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Cockerell, Theodore Dru Alison (22 August 1866–26 January 1948), entomologist and systematic biologist, was born in Norwood, England, the son of Sydney J. Cockerell, a gentleman, and Alice Bennett. After the death of his father in 1878, the family moved to Margate, England. Cockerell attended various schools, including the Middlesex Hospital School, but he did not earn a degree....

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Comstock, John Henry (24 February 1849–20 March 1931), entomologist, was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, the son of Ebenezer Comstock, a farmer, and Susan Allen, a nurse. Comstock grew up in upstate New York in a succession of foster homes after his father died en route to the California gold rush. Taken into the home of Lewis Turner, a master of Great Lakes ships, Comstock worked as a ship’s cook while pursuing his education. The purchase in 1870 of ...

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Dyar, Harrison Gray, Jr. (14 February 1866–21 January 1929), entomologist, was born in New York City, the son of Harrison Gray Dyar and Eleonora Rosella Hannum. His father was a chemist and inventor who disputed Samuel F. B. Morse’s priority in developing the telegraph and earned a small fortune from proceeds of patents for dyes. He died when his son was nine. The young Dyar attended the Roxbury Latin School and received a B.S. in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1889. Shortly after graduation, he married Zella Peabody of Los Angeles, a music teacher; they had two children. In the same year Dyar published his first scientific paper, a description of the life history of the limacodid moth. (He had begun to study insects as a boy, starting his “blue books” of observations when he was sixteen.) He pursued graduate studies in biology at Columbia, receiving the A.M. in 1894 for his thesis on the classification of Lepidoptera and the Ph.D. in 1895 for a study of airborne bacteria....

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Edwards, William Henry (15 March 1822–04 April 1909), entomologist, was born in Hunter, New York, the son of William W. Edwards, a tanner, and Helen Ann Mann. Edwards grew up on the family estate at Hunter, surrounded by hemlock forests to explore. He graduated from Williams College in 1842 and took up law studies in New York City. In 1846 he journeyed with his uncle Amory Edwards up the Amazon River. His popular account of the exotic plants, birds, and animals of this region, published as ...

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Fitch, Asa (24 February 1809–08 April 1879), entomologist, agriculturist, and historian, was born in Salem (Washington County), New York, the son of Asa Fitch, a physician and judge, and Abigail Martin. Fitch spent his childhood on the family farm, where he developed a fascination with natural history and a deep sense of religious conviction. He received a liberal education at academies in Salem, New York, and Bennington, Vermont, from 1822 to 1824, and in 1826 he entered the Rensselaer School (now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), a new school for scientific education in Troy, New York. There he learned the importance of experimenting and learning by doing, and he became convinced that economic and social enrichment would result from the application of science to the common purposes of life. In 1826 he accompanied students and faculty on a scientific tour of the recently opened Erie Canal. Under the instruction of ...

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Forbes, Stephen Alfred (29 May 1844–13 March 1930), ecologist, state entomologist of Illinois, and chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey, was born in a log cabin in Silver Creek, Illinois, the son of Isaac Forbes, a farmer, and Agnes Van Hoesen. While enduring economic hardships common to pioneer families on the prairies, the Forbes family suffered further misfortune when Stephen was ten. With his mother already in poor health, Stephen’s father died, forcing older brother Henry to assume responsibility for the farm and the rearing of Stephen and his younger sister, Nettie. Stephen attended the district school until he was fourteen, studied under Henry’s instruction for two years, and briefly attended a college preparatory school until the family ran out of financial resources....

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Glover, Townend (20 February 1813–07 September 1883), entomologist, was born in or near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the son of Henry Glover, a merchant, and Mary Townend. Glover’s parents died when he was young, and he was educated by relatives in Leeds, England, where he demonstrated an aptitude for art and natural history. Upon receiving his inheritance at age twenty-one, he left his apprenticeship with woolen merchants in Leeds to study art for two years at the Munich Art Gallery. Despite extreme myopia, he excelled in painting still life in oil. Returning to England, he opened a painting studio, but in 1836 he visited the United States, where, captivated by the natural beauty, he remained. As a sportsman-naturalist he roamed from New Rochelle, New York, to the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Texas, with rod and gun, on horseback and on foot....

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Hagen, Hermann August (30 May 1817–09 November 1893), entomologist and physician, was born in Königsberg, East Prussia (later the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad), the son of Carl Heinrich Hagen, a professor at the Albert University and counselor to the King of Prussia, and Anna Dorothea Linck. As a youth, Hagen was strongly influenced by his grandfather, who had been a professor of natural history at the university. Hagen graduated from the local gymnasium in 1836 and earned an M.D. from the University of Königsberg in 1840. Early on he became interested in dragonflies, and his medical thesis constituted a study of the European species of this insect. His first entomological paper, a study of the dragonflies of East Prussia, appeared in 1839, when he was twenty-two....

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Harris, Thaddeus William (12 November 1795–16 January 1856), librarian and entomologist, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of Unitarian clergyman Thaddeus Mason Harris and Mary Dix. He graduated from Harvard College in 1815 and in 1820 received the M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. During the years 1820–1831 Harris practiced medicine, first in Milton (with the older physician Amos Holbrook) and later in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1824 he married Catherine Holbrook, a daughter of his mentor. Of the twelve children born to the couple, two predeceased their father....

