Born in 1784, John Gummere was a prominent Quaker educator and author of textbooks throughout the early nineteenth century. In 1814, he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society, and published his Treatise on Surveying. 1814 also saw the founding of the Gummere Academy on East Union Street in Burlington, a boys' school offering classical education, with John as its president. In 1821, he published a textbook on astronomy.
In 1830, Gummere donated the original building used by Burlington's first African Methodist Episcopal church. In 1833, along with his brother Samuel R. Gummere, John's son Samuel J. Gummere, and Dr. John Griscom, formerly schoolmaster of the Burlington Friends' School, John was instrumental in the founding of Haverford College, where he served as president and taught mathematics from 1834 to 1843.
In 1843, Gummere returned to Burlington, and again served as president of the Gummere Academy until his death in 1845. His Treatise on Surveying outlived him, serving as the standard surveying text for students and professionals alike until the Civil War, and remaining in print until 1917.