Abel Wolman


Abel Wolman

Sanitary Engineer – Educator – Author – Lecturer – Public Servant

Pollution Control – Teaching – Research – International Authority

Thirty-fourth National Honor Member Nominated by the Drexel University chapter

Abel Wolman, a renowned educator and consulting engineer, began his professional activities with the U.S. Public Health service following his graduation from the Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1913. He engaged in some of the earliest studies of the pollution of the Potomac River, followed by service in the Maryland State Department of Health, for which he later became chief engineer. He was graduated in 1909 from the Baltimore City College (high school) prior to entering his university training.

In 1915, Abel Wolman was granted a bachelor of science in engineering by the Johns Hopkins University, where he became professor of sanitary engineering in 1937. Upon retirement on July 1, 1959, he was named professor emeritus of sanitary engineering. In May, 1966, the university named a newly-acquired dormitory Wolman Hall in his honor.

Abel Wolman is the son of Morris and Rose Wachsman Wolman and was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 10, 1892. He married Anne Gordon on June 10, 1919. They have one son, Dr. Markely Gordon “Reds” Wolman, Chairman of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

For a number of years, he was chairman of the National Water Resources Board of the United States. He has been advisor to many federal agencies, including the Atomic Energy Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the War Production Board, the army, the navy, and the air force, the Office of Science and Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Wolman is a former chairman of the Maryland Water Resources Commission, as well as of the Maryland State Planning Commission, and had been consulting engineer to Baltimore, Detroit, Columbus, New York, Seattle, Portland, and other cities. As consulting engineer for the World Health Organization, he had traveled widely, and had also served Ceylon, Taiwan, India, Ghana, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Israel.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Abel Wolman had also served as president of both the American Public Health Association and the American Water Works Association and for eighteen years edited the Journal of the American Water Works Association.

Notable among his many contributions was the development (in collaboration with the late L. H. Enslow) of control procedures in the chlorination of water and sewage now used throughout the world. For these and other accomplishments he was awarded in 1960 the American Public Health Association’s highest honor, the Albert Lasker Special Award, in “recognition of his distinguished contributions to public health as an administrator, educator, and world citizen.” In 1967, he was awarded the Proctor Prize by the Research Society of America. The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia chose Dr. Wolman to be the first recipient of the Lewis L. Dollinger Pure Environment Award, in 1968.

He was a member of ASCE since 1926, and was made an honorary member in April, 1961. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Delta Omega, American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, A.A.A.S., Institute of Sewage Works (England), Royal Institute of Public Health (England), Institute of Water Engineers (England), National Conference on City Planning, New England Water Works Association, along with numerous public health and sanitary commissions.

He had served as editor of The Journal of American Water Works Association, American Journal of Public Health, Manual of Water Works Practice, and Municipal Sanitation, and has published numerous articles in the various professional publications.

Beginning in 1921, he was a lecturer in sanitary engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Southern California, and University of Chicago. He had been advisory engineer to the Baltimore Department of Public Works from 1932, and was a professor emeritus of sanitary engineering and water resources at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

In June, 1969, two honorary degrees were conferred on him, Doctor of Humane Letters by the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and Doctor of Laws by The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wolman was the president of the U.S. Section of International Water Resources Association and chairman of the Maryland Task Force to Review the Method of Awarding Noncompetitive Contracts. is also a member of the Water Pollution Control Federation. In 1986, the City of Baltimore renamed its public works building, the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, honoring his years of service to the city.

Abel Wolman is a Drexel University Chapter Honor Member of Chi Epsilon. Dr. Wolman was elevated to National Honor Member at Newark College of Engineering on May 5, 1971, as the thirty-fourth so honored.

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