Winthrop E. Stone (1862-1921)

"a piece of New England granite transferred to this [Indiana] soil"

B 1862 to Ann Sophia Butler and Frederick Lauson Stone
M Victoria Heitmueller first, then Margaret  (both women were German)
D July 17, 1921 in rock-climbing accident in Canada
C David Frederick and Richard Harlan Stone.
  Winthrop Ellsworth Stone (1862-1921), the first child of Frederick and Ann Butler Stone, was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, and attended Amherst High School and Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts), where he received his degree in 1882. After studying chemistry and biology at Boston University for a short period, he studied chemistry at the University of Goettingen, Germany, where he received a Ph.D. in 1888. In 1889 he was appointed chair of chemistry at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. After the death of President Smart in 1900, Stone was appointed his successor. In 1907 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Michigan. Winthrop E. Stone continued as President of Purdue until July 17, 1921, when he died in an accident while mountain-climbing with his second wife Margaret on Mt. Eon, Alberta, Canada. His children with his first wife Victoria were David F. and Richard Stone.

Stone Family Papers    Rock Climbing


STONE, Winthrop Ellsworth, educator, was born in Chesterfield, N.H., June 12, 1862; son of Frederick L. and Ann (Butler) Stone; grandson of Lauson and Hannah (Fiske) Stone, and of Amaziah and Fanny (Hall) Stone, and a descendant of Simeon and Joanna (Clark) Stone, who came to Watertown from London, England, in 1635. He was graduated from the Massachusetts Agricultural college, B.S., 1882, and from Boston University, 1886, meanwhile serving as assistant chemist to the Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment station, 1884-86. He was chemist to the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment station, 1888-89; professor of chemistry in Purdue university, Lafayette, Indiana, from 1889; vice-president of the university, 1892-1900, and in the latter year was elected president. Dr. Stone was married, June 24, 1889, to Victoria, daughter of Ferdinand and Bertha (Berthold) Heitmueller, of Göttingen, Germany.  He was later married to Margaret, also German.  The degree of Ph.D. was conferred upon him by the Georgia Augusta university of Göttingen, Germany. in 1888. His scientific publications include numerous chemical researches upon the carbohydrates. SOURCE: Biographies of Notable Americans, 1904




back row, left



Stone Hall at Purdue.  Houses the department of Sociology and Anthropology.
  • Promoted women's studies at Purdue:
  • In 1905, with the influence of the first female trustee of Purdue University, Virginia Meredith, and her niece, Mary L. Matthews, President Winthrop Stone announced the formation of the department of household economics.
  • Note: One of his female cousins Bernice Howe graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 1895 while Winthrop was Professor of Chemistry.  One has to surmise he was instrumental in influencing her decision to attend Purdue in the science department.
  • Lasting contribution to medicine:

    Winthrop Stone headed off a major rivalry between IU and Purdue over the existence of Purdue's medical school.  Until 1905, medical education in Indiana was carried on by several private medical schools. The medical community believed that the merger of some of the small private schools with one of the state schools would advance not only the interests of medicine but also public health. Earlier negotiations by the Indianapolis school with Indiana University had failed. Stone, however, made certain that Purdue would not be intruding upon IU's interests, then took the proposal to the board of trustees. In September, 1905, board action established the Indiana Medical College, the School of Medicine of Purdue University. The plan was, of course, subject to legislative approval. Simultaneously, two other private medical schools, the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons, also at Indianapolis, and the Fort Wayne College of Medicine, arranged a similar union with Purdue. In 1906, the Purdue School of Medicine under Dean Henry Jameson, M.D., granted degrees to 122 medical students, (5 of them women) and a year later to 70. However, the legislature was confronted with grave policy questions. Should it favor or disapprove the steps already taken? And to what extent should the state assume direction in medical education. The questions were complicated by Indiana University's attitude. Though it had rejected the private school's original overtures, it did not favor such an expansion by its upstate rival and established a medical school of its own, claiming it had priority in the field of medicine. It attempted to win legislative recognition in the 1907 Indiana General Assembly and at the same time to bring about a disapproval of the existing arrangements for medical education by Purdue. For a time, feeling ran high, and the legislature was at an impasse. Stone stepped into the confusion, and in 1908, Purdue agreed to withdraw, leaving medicine in the care of Indiana University. In 1909, the Indiana General Assembly mandated that Indiana University assume total responsibility for the public medical school. Stone had followed an original course that at the time seemed a way to improve medical education in Indiana - in the absence of any other proposal. His action no doubt stimulated public medical education, but it has since been a Hoosier truism that "IU does not graduate engineers and Purdue does not graduate medical doctors."  Fortunately, Stone's action probably headed off what might have been years of tenacious academic rivalry instead of the generally cooperative attitude which, with rare exceptions, prevails between the two schools to this day and confines the rivalry to the basketball court and to certain Saturday afternoons in November.