Portrait of William Francis Hillebrand (1853-1925). Hillebrand was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 12, 1853, the son of renowned botanist William Hillebrand (1821-1886). William Francis Hillebrand studied at Cornell University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1875. He subsequently studied geochemistry and metallurgy at the Freiberg Mining Academy and later opened an assay office in Leadville, Colorado in 1879. Hillebrand joined the United States Geological Survey as a chemist in 1880 and served as a professor of general physics and chemistry at the National College of Pharmacy from 1892 to 1910. Hillebrand also served as president of the American Chemical Society (1906) and as editor of the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry.