Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
|Frank W. Durkee (1861-1939), A1888, H1921, was professor of Chemistry from 1895 until his death in 1939, and actively promoted the growth of the department from offices on the first floor of Ballou Hall to its present location in the Pearson Chemistry Building.|
Durkee was born in North Tunbridge, Vermont, on October 5, 1861.Not from a wealthy family, Durkee worked in order to obtain an education, attending the Vermont Normal School and Goddard Seminary. He graduated from Tufts in 1888.In 1889 he became Instructor of Chemistry and Gymnasium, and was promoted through the ranks to full Professor of Chemistry in 1917.In 1921 Tufts presented him with an honorary doctor of science degree, and in 1939 he was awarded the Ballou Medal for Distinguished Service in recognition for his service to the college.
Durkee lived with his wife, Henrietta Noble Brown Durkee, and family in the house formerly located at 38 Professors Row, at a time when houses along Professors Row wereused for faculty housing. Many faculty continued to maintain small farming operations into the early years of the 20th century, including keeping horses and cows on college land. In 1917, Durkee asked that then President Bumpus sell him the grass on the lot adjacent to his house, presumably to use as fodder for his animals. President Bumpus happily granted Durkee the grass free of charge on condition that the field would be mowed a second time prior to the opening of classes in order for the lot to present a "neat appearance."
The house at 38 Professors Row was known as the Brown-Durkee House until it was demolished to make way for the Mayer Campus Center.
Durkee died suddenly at his home on May 21, 1939.