Charles F. Chandler, chemist and public health reformer, was born in Massachusetts on December 6, 1836. He received his doctorate in chemistry in 1856 from the University of Göttingen where he studied with the pioneering chemist Friedrich Wöhler. He taught chemistry at Union College, Schenectady, New York until 1864 when he became the first dean of Columbia University’s newly-established School of Mines, currently the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. He remained dean until 1897 and taught until 1910. For most of this same period he also taught chemistry at the College of Pharmacy of the City of New York and chemistry and medical jurisprudence at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Chandler was appointed to New York City’s Metropolitan Board of Health in 1866 serving first as chemist and later as president (1873-1883). While leading the Board he advocated for milk inspection, tenement house reform, and for pure food and kerosene legislation.
Chandler was a founder of the American Chemical Society and the Chemists’ Club and received many honors, including several honorary doctorates and the Perkin Medal from the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry. He died August 25, 1925.