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Allen, Arthur Augustus (28 December 1885–17 January 1964), ornithologist, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Daniel Williams Allen, a railroad and land developer, and Anna Moore. He was raised in Hamburg, New York, ten miles south of Buffalo, and he graduated from Buffalo High School in 1903. Allen then attended Cornell University, where he received an A.B. in 1907 and an M.A. in 1908. A graduate assistant in zoology from 1907 to 1911, he completed his formal training in 1911 with his doctoral dissertation, “The Red-Winged Blackbird: A Study in the Ecology of a Cattail Marsh,” which was praised by leading ornithologists of the day, including ...

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Allen, Glover Morrill (08 December 1879–15 February 1942), mammalogist and ornithologist, was born in Walpole, New Hampshire, the son of Nathaniel Glover Allen, a minister, and Harriet Ann Schouler Allen. His father, who was 68 when his son was born, retired in 1885, at which time the family moved to Newton, Massachusetts. He died when his son was ten. Allen attended the local public schools and Newton High School and then entered Harvard, becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and graduating magna cum laude in 1901. The early natural history interests Allen had evinced from boyhood prompted him to concentrate in botany, zoology, and foreign languages. His first major publication, ...

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Bailey, Florence Augusta Merriam (08 August 1863–22 September 1948), ornithologist, was born in Locust Grove, New York, the daughter of Clinton Levi Merriam, a banker, and Caroline Hart. She grew up on the family’s country estate, Homewood, in the rural Adirondack foothills. Bailey’s father encouraged his children’s curiosity about nature and wildlife, camping and exploring with them in the countryside. He had met and corresponded with the naturalist ...

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Bonaparte, Charles Lucien Jules Laurent (24 May 1803–29 July 1857), ornithologist, was born in Paris, France, the son of Lucien Bonaparte, a younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte and a senator and president of the Council of Five Hundred during the Directorate, and Alexandrine de Bleschamps. His early life was full of turmoil since Napoleon bitterly opposed his father’s marriage considering it insufficiently elevated for the brother of a future emperor. Lucien, an ardent republican who disapproved of Napoleon’s empire, refused to divorce his wife. In 1804 he left France for Rome, where he placed himself under the protection of Pope Pius VII. His eldest son, Charles, banned by Napoleon from the line of succession, nevertheless spent a childhood surrounded by luxury until Napoleon’s break with the pope forced his father to flee in 1810. Lucien planned to emigrate to the United States, but he and his family were captured by the British off Sardinia and taken to England. During the next four years, Charles was privately tutored. He concentrated on his favorite subject, natural history, and learned English. In 1814, after Napoleon’s exile to Elba, Lucien and his family returned to Rome, where Pope Pius VII granted Lucien the title of prince of Canino and named Charles prince of Musignano. Charles continued to study plants, insects, and vertebrate animals (including birds) in Rome and at Lucien’s estates in Frascati and Canino; he also commenced a natural history of the birds of Rome....

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Brewer, Thomas Mayo (21 November 1814–23 January 1880), ornithologist and journalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Brewer, a colonel in the revolutionary war (mother’s name unknown). He graduated from Harvard College in 1835 and from Harvard Medical School three years later. After a few years of practice in Boston’s North End, Brewer virtually abandoned medicine in favor of journalism and natural history....

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Brewster, William (05 July 1851–11 July 1919), ornithologist, was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, the youngest of four children of John Brewster, a prominent Boston banker and philanthropist, and Rebecca Parker Noyes. Brewster was educated in the public schools of Cambridge. During his youth he became interested in natural history, particularly the study of birds. At the age of ten he fell under the influence of Daniel C. French, a neighbor who was a skilled taxidermist and enthusiastic outdoorsman. Young Brewster quickly mastered the techniques of bird preservation, and by the time he was fourteen, he had acquired an impressive number of mounted birds, which he expanded over the ensuing years into one of the largest ornithological collections in the United States. His father encouraged this activity by procuring ...

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John Cassin Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101868).

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Cassin, John (06 September 1813–10 January 1869), ornithologist and printing company executive, was born near the present site of Media, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Cassin, a Quaker farmer, and Rachel Sharpless. Cassin attended a Quaker School in Westtown, Pennsylvania, and studied under private tutors. His interest in natural history developed as the result of the emphasis placed on the subject by Quaker schools at that time; this proved decisive in Cassin’s choice of avocation. He began observing and identifying birds on the family property in his mid-teens, and as an adult he regretted that he had not gotten out into the field more often to go birdwatching. At age twenty-one he went to Philadelphia, where he worked first in merchandising and then at the U.S. Customs House. When J. T. Bowen, an engraver and lithographer, died, Cassin assumed the management of Bowen’s firm and continued to supply illustrations for various scientific books and periodicals and for federal government publications....

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Catesby, Mark (31 December 1682–23 December 1749), naturalist, botanist, and ornithologist, was born in Castle Hedingham, Essex, England, the son of John Catesby, a former town clerk, justice of the peace, and mayor of Sudbury, England, and Elizabeth Jekyll. He may have attended the local grammar school in Sudbury, but little is known of his educational record. It is thought that he had no university-level or formal legal training, although his eldest brother was a student at Cambridge University and the Inns of Court in London. Catesby was reasonably proficient in Latin, and it is possible that he either had some training in botany or some early experience in that field. It is also probable that he met and learned from the celebrated English naturalist John Ray sometime prior to the latter’s death in 1705....

