April 6: Jerome Henry Kidder (1889)

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Jerome Henry Kidder graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree before pursuing a medical degree from the University of Maryland. In the midst of his studies, the Civil War came up and Kidder enlisted in the 10th Maryland Volunteer Infantry. After completing his medical education, Dr. Kidder was commissioned an assistant surgeon in the U.S. Navy. Over the next eighteen years, he would work his way up to surgeon before resigning his commission. His naval service took him around the world. While stationed in the Asiatic squadron, he rendered medical aid to a distressed vessel of the Portuguese Navy, for which the King of Portugal awarded him the Military Order of Christ.

Dr. Kidder was ordered to join a scientific party sent out by the U.S. Government to observe the transit of Venus from the Kerguelen Islands, located in the southern Indian Ocean and considered to be one of the most isolated places on earth. In 1881 Dr. Kidder examined the proposed site for the new naval observatory at Washington, and his favorable opinion influenced the acceptance of the property. While on this duty, Dr. Kidder also suggested several changes in the American naval rations, based upon a study of their physiological value. Subsequent to his resignation from the navy, he was called upon to investigate the purity of the air in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Capitol, and in the lecture hall of the National Museum, in both instances securing practical results of great benefit. It was during this time in Washington that Dr. Kidder became associated with the Church of the Epiphany. His wife was confirmed and all three of his children were baptized there. After his death at age 46, Dr. Kidder’s funeral took place at Epiphany before his interment at Oak Hill Cemetery.

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