Edward Livingston Youmans

On this date in 1821, Edward Livingston Youmans, freethinker and founder of Popular Science magazine, was born in New York state. A precocious scholar, he continued his studies and inventions even when he was afflicted with ophthalmia at age 13 and was blind for several years. He graduated from Vermont University with a degree in medicine, lectured from 1852 to 1869 on science in the lyceum system and was one of the first popularizers of evolution in the United States.

Youmans founded Popular Science in 1872. Freethought biographer Joseph McCabe called him an “indefatigable worker and comprehensive idealist [who] literally wore out his life in altruistic endeavor.” Youmans’ writings include The Correlation and Conservation of Forces (1864), Alcoholism and the Constitution of Man (1853), A Handbook of Household Science (1857) and The Culture Demanded by Modern Life (1863). Youmans also oversaw the U.S. publication of Herbert Spencer‘s books. D. 1887.

Freedom From Religion Foundation