Nathaniel Bowditch was one of America's great practical scientists. His contributions to navigation and astronomy were signal achievements in the new republic, helping to create an identity distinct from England. Self-taught and ambitious, Bowditch had a successful career as a businessman but also turned his restless mind to scientific inquiry. His most important book, the New Practical Navigator (1802), simplified navigational problems for seamen.
Bowditch's bust rests on the first volume of his translation and annotation of Pierre-Simon de Laplace's Celestial Mechanics, a study of physical astronomy. -- NPG
of the Late
Nathaniel Bowditch LL.D.
Executed by Ball Hughes
Academy of Arts and Sciences
Hughes' 1847 bronze statue of Nathaniel Bowditch is said to be the first bronze statue cast in the United States. This engraving by Bricher R. Russell appeared in A Handbook for Passengers over the Cambridge Railroad, with a description of Mount Auburn Cemetery, 1858, by W. V. Spencer.
Bronze Statue of Dr. Nathaniel Bowditch
The engraving below by G. T. Storm appeared in Bowditch's 1840 Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch. It represents an unfinished 1828 painting by Gilbert Stuart, his last.
Engraved by G. T. Storm from an unfinished painting,
in the possession of the family – The last work of Stuart.