George Perkins Marsh

George Perkins Marsh

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George Perkins Marsh

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George Perkins Marsh (March 15, 1801 – July 23, 1882), an American diplomat and philologist, is considered by some to be America's first environmentalist, although "conservationist" would be more accurate. The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont takes its name, in part, from Marsh.


Born in Woodstock, Vermont to a prominent family. His father, Charles Marsh, had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. George Marsh graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, in 1816 and from Dartmouth College with highest honors in 1820, was admitted to the bar in 1825, and practiced law in Burlington, Vermont; he also devoted himself to philological studies. In 1835 he was appointed to the Executive Council of Vermont, and from 1843 to 1849 was a Whig representative in Congress. In 1849 President Zachary Taylor appointed Marsh United States minister resident in the Ottoman Empire. In 1852–1853, he discharged a mission to Greece in connection with the imprisonment of an American missionary, Dr. Jonas King (1792–1869). He returned to Vermont in 1854, and in 1857 was a member of the state railway commission. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Marsh the first United States minister to the Kingdom of Italy. Marsh would go on to be the longest-serving chief of mission in U.S. history, serving as envoy for twenty-one years until his death at Vallombrosa in...
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