Oliver Peeble Jenkins, Ph. D.

Below: Photograph of Oliver Peeble Jenkins.

While at Indiana University, a second student by the name of Oliver Peeble Jenkins, also took up his Ph.D. research studies with David Starr Jordan as his primary advisor, making a study of Hawaiian fishes. Jenkins began his college education at Moore’s Hill College of Indiana, which was organized in 1854, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church. According to his youngest son, Olaf Pitt Jenkins in his book Early Days Memoirs, his father, Oliver Peebles Jenkins, entered Moore's Hill College in 1864, when he was fourteen years of age. (19) He worked his way through school by waking at 4 a.m., sawing up hardwoods such as hickory and black walnut, and then starting all the open fires in the college building during the wintertime. Jenkins choice of Moore's Hill College was likely the result that both his father and his father in-law were instructors at Moore's Hill College in Indiana. (20) In fact, for a time, both his father and father-in-law each served as presidents’ of Moore’s Hill College; Reverend George Peterson Jenkins, 1887-1890, and Reverend Francis A. Hester, 1876-1879. By the age of nineteen, Oliver P. Jenkins had received two degrees from Moore's Hill College, a Bachelor of Arts (A. B.) in 1869, and Master of Arts (A. M.) in 1872. (21)

During this period in the United States, most men pursuing a college degree started out their education by studying the ministry. This required students spending much of their time becoming familiar with languages, such as Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. Oliver P. Jenkins had told his son, Olaf, that he had read the Bible in seven different languages. (22) At this time in American history, other than the ministry, the chosen profession acquired through an academic education was usually either medicine or law. For his chosen profession, Oliver P. Jenkins selected the lesser-known subject of natural history.

In order to obtain his academic education in natural history, Jenkins was required to venture from one college to another to get the learning he desired. He first attended De Pauw University, followed by Northwestern, next Johns Hopkins, and finally Indiana University, where he received a Master of Science (M.S.) and in 1886, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1890. (23) During his pursuit of this education, Oliver P. Jenkins served as Professor of Natural Science at Moore’s Hill College from 1876-1882; Professor of Natural Science at the Indiana State Normal School, 1883-1886; and Professor of Biology at De Pauw University, Indiana, 1886-1891. (24)

While at Indiana University, OP Jenkins, took up his doctorate research with David Starr Jordan as his primary advisor. This scholarly relationship with Jordan resulted in Jenkins being among the first of the faculty members selected by Dr. Jordan for the new Leland Stanford Junior University. The third president of Stanford University Ray Lyman Wilbur, in his Memoirs, provided the following description of his undergraduate advisor, as he experienced OP Jenkins as a course instructor:

Dr. Jenkins was a gifted and unusual teacher. His exposition of the subject was always clear and effective, in spite of some hesitation of manner. It was a real delight to see him draw a picture on the blackboard with colored chalk and then, in hesitation for a proper word, pass his hand across his brow-until by the end of the lecture he looked like a painted Indian. (25)

Oliver Peeble Jenkins, like his fellow student Charles Henry Gilbert, remained associated with David Starr Jordan for much of his career. As we will see, both men will make their way to the California coast and participate in the development of a seaside laboratory along the Southern tip of Monterey Bay.