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Headmaster of Deerfield Academy in his younger years from 1815-1819, Edward Hitchcock's life was a full one. He was the son of a hatter, Justin Hitchcock (1722-1822). Edward showed an early interest in science, especially astronomy, and religion. He studied religion at Yale, served as minister of a church in Conway, Massachusetts, and then taught geology, mineralogy, and natural science at Amherst College. He served as state geologist for Massachusetts and in 1844, became President of Amherst College. Dr. Hitchcock continued to teach religion and geology during his 9-years as president.