both also pioneers of historical and comparative linguistics, intrigued by Sanskrit). Priestley, Franklin, Price and Smith were all friends, Banks an important correspondent, and Gibbon, Goldsmith and Garrick all fellow-members of Johnson and Reynolds’ Turk’s Head Club.

Edward S. Morse

1838 (Portland, Maine) – 1925 (Salem, Mass.)

Morse was an eminent marine biologist, who did much to extend our knowledge of shells; while working in Japan, he built up university departments, stimulated Japanese archaeology, and wrote a detailed study of Japanese domestic architecture (still in print). He studied marine biology under Agassiz, specialising in the study of seashells, and became a friend of the astronomer Lowell, occasionally making the long journey to his Arizona observatory.

Edward S. Morse knew…