Department of Mathematical Sciences

History of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University

Paul Thomas Brodie

Brodie

Paul Thomas Brodie was the third department head of mathematics at Clemson, serving in this position in the years 1899-1907. He received the BS degree at Furman in 1887 and a BA degree in 1894. He had particular interest in engineering and taught the mathematics course in which Clemson students were introduced to surveying (the first civil engineering course at Clemson).

Professor Brodie, the son of Thomas Furman Brodie and Claudia Josephine Quattlebaum, was born near Leesville, Lexington County, South Carolina, on January 11, 1866. His father was a successful businessman, the senior member of the firms of T. F. Brodie & Company, lumber manufacturers and dealers, and Brodie & Company, cotton factors, Charleston, South Carolina. The maternal grandfather, General Paul Quattlebaum, was an officer in the Florida war, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, and for many years prominent in state affairs. After the death of T. F. Brodie, his family suffered the loss of almost all of the estate that had been formed. Owing to these losses, young Brodie received a sketchy education. The family made their home with the grandfather Quattlebaum at his country residence near Leesville, South Carolina. Here young Brodie learned to do mending in the blacksmith shop, acquiring skill in working machinery in the flouring and saw mills, and early became interested in elementary hydraulics and other engineering. Thus, before going to college, young Brodie acquired considerable technical knowledge by association with his grandfather. His uncle, Colonel Paul Jones Quattlebaum of the United States Corps of Engineers, also encouraged him.

After studying at home for some years he won, by competitive examination, a cadetship in the South Carolina Military Academy. But lacking the advantages of good health and adequate preparation, he soon left the military academy and entered with zeal upon a course of systematic study in Stuart's Classical Academy in Charleston. Later he entered Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated with the degrees of BS (1887) and BA (1894), having devoted special attention to the study of mathematics under the noted Dr. C. H. Judson. Choosing teaching as a profession, he first accepted the principal-ship of the Lewiedale High School. After a year's service there he was elected superintendent of the Lexington graded schools, serving in that capacity for four years. In June, 1891, he became superintendent of the Spartanburg city schools, remaining there from 1891 to 1895, when he became superintendent of Bennettsville schools. While engaged in schoolwork he devoted himself earnestly to the study of higher mathematics and civil engineering, spending his vacations in post-graduate work at distinguished universities. In December 1895, he was elected an assistant professor of mathematics of Clemson College; in 1897 he was placed in charge of the civil engineering course; and in 1899 he became professor of mathematics and civil engineering. He modestly ascribed his success to the generous help accorded him by his grandfather Quattlebaum; by Doctor C. H. Judson, who was to him an unfailing source of inspiration while a student at Furman University; and by Dr. W. M. Thornton of the University of Virginia.

Though engaged principally in teaching, Professor Brodie also served as a member of boards of education, as instructor in teachers' institutes, as professor of mathematics in the state summer school, and as state director for the National Educational Association. His writings were chiefly in the form of brief articles on mathematical and engineering subjects. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, engineering section. He was president of Clemson College Science Club, and of the South Carolina State Teachers' Association, in 1905. He was one of the first deacons of the First Baptist Church. He was also an active Democrat.

He was married, June 30, 1891, to Miss Isabel Bradford of Lexington. They had one son, Oren Bradford and daughters Mamie Celestine (who died as a child) and Sarah Isabel. Professor Brodie died on November 3, 1907 in his home next door to the John C. Calhoun Mansion. A medallion in honor of Professor Brodie hangs in Tillman Hall. A barracks was named in his memory.

Members of Professor Brodie's family have also been influential in Clemson's history. Sarah Isabel Brodie graduated from Winthrop in 1928 and taught in the Graniteville SC and Covington TN schools. She received her Masters degree from Memphis State University. She married the Rev. Paul Earle Sloan who went into the Episcopal ministry from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Pendleton, SC. He was the grandson of Dr. Paul Hamilton Earle Sloan, a former Secretary-Treasurer of Clemson College. Dr. Sloan's daughter, Susan Hall Sloan, the college librarian, married Dr. Samuel Broadus Earle who became president of Clemson College. The Sloans have a son Theodore Bradford "Tim" Sloan, presently a retired banker living in Covington, TN near Memphis, and a son Paul Hamilton Earle Sloan who lives in Jackson, TN. Mr. Tim Sloan maintains an active interest in Clemson and in St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Oren Bradford Brodie, an Engineering student in Clemson Agricultural College was one of the students dismissed after the infamous trip of the students to Pendleton. Even though he did not graduate he went to Panama as an Engineer on the Canal. He was later licensed as a Structural Engineer rather than a Civil Engineer. Oren was very active in planning homes, estimating, and landscaping in and around his home in Ridge Spring SC.

Further evidence of the association of Professor Brodie's family with Clemson includes: Mrs. Brodie's sister married Dr. Alexander May Redfern, the college physician, whose father was a college trustee from 1891-1903; Professor Brodie's sister married John H. Hook, instructor in wood working at the college; and Professor Brodie was the cousin of Mr. Paul Quattlebaum, a former trustee of Clemson University who died in 1990.

Much of this material is adapted from pages 49-51 in Volume II of Men of Mark in South Carolina, Ideals of American Life. Professor Brodie's grandson Theodore B. "Tim" Sloan contributed the later information.


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