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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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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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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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Sanderson, Ezra Dwight (25 September 1878–27 September 1944), rural sociologist and entomologist, was born in Clio, Michigan, the son of John Phillip Sanderson, a Congregational minister, and Alice Gertrude Wright. Signing his name E. Dwight in his early adult years, Sanderson later dropped the initial. He graduated from the Michigan Agricultural College with a bachelor of science degree in 1897. A second B.S. degree was earned in 1898 at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture with a specialization in entomology. From 1915 to 1918 he was a graduate student in sociology at the University of Chicago, receiving the Ph.D. degree in 1921. In 1899 he married Anna Cecilia Blandford, a rural schoolteacher who had been raised on a Maryland farm; they had one child....

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Uhler, Philip Reese (03 June 1835–21 October 1913), entomologist and librarian, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of George Washington Uhler, a wealthy merchant, and Anna Maria Reese. Uhler studied at a local Latin School and at Baltimore College, a preparatory institution. He was particularly well grounded in foreign languages, notably Latin and German. From the age of ten, he spent considerable time on a farm his father owned near Reisterstown, Maryland. There he developed an interest in entomology by collecting beetles, butterflies, and moths. One of his earliest papers, “Descriptions of a Few Species of ...