Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Gill, Theodore Nicholas (United States 1837-1914)
ichthyology, taxonomy

Gill's was in many respects the archetype of a life devoted to science. Though not an unsociable sort he never married, preferring to apply all his energies to his researches: to the extent of actually living for many years in a room at the Smithsonian Institution, with which he began a lifelong association in 1861. Not a field biologist, he spent his time in the lab studying morphology, especially bone structure, of fishes and birds (he also worked on mammals and mollusks), producing over five hundred scientific papers (but no books). Gill was one of the master taxonomists of his time and historically rates among the front rank of ichthyologists. He was especially known for his extraordinary memory ("in his special field he read everything and forgot nothing") and how it aided him in interrelating the literature on every subject he took up.

Life Chronology

--born in New York City, on 21 March 1837.
--1855: receives scholarship to attend Wagner Free Institute of Science, Philadelphia
--1858: takes part in an expedition to collect fish specimens in the West Indies
--1860-1861: adjunct professor of physics and natural history, Columbian College (later George Washington University)
--1861: begins association with the Smithsonian Institution
--1862-1866: librarian, Smithsonian Institution
--1864-1866: lecturer in natural history, Columbian College
--1865: A.M. (honorary), Columbian College
--1866: M.D. (honorary), Columbian College
--1866-1874: assistant librarian, Library of Congress
--1870: Ph.D. (honorary), Columbian College
--1871: publishes his Arrangement of the Families of Mollusks
--1872: publishes his Arrangement of the Families of Fishes and Arrangement of the Families of Mammals
--1873: publishes his Catalogue of the Fishes of the East Coast of North America
--1873: elected to the National Academy of Sciences
--1873-1884: lecturer in zoology, Columbian College
--1884-1910: professor of zoology, Columbian College
--1893: publishes "A Comparison of Antipodal Faunas" in the Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
--1894-1914: associate in zoology, Smithsonian Institution
--1895: LL.D. (honorary), Columbian College
--1896: vice-president, American Association for the Advancement of Science
--1897: president, American Association for the Advancement of Science
--1901: visits Scotland
--1906: publishes "Parental Care Among Fresh-Water Fishes" in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution
--dies at Washington, D.C., on 25 September 1914.

For Additional Information, See:

--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), Vol. 8 (1919).
--American National Biography, Vol. 9 (1999).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12 (1904).
--Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1916 (1917): 579-586.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 5 (1972).
--Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists (1997).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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