University of Texas
L. Earl Dickens
October 29, 1898–July 71, 1990

 

 

L. Earl Dickens (1898–1990), Mechanician, born October 29, 1898, to George B. and Annie Eliza Stone Dickens in Austin, Texas. His father died when he was under two years of age. He, his older brother Pleasant Lionel "Lon", (1888–1946), and his mother lived with his widowed grandmother, Melisa C. Stone. Melisa was married to Thomas B. Stone.

Earl's brother, Pleasant Lionel, was a master stage carpenter who worked at the Paramount Theater in Austin. He was a veteran of WW, I CPL 527 Motor Truck Co. He served June 14, 1918 to July 19, 1919.

Here we see Lionel "Lon" Dickens in WWI uniform. He is at right end.

Earl's half-brother, Everett died in 1910 at the age of 5. Everett's father's name is listed as W. R. Dickens, though his parents never married. The 1917 World War I Draft Registration Card listed Earl working as an automobile mechanic for Anderson & Bensen in Austin. In 1920, he worked as a storeroom manager in a battery room, very likely at UT. During his long career at UT, he cared for most of the equipment in the physics department. Earl died July 17, 1990 in Austin, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philip’s mother, Madeline was daughter and granddaughter of Linus Yale Jr. and Linus Yale Sr., both were locksmiths and inventors of the Yale lock. Linus Jr. (shown at right) invented the pin tumbler lock. Philip would have had many opportunities to develop workshop skills early in his life in his father’s shop. His father was also a respected portrait painter. Philip attended the public schools of Shelburne Falls, MA, and the Arms Academy of the same place, from which he was graduated in 1882. The next two years he devoted to a general study of art and allied subjects in Boston. His parents separated around 1875 and his mother changed the spelling of their name to Wynne. In 1884, he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he remained for two years. The following year he spent in Chicago as an ironworks chemist for the Union Steel Company. He was next connected with the Thompson·Houston Electric Company (later the General Electric Company) of Boston. Next he served as an electrical engineer of the wire department for the city of Boston, and, still later, for several years, he was electrical engineer for the Boston Elevated Railway; after which he became designing engineer of the L. E. Knott Apparatus Company of Boston. Mr. Wynne was also associated as consulting engineer with several important engineering enterprises, and for brief periods was engaged in newspaper work. In 1899, he was married to Miss Agnes Whiting, of Springfield, MA. Agnes (1870–1928), was a talented young woman who was a violinist, journalist, and crafter. Agnes graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1894 where she studied Greek and German.

After his year teaching physics at the University of Texas, Philip moved to Deerfield, MA where his mother had purchased an 18th Century home and restored it. It is known as the “Manse” or “The Williard House.” Philip likely participated in this project. He died in Deerfield.

Philip Henry Wynne (Approximate Chronology)
1868 Birth, Elizabeth, NJ
1884-1886 Student MIT
1886-87 Chicago as ironworks chemist for Union Steel Company
1888-93 in Boston working for Thompson·Houston Electric Company (later the General Electric Company). Boston City Directories list him as Clerk and Draughtsman.
1892 Trip to Ireland, Civil Engineer.
Depart Boston, arrived Nov 3, Liverpool,
Dec 2, 1892, arrived Liverpool and Queenstown, Ireland.
Depart Liverpool, arrived New York, Nov 14, 1892, listed as Civil Engineer.
It appears he made two back to back trips.

1894-97 City of Boston Transit Commission and on Board of Survey.
In 1896. Wynne wrote an article, Invisible Light—Röntgen Discovery, only a year after X-rays were discovered.
1898-1901 Boston Elevated Railway Company, electrical work. Developed a patent for electrostatic separator for creo and minerals.
1902-06 L. E. Knott Apparatus Company, designer and technical man.
1906-07 Instructor in Physics, U. Texas at Austin, lived at 2109 Rio Grande.
1909 Springfield or Deerfield, MA.
1910 Springfield, MA. Living on Pine St. with wife and her parents. He and his father-in-law were newspaper editors. Agnes listed one child but not living.
1911 Springfield or Deerfield, MA.