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Chapin, James Paul (09 July 1889–05 April 1964), ornithologist, was born in New York City, the son of Gilbert Granger Chapin, a fresh produce dealer, and Nano Eagle. Although the family home was situated fewer than twenty blocks from the American Museum of Natural History, with which Chapin would be associated for nearly sixty years, much of his childhood and young manhood was spent on Staten Island. There he developed a strong interest in natural history, delivering his first paper before the local natural history society at the age of sixteen. That same year (1905) Chapin completed high school....

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Frank M. Chapman. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102412).

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Chapman, Frank Michler (12 June 1864–15 November 1945), ornithologist and museum curator, was born in Englewood Township, New Jersey, the son of Lebbeus Chapman, Jr., a partner in a New York City law firm, and Mary Augusta Parkhurst. His father died when his son was eleven. In addition to possessing a strong ornithological interest from the age of eight, Chapman inherited a musical ear from his mother, and his daughter-in-law, ...

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Cory, Charles Barney (31 January 1857–29 July 1921), ornithologist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Barney Cory, a successful importer, and Eliza Ann Bell Glynn. From his early youth Cory engaged in a variety of sports, achieving competence in such diverse activities as billiards, pistol-shooting, golf, fencing, boxing, and riding. An avid outdoorsman, he was particularly fond of hunting and bird-collecting, and the latter interest eventually led to his career as a naturalist and ornithologist. From 1876 to 1878 he attended the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard, where he met ...

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Eklund, Carl Robert (27 January 1909–04 November 1962), scientist and antarctic explorer, was born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, the son of John Eklund, a carpenter, and Maria Olson. Both his parents were immigrants from Sweden. Eklund was an outstanding football and basketball player at Tomahawk High School. Later he starred in football at Carleton College in Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1932. Carleton’s Dr. ...

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Forbush, Edward Howe (24 April 1858–08 March 1929), ornithologist and conservationist, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Pomeroy Forbush, a school principal, and Ruth Hudson Carr. Soon after their son’s birth, the parents moved their family to West Roxbury, Massachusetts, while Forbush’s father went into business in nearby Worcester. In early childhood, Forbush developed a strong interest in birds, mammals, and nature in general; in his early teens, he taught himself to be a competent taxidermist. Forbush attended the public schools in West Roxbury and Worcester, but he left at age fifteen, to help his father in his business, and never graduated. All thought of college was soon abandoned. He assisted his father as a laborer, mechanic, and farmer for seven years, and studied natural history in such spare time as he could find. At age sixteen he became a member of the Worcester Natural History Society, and served as volunteer curator of ornithology for its museum. At age nineteen he became president of the society, and with like-minded friends, worked hard to develop local interest in the organization and in the nature study programs it offered. For several years he enjoyed the luxury of pursuing his natural history avocation with little thought for earning any independent income....

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Friedmann, Herbert (22 April 1900–14 May 1987), ornithologist and museum director, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Uriah M. Friedmann, a druggist, and Mary Behrmann, a teacher. Growing up in New York City, he developed an interest in nature and art through frequent visits to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. During high school Friedmann joined a bird club and began making observations of the local avifauna. Friedmann graduated from the City College of New York with a B.Sc. in biology in 1920. Shortly thereafter he published his first ornithological paper, “The Weaving of the Red-billed Weaver Bird in Captivity” ( ...

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Griscom, Ludlow (17 June 1890–28 May 1959), ornithologist, was born in New York City, the son of Clement Acton Griscom, a financier and corporate executive, and Genevieve Sprigg Ludlow. Both parents were from socially prominent and wealthy families. Griscom received his early education from private instructors until age eleven, when he enrolled in the Symes School for college preparation. At age fifteen, he passed the entrance examination for Harvard University; but, being too young to enroll, he remained at home for two years, concentrating on foreign languages and music. His parents strongly encouraged his keyboard training, and his skills were such that he briefly considered a career as a concert pianist. Having been on many trips to Europe with his family, Griscom developed an early aptitude for languages, which contributed to his parents’ desire that he prepare for the foreign service. Although Griscom learned to speak five languages fluently and read another ten with ease, he found himself strongly attracted to natural history, particularly the study of birds. He enrolled at Columbia University in 1907 as a prelaw student and graduated in 1912 with an A.B. Griscom began graduate school in 1914 at Cornell University, where he was the first ornithology graduate student under ...

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Henry W. Henshaw Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98679).

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Henshaw, Henry Wetherbee (03 March 1850–01 August 1930), ornithologist, ethnologist, and government official, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of William Henshaw and Sarah Holden Wetherbee. His interest in natural history was demonstrated from early childhood, and he began focusing has attention on birds. He completed his primary and secondary education in the local public schools, but poor health compelled him to defer plans to take the entrance examination at Harvard in 1869. While in high school, Henshaw met ...

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Jones, Lynds (05 January 1865–11 February 1951), ornithologist and college professor, was born in Jefferson, Ohio, the son of Publius Virgilius Jones, an impecunious millwright, and Lavinia Burton. When the boy was several months old, the family moved to a farm near Grinnell, Iowa, where the father struggled to make ends meet. When not helping his father with farm chores, Jones attended the local country schools. A neighbor who sold eggs for a living employed the teenaged Jones to collect them, and this job piqued a lifelong interest in birds. Jones also learned to hunt, a skill that helped him to augment the family income and taught him much about nature and wildlife. Shortly afterwards one of Jones’s teachers, George W. Tallmon, got some of the local youngsters together to form a chapter of the Louis Agassiz Association, a national organization for children interested in natural history, which was sponsored by ...