Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Gulick, John Thomas (United States 1832-1923)
evolutionary biology

Photo courtesy of Donald Forsdyke.
John Gulick continued a family tradition by attending theological school and then did missionary work in China and Japan for over thirty-five years. But he also carried on a parallel career as a naturalist and, somewhat strange to say, Darwinian evolutionist. Gulick had been a collector of land snails since his teen years, and became a convert to evolutionary thinking even before reading On the Origin of Species. An acute observer, he noticed that many species and varieties of snails were often restricted to very geographically-limited ranges and, as his son Addison later wrote, he came "to place great emphasis upon every form of isolation or prevention of mingling, and also to emphasize the great significance for evolution of many factors that are of internal origin, such as the unknown intricacies of the process of heredity, and the effects of new choices made by the evolving creatures..." (Scientific Monthly 18 (January 1924): 89). Gulick's work was praised by Darwin, and later by the biologist George Romanes. Gulick extended his ideas to societal evolution in human beings, which he thought was dependent on altruistic motives and a spirit of cooperation.

Life Chronology

--born on Kauai Island, Hawaii, on 13 March 1832.
--1851: begins collecting land snails and shells
--1853: reads Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle and Hugh Miller's The Footprints of the Creator; presents "The Distribution of Plants and Animals" to the Punahou Debating Society; travels to New York
--1855: enrolls at Williams College, joins the school's Lyceum of Natural History
--1859: Lyceum president; A.B., Williams College
--1859-1861: attends Union Theological Seminary; reads Darwin's On the Origin of Species
--1861-1862: leaves his studies for shell collecting expeditions in Panama, then in Japan
--1864-1875: missionary work in China
--1872: publishes "On the Variation of Species as Related to Their Geographical Distribution, Illustrated by the Achatinellinae" in Nature
--1872: visits England
--1873: publishes "On Diversity of Evolution Under One Set of External Conditions" in the Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology
--1875-1899: missionary work in Japan
--1888: publishes "Divergent Evolution Through Cumulative Segregation" in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Zoology
--1888: visits England
--1889: honorary A.M. & Ph.D., Adelbert College
--1891: publishes "Intensive Segregation, or Divergence Through Independent Transformation" in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Zoology
--1899-1905: lives in Oberlin, Ohio
--1905: publishes his Evolution, Racial and Habitudinal; honorary Ph.D., Oberllin
--1905-1923: lives in Hawaii
--dies at Honolulu, Hawaii, on 14 April 1923.

For Additional Information, See:

--American National Biography, Vol. 9 (1999).
--Science, Vol. 58(1512) (21 December 1923): 509.
--Scientific Monthly, Vol. 18(1) (January 1924): 83-91.
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 11 (1901).
--Evolutionist and Missionary: John Thomas Gulick (1932).

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Copyright 2007 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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