Henry Martyn Seely (1828-1917) was Professor of Chemistry, Natural History, and Geology at Middlebury from 1861-1895. The son of Joseph Owen and Susanna (Stearns) Seely, he was born in South Onandaga, New York on October 2, 1828. Seely received a Ph.D. from Yale in 1856. He taught at the Berkshire Medical Institute, where he received an M.D., in 1857, and taught at the University of Vermont before coming to Middlebury in 1861.
Seely married twice, first to Adelaide E. Hamblin, of Perryville, New York, on September 1, 1858 (she died Aug. 25, 1865), and then on June 11, 1867, to Sarah T. Matthews, of Fair Haven. Vermont. Seely fathered two daughters, one from each marriage.
In 1867-1868 he studied at Freiberg and Heidelberg, Germany. He contributed many papers to scientific journals and was the Secretary of the Vermont Board of Agriculture from 1875-1878. Professor Seely was the Prohibition candidate for Governor of Vermont in 1886 and 1888.
He died in Middlebury in 1917.
Seely’s legacy to Middlebury College endures as one of the College’s most significant landmarks. Since 1917, when John Martin Thomas, Seely’s son-in-law, moved into his former residence, the house at 3 South Street in Middlebury has served as the official residence of Middlebury College presidents.