September 11, 1856 - November 1, 1916
Edgar A. Mearns was an army surgeon and field naturalist. A tireless explorer and collector, Mearns contributed the first study collection of birds to the American Museum of Natural History in 1883. Mearns displayed an early interest in zoology, especially birds, corresponding with other collectors and writing papers. He consulted with J.A. Allen of the AMNH, and spent the winter following his 1881 graduation from medical school setting up the museum's first student collection in vertebrate zoology. After entering the army, Mearns continued to pursue his field work during postings throughout the U.S., and later in Cuba and the Philippines, collecting both zoological and botanical specimens. In 1891, Mearns was appointed to the Mexican-United States International Boundary Commission. With the help of the AMNH and other agencies, Mearns was able to explore the entire boundary line from El Paso, Tex., to the Pacific Coast, by 1894, collecting 30,000 specimens for the U.S. National Museum, his primary affiliation. Following his retirement, Mearns participated in two expeditions to East Africa, in 1909 and 1911.
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