Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Pilsbry, Henry Augustus (United States 1862-1957)


Pilsbry was among the most productive taxonomists ever to pick up a magnifying glass; in all he published some three thousand articles (around twelve hundred in his journal Nautilus alone) and described and named going on six thousand forms. Pilsbry's immersion in the world of shelled creatures was so intense and over such a long period (he published writings in a total of eight decades) that he became a veritable institution. He worked on both freshwater and marine organisms, extant and extinct species, and American and foreign forms. Further, his studies extended beyond mere descriptive work; he was interested in ecology and biogeography as well, and made contributions relevant to oil exploration activities and epidemiology. In addition to his attention to molluscs, Pilsbry was also the leading expert on barnacles. Pilsbry spent many an hour in his lab at the Academy of Natural Sciences, but he actually also spent a fair amount of time in the field, collecting specimens in the U.S., Hawaii, Central and South America, the West Indies, the Galapagos Islands, Japan, Australia, and various South Pacific islands.

Life Chronology

--born near Iowa City, Iowa, on 7 December 1862.
--1882: B.S., University of Iowa
--1882-1887: works as newspaper reporter in Iowa City and Davenport
--1887: hired as assistant at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP)
--1888-1895: conservator of conchology, ANSP
--1889-1932: editor, Manual of Conchology
--1889-1957: founder and first editor, Nautilus
--1895-1957: curator, ANSP
--1899: honorary D.Sc., University of Iowa
--1901: made curator of molluscs, ANSP; publishes "The Genesis of Mid-Pacific Faunas" in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 1900
--1907: first president, American Conchological Society
--1916: publishes his The Sessile Barnacles (Cirripedia) Contained in the Collections of the U.S. National Museum; Including a Monograph of the American Species
--1927: publishes "The Aquatic Mollusks of the Belgian Congo, with a Geographical and Ecological Account of Congo Malacology" in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, with J. Bequaert
--1928: receives the Joseph Leidy Memorial Award of the ANSP
--1931: first president, American Malacological Union
--1936-1957: honorary president of the American Malacological Union
--1939-1948: publishes his Land Mollusca of North America (North of Mexico), in two volumes
--1940: honorary D.Sc., University of Pennsylvania
--dies at Lantana, Florida, on 26 October 1957.

For Additional Information, See:

--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 47 (1965).
--The Nautilus, Vol. 71(3) (1958): 73-112.
--Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Vol. 153 (2003): 1-6.

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

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