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Edward Pierrepont Beckwith, 1877-1966



Edward Beckwith, who joined the Club in 1914, died last July of a heart attack while driving his car alone. After graduating in 1901 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as research chemist and engineer he conducted some of the first experiments using tungsten as filament for electric lamps. As an employee of the General Electric Co. he worked on purification of water, iron oxydation and the use of mercury in silica tubes. In 1915 he obtained an international pilot’s license and still through four years of World War II he instructed prospective pilots for the Navy in navigation at Pensacola.

His early climbing was mostly in the Alps and Dolomites. In 1932 he was a member of the Mount McKinley Cosmic Ray Expedition of the Carnegie Institute. In 1937 he helped explore and map 2000 square miles of Navajo country in southern Utah and northern Arizona as a member of the Rainbow Bridge Monument Valley Expedition. In 1939-40 he accompanied David Fairchild to the Dutch East Indies on a botanical collecting expedition. He was never married.

His personality was described by one very close to him. "With an intellect clear and true, high-minded, sociable and kind, his life was ordered by a wisely considered judgment in all his associations. Whatever he undertook, he did superlatively well. Profoundly deep in thought, without imposing his views on others unsought, he was a delightful and inspiring companion. Much loved, he will indeed be missed, gratefully, for his memorable life.”

Henry S. Hall, Jr.