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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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Fossey, Dian (16 January 1932– December 1985), naturalist and zoologist, was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of George Fossey, an insurance agent, and Kitty Kidd, a fashion model. Her alcoholic father left the family when Fossey was three years old, and her stepfather, Richard Price, was unloving and discouraging. Her uncle Albert Chapin helped take care of Fossey and financed her schooling....

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Hamilton, William John, Jr. (11 December 1902–17 July 1990), mammalogist, naturalist, and educator, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, the son of William John Hamilton and Charlotte Richardson. His interest in nature was kindled in boyhood by a Sunday school teacher who gave him a plant to care for when Hamilton was seven. He was soon involved in gardening (which would remain a major avocation all his life), bird watching, muskrat trapping, and kindred activities. In his teens, he raised needed income by supplying timber rattlesnakes to the New York Zoological Society’s Bronx Zoo and moth cocoons to a shop on lower Fifth Avenue in New York City....

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Tate, George Henry Hamilton (30 April 1894–24 December 1953), mammalogist and naturalist, was born in London, England, the son of Septimus George Tate, a railroad administrator, and Elizabeth Hamilton. His family lived in Canada from 1895 to 1902, after which they spent a year in the United States. In 1903 they returned to England, remaining until 1912, when they came back to the United States to stay. The family resided in New York City, and Tate’s father worked in his railroad company offices there. The younger Tate attended primary schools in England, Canada, and the United States, worked as a telegraph operator for the Western Union Company on Long Island from 1912 to 1914, and then returned to England to become an infantry and later an engineering officer in the British army during World War I. He was a student at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London in 1918–1919, then spent much of the year 1919–1920 managing a lime plantation in Dominica, British West Indies. In the autumn of 1920, he was an instructor at the Newton Academy in New Jersey....

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Tryon, George Washington, Jr. (20 May 1838–05 February 1888), conchologist and naturalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward K. Tryon, a businessman involved in the manufacture and trade of sporting firearms, and Adeline Savitd. Tryon showed an early interest in natural history and in the collection of specimens, especially shells. Studious and methodical, he showed skill at identifying and curating when only seven. His education began at home and at private schools; at age twelve he entered Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia, attending for three years. This marked the end of his formal education, although he subsequently learned French, German, and music from private tutors. His interest in literature and music was lifelong—strong enough for him to write a comic opera, manage an orchestra, and edit, publish, and arrange music—but these activities did not alter his intent to be a natural historian. He was persuaded to enter the family business in 1857, but he left in 1868 to devote the rest of his life to conchology, becoming one of the most knowledgeable American authorities in that growing field....