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Hentz, Nicholas Marcellus (25 July 1797–04 November 1856), entomologist, educator, and miniaturist, was born in Versailles, France (although he is also recorded as being a native of Metz), the son of Nicholas Hentz, a lawyer, and Marie-Anne Thèrese Daubrée. Around 1816, when Hentz was in his late teens, the Hentz family left France for the United States, allegedly for reasons connected to Hentz’s father’s political activities. Given the situation in France between 1814 and 1816—the fall and rise and fall of Napoleon, the restoration of the French monarchy—emigration was probably expedient for a number of people. Further, if the family did have a connection to Metz, which is on the Moselle River and part of Alsace-Lorraine, the Hentzes’ decision to leave their homeland could have been affected by German as well as French political fluctuations....

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Horn, George Henry (07 April 1840–24 November 1897), entomologist and physician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Philip Henry Horn, a pharmacist, and Francis Isabella Brock. Upon completion of his elementary education in Philadelphia in 1853, Horn enrolled in the city’s Central High School, from which he received the bachelor of arts degree five years later. Soon thereafter he entered the medical program of the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded the M.D. degree in 1861. During his days as a medical student Horn developed an interest in living and fossil marine invertebrates, and in 1860 he presented a paper before the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, in which he described three species of gorgonian corals. Over the next two years he published three papers on recent and fossil scleractinian corals. Meanwhile Horn had joined the Entomological Society of Philadelphia (later the American Entomological Society), before which, in 1860–1861, he presented three papers, the most significant of which was a presentation describing seven new species of Coleoptera, or beetles....

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Howard, Leland Ossian (11 June 1857–01 May 1950), entomologist, was born in Rockford, Illinois, the son of Ossian Gregory Howard, a lawyer, and Lucy Dunham Thurber, a music teacher. His parents, both natives of upstate New York, moved from Illinois to Ithaca, New York, when Howard was an infant. On one of the boy’s frequent outings collecting insects, he encountered ...

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Alfred C. Kinsey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92226).

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Kinsey, Alfred Charles (23 June 1894–25 August 1956), entomologist and sex researcher, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Alfred Seguine Kinsey, instructor of mechanical arts at Stevens Institute of Technology, and Sarah Ann Charles. His father, a domineering and relentlessly pious patriarch, intimidated Sarah and the children. Alfred was a frail boy who contracted rheumatic and typhoid fever. Perhaps as compensation for his early confinement to the home, in adolescence Alfred acquired a passionate interest in nature and resolved to become a biologist. He was valedictorian of the Columbia High School class of 1912....

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LeConte, John Lawrence (13 May 1825–15 November 1883), entomologist, was born in New York City, the son of John Eatton LeConte, an army topographical engineer and naturalist, and Mary Ann Hampton. Following in the footsteps of his father, a noted naturalist, LeConte began early in life to collect natural specimens, displaying a particular interest in insects, especially in the beetles (order Coleoptera). After attending schools in his native city, LeConte entered Mount St. Mary’s College, in Emmitsburg, Maryland, from which he graduated in 1842. Three years later, he enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York, and in 1846 he received the M.D. degree. While pursuing the study of medicine, LeConte served as an assistant to the botanist and chemist ...

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Lutz, Frank Eugene (15 September 1879–27 November 1943), entomologist, was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Martin Peter Lutz, an insurance agent, and Anna Amelia Brockway. As a boy, he enjoyed exploring the outdoors. He attended public schools and Bloomsburg State Normal School. When he entered Haverford College, Lutz initially planned to major in mathematics at his father’s urging. But in his third year he turned to biology, with the intention of going into medicine, and received his A.B. in 1900. A biology professor advised him to go into statistical work in biology....

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Morris, John Gottlieb (14 November 1803–10 October 1895), Lutheran pastor, entomologist, and Baltimore cultural leader, was born in York, Pennsylvania, the son of John Samuel Gottlieb Morris, a physician, and Barbara Myers. Raised in a pious middle-class household, Gottlieb, following his father’s death in 1808, lived much of his life in unusually close relationship to his mother and his brother, Charles. After studying at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and graduating from Dickinson College in 1823, he studied theology at Princeton Seminary and at the infant Gettysburg Seminary. He married Eliza Hay in 1827; they had three children....

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Osten Sacken, Carl Robert Romanovich von der (21 August 1828–20 May 1906), entomologist and diplomat, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia; his parents’ names are unknown. A member of the Russian nobility, he received some education in St. Petersburg. His serious interest in insects began at age eleven, when another young nobleman introduced him to the subject while Osten Sacken was visiting Baden Baden with his family. In 1849 he joined the Russian diplomatic corps, and prior to receiving an American posting, Osten Sacken published several papers on insects, one of them an account of the species to be found in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. In 1856 he traveled to Washington, D.C., where he took up his duties as secretary to the Russian legation. During the two-month trip, he stopped to visit some of Europe’s leading entomologists, including ...

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Peck, William Dandridge (08 May 1763–03 October 1822), entomologist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Peck, a naval architect, and Hannah Jackson. Peck grew up in Boston, Braintree, and Lancaster, Massachusetts, primarily under his father’s care, his mother having died when he was seven. According to one account, the boy turned his serious attention to natural history upon reading Carl Linnaeus’s ...

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Riley, Charles Valentine (18 September 1843–14 September 1895), entomologist, was born in London, England, the son of Charles Edmund Fewtrell Wylde, an Anglican clergyman, and Mary Louisa Cannon. An illegitimate child, Riley was reared by his mother and her family, who were middle-class people with strong family ties and an appreciation of education. His mother selected his surname. Riley attended school at Walton-on-Thames, then boarding school in London. At thirteen years of age he was enrolled in private schools at Dieppe, France, and then in Bonn, Germany. His formal education ended in his seventeenth year, when he emigrated to the United States to join family friends in livestock farming on the prairie frontier at Kankakee, Illinois....