The Krause brothers found Marietta College a labor of love
Their name is synonymous with excellence.
They were the Krause brothers—the heart of the Chemistry Department—members of campus who contributed a combined seven decades of service to Marietta College. Their tenure at Marietta is marked by moments of selfless decisions and countless graduates who benefitted from their expertise and care in the lecture hall and lab.
Ellis L. Krause — known as Professor E.L. — came to Marietta College in 1916 and was originally hired to teach physics. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Ripon College and his graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, he taught at Buena Vista College for three years before joining the faculty at Marietta. In a few short years, he was named the head of the Chemistry Department.
Elwyn B. Krause (In photo) — Professor E.B. — was his younger brother hired as to teach chemistry in 1927. Also a graduate of Ripon College, E.B. attended graduate school at Ohio State University. Before teaching at Marietta, he was a high school chemistry teacher in Fond du Lac, Wis., and a high school basketball coach. He successfully led the 1916 team in the state championship game.
A few years after being named the head of the Chemistry Department, E.L. reached out to alumni in the April 1923 edition of Marietta College Alumni Quarterly. He described the crowded conditions of his department and that, like the College, its primary goals for providing training for the “ability to earn a living, citizenship (and) culture.”
“It also believes that there is and can be no select group of subjects, pursuit of which insures to him who follows the course, the fulfillment of the aims of a college education,” E.L. writes. “It just as stoutly maintains that a man or woman can spend a goodly share of his or her time on science in college and come out with the courage and self-respect born of the ability to make his own way, and with a training in citizenship and culture that is second to none.”
When E.B. arrived, he took on a great deal of introductory chemistry courses and made an impact on another area of campus life that touched the lives of students: for many years he was the faculty representative for Marietta in the Ohio Athletic Conference. A talented handball player and photographer, E.B. was active in many hobbies, such as the Marietta Reading Club, Marietta Photographic Society, the American Guernsey Cattle Club and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. While at Marietta, he was acknowledged in Who’s Who in the Midwest and in the American Men of Science.
E.L. was also recognized for his skills as a professor in the Origins of American Scientists, which remarked: “E.L. Krause has the reputation of being probably the best lecturer in the science division, and alumni take note of his particularly infectious, boisterous humor,” the publication states. “His lecturing technique presents a subject bristling with questions and paradox and invites a large measure of class participation. He has succeeded in combining great popularity with a reputation for considerable severity as a grader. It is clear that his prime energies have gone into the heavy teaching load that he has carried for the last three decades.”
E.L. was named the Erwin Professor of Chemistry in 1934. In addition to being an effective instructor and department head, he also proved to an invaluable decision maker for the College during one of the toughest periods in Marietta’s history.
In 1932, he was one of the leaders in the campaign to help the College weather a financial storm that could have closed the doors on the then-nearly 100-year-old institution. Faculty agreed to take an across-the-board 10 percent pay cut and embark on other cost-saving measures to help Marietta survive the Great Depression. But even this self-sacrifice was not enough, as President Edward Parsons announced a year later that deeper pay cuts — about 50 percent of their original salary — would be needed.
As the College struggled to survive the Depression, another blow came when World War II dramatically thinned enrollment numbers due to students leaving for combat. By the late 1940s, Marietta was on the rebound as soldiers began returning to classrooms and the physical plant began growing. But in 1947, internal issues rocked the campus as then-President William Shimer divorced his wife and married Dorothy Blair, who was the Dean of Women. Shimer was driven to resign his post and the College had to scramble to find its 12th president. E.L. was among a group of three men whom the Board of Trustees felt confident to lead the College until a new president could be found. He served on that three-man administrative committee until 1948, when alumnus William Bay Irvine ’17, who also served on that committee, was elected to the post.
In addition to their work at the College, E.L. and E.B. were also members of the American Chemical Society and worked for the National Refining Company in Marietta. E.B. worked for the U.S. Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C.
E.L. and his wife, Jennie May (Waterman), lived at 530 Fifth St. in Marietta during the academic year. Their four children: Karl ’38, Orville ’38, Mary Elizabeth (Krause) Hobba ’49, and Richard ’47 graduated from Marietta. Dr. Richard Krause was an active trustee for the college from 1979 to 2001 and is an Emeritus Trustee. After it was announced that he would retire, the College bestowed upon E.L. an honorary doctorate. Dean Merrill Patterson spoke during the 1955 Commencement just before President Irvine hooded the much-loved professor.
“For loyalty no amount of money can buy, for invaluable administrative service to the College, and for your positive contribution to the art of teaching, I present you with a full heart to President Irvine for the honorary degree … Your educational shrewdness and common sense have influenced many important decisions in the formation of College policy. Moreover, you have staunchly supported Marietta College even when the tide of fortune was at lowest ebb during depression or war years. A natural leader among the faculty, respected for your fairness, you have always had a sympathetic understanding … We shall miss your down-to-earth observations, the twinkle in your eye and the sense of humor that has ever balanced your righteous anger at injustice.”
Several years after his retirement, he was honored by the Manufacturing Chemists’ Association with one of six $1,000 awards for being an outstanding chemistry teacher. MCA Chair R.C. McCurdy recognized E.L. that he “continues to take a personal interest in every student and to be an effective missionary for chemistry among the youth of our nation … With a true love of chemistry and his students, he has steadily fashioned scientists who have made their mark in both teaching and in industry. This he has accomplished not by dictation but by stimulation.”
E.L. died on Sept. 27, 1974, at his home. A year later, an endowed scholarship was formed in his honor that assists worthy and needy Marietta College students who major in a science, preferably chemistry. Until her death in 1984, Jennie May Krause wrote a personal thank-you note to every donor to that scholarship, which now honors both E.L. and Jennie May.
In 1964, his former students and friends surprised E.L. with a gathering at the newly constructed Selby Chemistry Building. An anonymous donation was made in his honor to establish the “Ellis L. Krause Physical Chemistry Laboratory” on the third floor of the building.
E.B. continued to teach at Marietta until 1960. He and his wife, Gertrude (Marsh), a 1918 graduate of Mount Union College, divided their time between their home at 311 Sixth St. in Marietta, and their summer home in Green Lake, Wis. Both of their children, Caroline Goe ’51 and Jeanne Schug ’56 earned degrees from Marietta College. Upon his retirement, he was hooded with an honorary Doctor of Science from Marietta and the E.B. Krause Chemistry Achievement Award was established, given annually to an outstanding freshman chemistry student at Marietta.
The Marietta Alumnus bid farewell to E.B. and two other professors — George Blake and Harla Ray Eggleston — who retired at the end of that academic year. “Crystalize the college memories of Marietta alumni and the paramount remembrance of the thoughtful is not of football games, fraternity parties, bull sessions of the enlightened or disenchanted, nor even of the drudgery (or the thrill) of purposeful study. The foremost recollection, we submit, is of inspiring associations with inspired teachers — of the recondite gropings and revelations experienced because a wise and respected teacher fulfilled his obligations to his students and profession. That Marietta has been blessed over the years with teachers true to their trust and calling is, we think, the hallmark of its existence. There is little else of lasting significance.”
E.B. Krause died on July 25, 1970, at his home in Wisconsin. After his death, the Board of Trustees drafted a resolution that recognized his contributions to Marietta College.
“With thoughtful ministry to mind and body, through teaching and sports, Professor Krause looked to the spirit as well and furnished a Christian example for the students and faculty of the College. His devoted wife Gertrude was ever by his side whether on his beloved and peaceful farm in Wisconsin or in the city of his intellectual labors, Marietta. He will be missed.”