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Gabrielson, Ira Noel (27 September 1889–07 September 1977), wildlife biologist and first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was born in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, the son of Frank August Gabrielson, a partner in a hardware store and later a farmer, and Ida Jansen. During a boyhood spent hunting, fishing, and exploring the countryside, Gabrielson developed a love of nature, photographed and studied birds, and became particularly interested in waterfowl. He graduated from Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, with a B.A. in biology in 1912 and spent the next three years teaching high school biology in Marshalltown, Iowa. Just as he was about to enter the University of Iowa on a graduate fellowship, he was offered and accepted a position he had coveted with the Bureau of Biological Survey....

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Nelson, Edward William (08 May 1855–19 May 1934), naturalist and government official, was born in Amoskeag, New Hampshire, the son of William Nelson, a butcher, and Nancy Martha Wells. Nelson’s father enlisted in the Union army and was killed near the end of the Civil War. Nelson lived with his maternal grandparents in upstate New York while his mother served as an army nurse in Baltimore. For several years the Nelson brothers worked on their grandfather’s farm while Edward began learning something of the natural history of the area. Following the war, Nelson’s mother became a dressmaker in Chicago. Her sons attended the local public schools, and Edward began collecting bird and insect specimens. His mother lost all of her possessions in the Chicago Fire of April 1871, but she found temporary housing and gradually rebuilt her business....

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Charles D. Walcott. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100094).

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Walcott, Charles Doolittle (31 March 1850–09 February 1927), paleontologist, geologist, and administrator, was born in New York Mills, New York, the son of Charles Doolittle Walcott and Mary Lane. As a young schoolboy, Walcott became interested in collecting the local fossils near Utica, New York, and in his early teens he spent several summers at the resort area of Trenton Falls, New York, renowned for its fossils. After graduating from Utica Academy in 1868, he clerked in a hardware store for a year. In 1871, dissatisfied with the business world, Walcott moved to the farm of William Rust in the Trenton Falls area. Walcott assisted with the farm chores, and he and Rust collected fossils for sale; in 1873 the collection was sold to ...