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Portrait of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
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Portrait of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall

 On virtual loan from the National Academy of Sciences
Thomas Corwin Mendenhall (1841-1924) was appointed by President Harrison to superintend the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1889. He had previously served as the chair of physics at Ohio State University, chief of the Instrument Division in the U.S. Signal Corps, and president of Rose Polytechnic Institute. During his tenure at the Coast and Geodetic Survey (1889-1894), Mendenhall oversaw the shift in the fundamental standards of the United States from the English yard and pound to the International Meter and Kilogram.