Meeting and Description with Wynne quoted in The Secret Springs: An Autobiography By Claude Fayette Bragdon.
Claude Fayette Bragdon (August 1, 1866–1946) was an American architect, writer, and stage designer based in Rochester, New York.

Chapter "MY LITERARY LIFE", page 255
"stage manager for Walter Hampden, when I told him about this (a book on the fourth dimension), suggested that I should meet his friend Philip Henry Wynne, eminent, even among mathematicians, for his mathematical knowledge and skill. This meeting took place in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where Wynne was living in one of the historic old houses of that town. He was a tall man, thin almost to emaciation, with an imperious yet courtly manner, and a hawk-like face in which burned a pair of almost endurably piercing eyes. Walter Hampden, in meeting Wynne for the first time, said that he more nearly fulfilled his own idea of what a Master might look like than anyone he had ever seen; and such was my impression too.

Wynne listened patiently while l explained my purpose. and then declared that what l proposed was impossible. Any treatise on the fourth dimension, however clearly and cleverly presented, he affirmed, would be understood only by those gifted with a certain kind of imaginative power which was relatively rare. Undiscouraged, I went on to tell how I had planned to treat the subject, and the analogies which I proposed to use. He became interested, allowing that the scheme had possibilities, and the interview ended with his advising me to go ahead, saying that he would help me all he could. Thus encouraged, I wrote my book, submitting everything to Wynne for criticism. He was of great service, particularly in helping me to the precise form of expression acceptable to the mathematical mind. In a moment of discouragement I came near to destroying the best part of this book, the fantasy entitled “ Man the Square," with which it ends.

Late one night, in a depressed mood, I read the little essay over, and though it seemed an ingenious and quaint conceit, I was so convinced that it would be incomprehensible to most readers that I threw the manuscript into the near-by grate, where a coal fire was smoldering. I had no sooner done so than it occurred to me that I ought to submit it to Wynne first, according to our agreement. So I rescued it with a pair of tongs before the fire had more than charred its edges, and sent it on to him for his opinion.”

Another quote from Bragdon, “Here is food for thought. In the words of Philip Henry Wynne, ‘Mathematics possesses the most potent and perfect symbolism the intellect knows; and this symbolism has offered for generations certain concepts (of which hyper-dimensionality is only one) whose naming and envisagement by the human intellect is perhaps its loftiest achievement. Mathematics presents the highest certitudes known to the intellect, and is becoming more and more the final arbiter and interpreter in physics, chemistry and astronomy. Like Aaron's rod, it threatens to swallow all other knowledges as fast as they assume organized form. Mathematics has already taken possession of great provinces of logic and psychology—will it embrace ethics, religion and philosophy?’ "

Claude Fayette Bragdon quoted that in 1919 he received a ring willed to him by Wynne. "I had never worn a ring, nor want to wear one, but I had been genuinely fond of Wynne, and it touched me deeply to be thus remembered by him; so I put the thing on my finger and found that I liked the look and feel of it. Eugenie (of whom I shall tell later on) when she saw it exclaimed: "Claude, that ring has done something to you: it brings out something in your character I didn't know was there. From now on you're going to be different, less inhibited, more joyous and flamboyant." Working in the theatre did exactly that to me and for me; and I like to think that Wynne's bequest had something to do with it too."


*MADELINE YALE WYNNE was born at Newport, Herkimer County, NewYork, on September 25, 1847, and died at Asheville, North Carolina, on January 4, 1918.

Her father, widely known as the inventor of the Yale lock, was primarily a man of artistic aptitudes and achievements, and many of his daughter's earlier hours were spent In his garden-studio at Newport. Her mother was of the old New England family of Brooks; she carried on the traditions of culture proper to her origin, and was herself one of the teachers in that "crescent" school at Eagleswood, New Jersey, which Madeline and her brothers attended.

