Daniel Draper (1841-1931) is considered by many to be America’s first meteorologist. He studied science under his father, John William Draper, who was on the faculty of New York University and was one of the founders of its medical school. During the Civil War, Daniel served an apprenticeship at an iron works in Brooklyn, where he helped in the construction of the Monitor, the first ironclad warship commissioned by the U. S. Navy.
In 1869 Daniel established the New York Meteorological Observatory in Central Park and served as the official meteorologist of New York City for 42 years. He designed and patented his “self-recording instruments” to measure temperature, rainfall and barometric pressure, and he established the Draper Manufacturing Company to produce them. In 1904 he built a home on the family property in Hastings.
This ca. 1900 photograph of Daniel indicates he must have been hard of hearing, as his ear trumpet is clearly visible. Also shown is an invitation to the dedication of a bronze tablet in his memory sponsored by the Greenwich Village Historical Society.