Wilder Dwight Bancroftwas born in Middletown, R.I. on October 1, 1867. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1888 and a Ph.D. degree from Leipzig University in 1892. He received honorary Sc.D degree from Lafayette College, 1919, and Cambridge University, 1923. He was an Assistant in chemistry at Harvard from 1888-89 and 1893-94 then Instructor 1894-95. He moved to Cornell University in 1895 as Assistant Professor. In 1903, he became Professor. His research activities included: the Phase rule, mass law, electrochemistry, alloys, irreversible reactions, the chemistry of light, and colloid chemistry.
He served as Chairman of the Chemistry Division of the National Research Council in 1919; the board of visitors at the Bureau of Standards, 1922-25; Editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry 1896; Lieutenant Colonel, C.W.S. National Academy; and Chemical Society President 1910.
Dr. Bancroft was elected President of The Electrochemical Society twice 1905 and 1919 (the only president to do so). He was made an Honorary Member of The Electrochemical Society in 1925. He was made an Honorary Member of London Chemical Society and the Soc. Chim. de France.