The definite basis of Mrs. Wynne's varied and scintillant artistic career was laid In Boston, where she studied painting at the Art Museum and taught drawing for several years. Later, she studied at the Art Students' League In New York, under Walter Shirlaw, and still later In Europe. "Both as artist and teacher of art," says Miss Putnam, *'she was an Inspiration to a vast number of friends, and to many a struggling student."

When business called Mr. Julian Yale to Chicago, he was soon joined by his mother and sister, and they established themselves in the pleasant house at No. 9 Ritchie Place, which for many years was a Mecca for true lovers of art and literature, whether these were presented in a vestment of wit or of philosophy. Here it was that Mrs.Yale and Mrs. Wynne collaborated to form a salon of real intellectual interest; here, too, Madeline and her brother wrought together in the unique and fascinating workshop for silver-smithing and jewelry-setting, the fame of which spread so far. As says her son, "Her artistic feeling perhaps found Its truest expression in designing and making hand wrought jewelry and other decorations, for which she had a notably bold and happy inspiration."

It was while living in this same house that Mrs. Wynne definitely turned her attention to literary expression. Her most noteworthy production at that time was the short story called "The Little Room." This title was gladly appropriated by a group of painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, architects, and other art workers which was forming in Chicago at the time of the World's Columbian Exposition. Their little organization, still meeting in the Fine Arts Building, has recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.

Mrs. Wynne's summers had been spent, for many years, at Deerfield, Massachusetts, in the historic "Old Manse"; and
later she made a winter home for herself in Tryon, North Carolina. In both places she exercised her own artistic gifts and directed those of others. It was largely her enthusiasm and energy that brought about the revival and organization of the Deerfield Crafts, to which those of other towns soon looked for Inspiration and guidance. In Tryon she took a leading part In the formation of the Musical and Dramatic Clubs, and, stimulated by her suggestive and encouraging criticisms, the latter has presented not only a number of plays by Synge, Lady Gregory, and others, but also a very beautiful play which was dramatized by Mrs. Wynne from one of her own stories and given under her direction. To the Lanier Club of Tryon, a literary club with a wide membership, and one addressed at various times by many distinguished people,

Mrs. Wynne never failed to give her inspiring cooperation. Mrs. Jean Stansbury Holden, a warm friend and fellow-member, tells us that "she was the life and sparkle of the Club . . . always buoyant and bubbling, but never trifling." Hers was the great gift of imagination which is essential to the truest sympathy. "Mrs. Wynne has the happy faculty of always saying the right thing," said a friend. "Yes," answered Dr. Emerson, "because she always thinks the right thing."

In the words of her son, Madeline Wynne was "a woman of many and various gifts, a spirit brilliant and rare. To her friends and few people had so many friends—the greatest of her many successes was in the art of living.”
—From “In Memory of Madeline Yale Wynne.” 1918,
Lawrence J. Gutter Collection of Chicagoana (University of Illinois at Chicago) ICIU



Below is obituary of Philip Henry Wynne from the Deerfield newspaper, February 12, 1919
Courtesy: Shirley Majewski
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Deerfield, MA

A Noted Inventor

Death of Philip Wynne at Deerfield Home
Won Prominence in Mechanical World by His Production of Original ind Valuable Machinery–Had Long Been in Ill–Health.

Philip Henry Wynne, an inventor of note and a well known summer resident of Deerfield. died at his home, "The Manse," in that town yesterday morning at the age of 52 years. For a long time, he had spent his winters in Springfield, but a long period of ill-health had prevented him from talking an active part in the social or business life of that city, although he well deserved to be known on account of his rare nature and remarkable gifts. His father was the distinguished lawyer, Henry Wynne, and his mother the late Madeline Yale Wynne, who after their separation adopted for herself and their sons the historic spelling of the family name.

