Parker Cleaveland, an American mineralogist, born at Rowley, Mass., Jan. 15, 1780, died at Brunswick, Me., Oct. 15, 1858. He graduated at Harvard college in 1799, and then passed three years in teaching in Haverhill, Mass., and York, Me., being in the latter place also postmaster and clerk of the courts. He was a tutor in Harvard college from 1803 to 1805, when he was chosen professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, and lecturer on chemistry and mineralogy, in Bowdoin college, an office which with some modifications he retained till his death. Thus connected with this institution from its infancy, he instructed every class that graduated from it during more than half a century, and by his labors in science and his enthusiasm in teaching he contributed largely to its growth and eminence. He devoted himself especially to mineralogy, and traversed the surrounding country as far as the White mountains in prosecution of his researches, forming a very valuable cabinet. He contributed several papers to the journal of the American academy of arts and sciences, and in 1816 published his "Mineralogy and Geology," a work which earned for him the name of father of American mineralogy, and did much to associate this country with the scientific labors of older nations.
It was upon the general system of Brongniart and Ilaiiy, and was chiefly distinguished by the minute accuracy of its descriptions, and by the original information which it gave of the new localities of minerals. The correspondence of Prof. Cleaveland was now solicited by the most eminent scientific men, by Sir Humphry Davy, Sir David Brewster, Cuvier, Brongniart, and Ilaiiy, and he received diplomas of membership from sixteen of the principal literary and scientific societies in Europe. Professorships were also tendered to him at different times by Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, and other colleges in the United States. A second and much enlarged edition of his "Mineralogy" appeared in 1822, and a third in 1856. In 1839 the presidency of the college was offered to him, which he declined; and from that time his efforts were chiefly as teacher and lecturer before the classes of the college and of the medical school connected with it. His genial enthusiasm in scientific pursuits, his clearness of perception, and severe official fidelity obtained for him remarkable success and popularity as an instructor. During the 53 years of his connection with Bowdoin college he failed on his own account of attending only three recitations or lectures.
During this period he kept a meteorological journal, noting the weather at three different hours every day.