The Life and Science of Percy Julian
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St. Elmo Brady (1884–1966)

St. Elmo Brady was born in 1884 in Louisville, Kentucky. At the age of 20 he left home to attend college at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Fisk he was encouraged by his teacher Thomas Talley. When Brady graduated in 1908, he took a job teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After two years he went back to school, this time at the University of Illinois, where he earned a master’s degree in 1914 and his Ph.D. in 1916, the year Percy Julian started college at DePauw.

After graduating Brady went back to Tuskegee for four years, and then went on to Howard University in Washington, D.C., to chair the chemistry department there. In 1927 he left Howard and was replaced as chair the following year by none other than Percy Julian. Meanwhile, Brady moved back to Fisk to become chair of their chemistry department, replacing Talley, his old teacher, who was retiring. Brady headed the department for 25 years until he retired in 1952. Even then, he didn’t stop working. He spent his “retirement” teaching at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, for several years. When he finally did retire for good, he moved back to Washington, D.C., where he died in 1966.

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