Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Van Denburgh, John (United States 1872-1924)

John Van Denburgh did relatively little work (beyond, perhaps, his studies on the gila monster) that would recommend his name to posterity, but in his time he was known as a careful and industrious researcher, and as an administrator of considerable talent. Under his guidance the herpetology collection at the California Academy of Sciences became internationally known, and even after the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 entirely destroyed it, he built it right back up again, from scratch. Beyond his duties as a curator Van Denburgh involved himself in an array of natural history studies on reptiles and amphibians (and some on birds); these efforts led to the production of over a hundred taxonomically- and regional/geographic-oriented publications. He was also a practicing physician.

Life Chronology

--born in San Francisco, California, on 23 August 1872.
--1888: at the age of sixteen publishes his first paper, in The Oologist
--1890: helps to organize the first grouping of the Cooper Club
--1894: A.B., Stanford University
--1895: A.M., Stanford University
--1895: made curator of herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences
--1896-1897: begins his studies on the venom of the Gila Monster
--1897: Ph.D., Stanford University
--1897: publishes his The Reptiles of the Pacific Coast and Great Basin
--1902: obtains his M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University; returns to San Francisco to practice medicine and continue as curator at the CAS
--1922: publishes his The Reptiles of Western North America in two volumes
--dies at Honolulu, Hawaii, on 24 October 1924.

For Additional Information, See:

--Science, Vol. 61(1585) (1925): 508-510.
--Collection Building in Ichthyology and Herpetology (1997): 323-350.

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

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

Return to Home/Alphabetical Listing by Name
Return to Listing by Country
Return to Listing by Discipline