Edward Alexander Bouchet was born on September 15, 1852 in New Haven, Connecticut. He was born to William Francis and Susan Cooley Bouchet. His father was a former slave. Bouchet attended New Haven High School from 1866 to 1868. In 1870, he graduated as the valedictorian of his class from Hopkins Grammer School. He attended Yale University in 1874. He earned his Ph.D in physics in 1876 after only two years at Yale. Bouchet became the first African American to earn a doctorate degree in the United States. Bouchet would go on to teach physics and chemistry at the School for Colored Youth for more than 25 years . He served as principal of Lincoln High School from 1908 to 1913. After his retirement, he returned home to New Haven. Bouchet died in 1918 at the age of 66.