Mr. Wynne was born in Elizabeth. N. J., January 17, 1868; the family removed to Shelburne Falls when he was a small boy and he attended the Arms Academy of that place. He received his further education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his first employment was by the Illinois Steel Company of Chicago. When he was about 21 years old he returned East and entered a service of several years with the Thomson-Houston Electric company in Boston. He next connected himself with the Boston Elevated railway in the engineering department. On leaving Mr. Whitney, he went into the business of designing scientific apparatus, which he followed for about 10 years. Mr. Wynne's inventive capacity was exercised in several ingenious and valuable devices such as an ore separator still in use in various mines, and his work was of the most exquisite mechanism, his galvanometers and such delicate instruments being delights to the scientific eye. He did little of that work after going to Springfield, though he was for a time in the shop of E. C. Eldredge.

There are but few of kin to Mr. Wynne. His younger brother, Sidney Yale Wynne, died not long since in Redlands. Cal.. where he was a much-loved physician; his widow and four children survive; of the children, Sidney, the eldest, is in the United States Navy and Dudley with the American Expeditionary Force in France; Madeline is at school and Philip at home with his mother in Redlands. And there also remains of the family connection Mrs. John Yale of Poughkeepsie, and the only other survivor of all is the wife, who was Agnes Mary Whiting.

Another obituary from Greenfield Gazette and Courier, Feb 15, 1919
Philip Henry Wynne
Deerfield

Philip Henry Wynne, who had been a winter resident of Springfield for many years, sojourning with the parents of his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Whiting, Pine Street, died at his home, The Manse, Tuesday morning, having just entered upon his 52nd year. His father was the notable lawyer, Henry Winn, and his mother, the brilliant Mrs. Madeline Yale Wynne, who after their separation adopted for herself and their sons the historic spelling of the family name.

Mr. Wynne was born in Elizabeth, NJ, January 17, 1868. The family removed to Shelburne Falls when he was a small boy, and he attended Arms Academy of that place. He received his further education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his first employment was by the Illinois Steel company of Chicago. When he was about 21 years old he returned East and entered a service of several years with the Thomson-Houston Electric company in Boston. He next connected himself with the Boston elevated railway, in the engineering department, and on leaving Mr. Whitney he went into the business of designing scientific apparatus which he followed for about 10 years. Mr. Wynne's inventive capacity was exercised in several ingenious and valuable devices, such as an ore separator, still in use in various mines and his work was of the most exquisite mechanism, his galvanometers and such delicate instruments being delights to the scientific eye.

Philip Wynne drew from his mother no small portion of the sensitive artistic quality which marked his craftsmanship and was essential in his use of language. While in Boston, he wrote much for the Herald and other newspapers and for sundry scientific periodicals. But the extraordinary manifestation of the passion was in his educating himself in the serious work of musical composition. He had for years played the guitar with an orchestral character and force, and for three or four recent years, until his health quite forbade, he had composed a succession of pieces of expression, of part-songs for male quartets and choirs and of fit settings for such striking poems of Robert Louis Stevenson's epitaph for himself. Mr. Wynne had never published any of these vivid and moving productions of genius.

There are but few of kin to Mr. Wynne. His younger brother, Sidney Yale Wynne (1870–1915), died not long since at Redlands, CA., where he was a much-prized physician. There also remains of the family connection Mrs. John Yale of Poughkeepsie, and the only other survivor of all is his wife, who was Agnes Mary Whiting. His remains were taken to the crematory at Springfield.

 

L. Earl Dickens Photo and Document Album

Earl Dickens
Earl Dickens
1909 Rollamo, U. of Missouri at Rolla Yearbook
Patent page 3
Philip Henry Wynne Obituary,
From MIT Technology Review, 1919
Former Students: Agnes Wynne, wife of Philip Wynne
From: Bryn Mawr College
Academic Year-1905-06
The John C. Winston Co.
Philadephia, PA, 1905
Philip Wynne's mother, Madeline's, gravestone.
Arms Cemetery, Shelburne, Franklin County, MA
Philip Henry Wynne, marker
Arms Cemetery, Shelburne, Franklin County, MA
Plot: L30

 

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