- Keir B. Sterling
Beebe, William (29 July 1877–04 June 1962), naturalist, oceanographer, and zoological society executive, was born Charles William Beebe in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Charles Beebe, the owner of a paper company, and Henrietta Marie Younglove. In the late 1880s the family moved to the first of a succession of addresses in East Orange, New Jersey. Beebe, an active boy, early developed an interest in natural history, fostered in part by family travels to New England and eastern Canada. He learned to identify many kinds of wildlife, particularly birds. Young Charles (he dropped his first name in high school and was known ever after as William) entered East Orange High School in 1891 and spent five years there, taking, in addition to the regular course, six additional semester-long classes in the sciences. Once Beebe had determined on a career in natural history, his mother, a woman very ambitious for her son, made a point of seeing to it that he met most of the major natural scientists in New York City. Beebe attended Columbia University for several years (1896–1899), completing a series of courses in biology, zoology, and related subjects, but he did not receive a degree. Beebe later received two honorary doctorates of science, one from Tufts College, the other from Colgate University, both in 1928....