After that speech, the first person I want to talk about is Russell W. Porter, who did have a degree from MIT. I choose him for two reasons. The first reason is he was born and raised in Springfield, Vermont which was literally right next door to where I grew up in Rockingham Vermont. I had never heard his name until two years ago, when my grandfather was giving away his library of books and one of Porter's books was in there. We'll get back to the book in a minute. I partly never heard of him because I went to Springfield's rival school, Bellows Falls, so we choose not to talk about them. Both towns had a rich history around the turn of the century, Bellows Falls was the biggest paper producer, had the richest woman in the world, Hetty Green, and the first canal in the Western Hemisphere. Springfield had James Hartness, who was an engineer and former Vermont govener, and a manufacturing industry so large the town was on Hitler's list of places to bomb in WW2. And they Porter. The second reason is his work in amateur astronomy.
His art and drawings, shown to the left, made the cutaway style of drawing popular (more here). But wait, he did more! He was an arctic explorer as well. He volunteered his efforts as an artist to the voyages of Fredrick Cook's voyage to Greenland in 1893, and made several more trips to the arctic, sometimes as an artist and surveyor, sometimes as an astronomical expert.
He later worked for the war effort by drawing cutaway drawings for military equipment in his later years. On the day he died in 1949, he had been working on a lens in his basement.