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Agassiz, Alexander (17 December 1835–27 March 1910), marine biologist, oceanographer, and industrial entrepreneur, was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the son of Louis Agassiz, a zoologist, and Cécile Braun. Agassiz came to the United States in 1849, following the death of his mother in Germany. The domestic life of his parents had been marred by difficulties, and Alex moved to Massachusetts to join his father, who had become a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University after a distinguished career in Europe. The American experience came at a difficult stage in Alex Agassiz’s adolescence. He hardly knew his father, who had spent much time away from home on scientific projects....

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Bigelow, Henry Bryant (03 October 1879–11 December 1967), zoologist and oceanographer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Smith Bigelow, a banker, and Mary Cleveland Bryant. Bigelow graduated from the Milton Academy at age sixteen. A year later he enrolled in Harvard College, from which he graduated cum laude with an A.B. in 1901, going on to earn an A.M. (1904) and a Ph.D. (1906). In 1906 he also married Elizabeth Perkins Shattuck; they had four children....

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Eigenmann, Carl H. (09 March 1863–24 April 1927), ichthyologist, was born in Flehingen, Germany, the son of Philip Eigenmann and Margaretha Lieb. Little is recorded of his background and earliest years. In his teens he emigrated with an uncle to Rockport, Indiana, where he completed high school. Much later he wrote: “In sheer desperation, for fear that I might do nothing but hew wood and carry water, early in my youth I took to looking at fishes.”...

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Eigenmann, Rosa Smith (07 October 1858–12 January 1947), ichthyologist, was born at Monmouth, Illinois, the daughter of Charles Kendall Smith, a newspaper publisher, and Lucretia Gray, a poet. Rosa’s parents had founded a newspaper, the Monmouth Atlas. She moved to Santa Rosa, California, in 1876 for her health and a few months later moved to San Diego. Her family joined her there, and her father became clerk of the city’s high school....

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Fewkes, Jesse Walter (14 November 1850–31 May 1930), marine biologist and anthropologist, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Jesse Fewkes, a craftsman, and Susan Emeline Jewett. Fewkes studied natural history under Louis Agassiz at Harvard University (B.A., 1875; M.A. and Ph.D., 1877). In 1881, following study with Rudolph Leuckart at Leipzig and work on the Italian coast around Naples and the southern coast of France, he became an assistant at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology in charge of lower invertebrates. From that time until 1883 he regularly accompanied zoologist ...

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Hubbs, Carl Leavitt (18 October 1894–30 June 1979), ichthyologist and naturalist, was born in Williams, Arizona. His father, Charles Leavitt Hubbs, who worked as a farmer, a merchant, and a newspaper editor in various western states, was doing placer mining at the time of Hubbs’s birth. Carl’s mother, Elizabeth Goss (Johnson, by way of a brief marriage), was at times a teacher of art. The family settled in San Diego, California, in 1896 until the parents divorced in 1907. Carl then lived with his mother and later also with his stepfather, Frank Newton, in various places in California, graduating from high school in Los Angeles. Carl developed an early interest in natural history, collecting seashells and identifying birds. He later recalled that in high school he had “plunged into nature study with a vengeance.” A teacher in Los Angeles introduced him to the fishes of nearby streams and urged him to attend Stanford University, then the nation’s center of ichthyology. His primary mentor there was Charles Henry Gilbert, who assigned the young man as curator of the university’s large collection of preserved fishes. Also while a student, Hubbs accompanied Stanford zoology professor John Otterbein Snyder on a summer trip in 1915 to the Bonneville Basin in Utah, which led to a lifelong interest in the isolated fishes of the Great Basin. Hubbs had a great admiration for ...

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Hyatt, Alpheus (05 April 1838–15 January 1902), paleontologist and marine biologist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Alpheus Hyatt, a wealthy merchant, and Harriet Randolph King. He spent a year at Yale College and another year in Rome before completing his college education at Harvard (B.S., 1862, summa cum laude); there he began his study of marine fossils under the influence of ...

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Mayor, Alfred Goldsborough (16 April 1868–24 June 1922), marine zoologist, was born Alfred Goldsborough Mayer near Frederick, Maryland, the son of Alfred Marshall Mayer, a physicist, and Katherine Duckett Goldsborough. During his formative years he displayed a keen interest in natural history and exceptional skill in drawing and coloring animals, especially butterflies and moths. His father was determined, however, that young Alfred would study mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he was a professor of physics. After graduating in 1889, Mayor served as assistant in physics at Clark University and later at the University of Kansas, but he resigned from the latter in 1892 in order to do advanced study in zoology at Harvard University....

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Stimpson, William (14 February 1832–26 May 1872), marine zoologist and museum administrator, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Herbert Hathorne Stimpson, an inventor and successful stove merchant, and Mary Ann Devereau Brewer. He was educated in the public schools of Cambridge, Massachusetts. His interest in natural history was piqued when he saw a copy of ...