Bryan, E. H. (Edwin Horace), 1898-1985

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Exist Dates

1898 April 13 - 1985 July 24

Biographical or Historical Note

EDWIN HORACE BRYAN, Jr. was born on April 13, 1898 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Edwin Horace Bryan, Sr.

Bryan was an American naturalist who was affiliated with the Bishop Museum for most of his life. The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, has a central focus on the Hawaiian and surrounding Pacific Island cultures. Bryan was working at Bishop as an assistant entomologist when director Herbert Gregory suggested he join the AMNH affiliated Whitney South Sea Expedition. AMNH had agreed not to collect any bird specimens from Hawaii during the expedition, and instead exchanged WSSE samples with specimens from the Bishop Museum. WSSE was an ornithological expedition originated by Dr. Leonard C. Sanford and funded by Harry Payne Whitney, with the mission of systematically exploring Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia for previously undiscovered or little-known bird specimens. It was the largest ornithological expedition ever conceived. Active field research was conducted from 1920 to 1941. Bryan joined the team for 10 months in 1924. He was informed to not focus on collecting birds but rather on plant, insect and anthropological specimens. Bryan kept meticulous diaries while visiting over fifty islands with WSSE. His journals are housed in the Bishop Museum archives.

When Edwin Horace Bryan, Jr. was an infant his family moved to a citrus farm in southern California. He attended St. Matthew’s Military Academy in Burlingame, CA while a teenager and graduated from Redlands High School. In the summer of 1919 Bryan worked as assistant entomologist to Otto Swezey at the Bishop Museum. Bryan graduated from College of Hawaii (now University of Hawaii) in 1920 with a Bachelor of Science and earned a Bachelor of Philosophy from Yale University in 1921. In 1922 Bryan returned to work at the Bishop Museum where he also taught at the Kamehameha Schools. In 1924 Bryan graduated with a Master of Science from College of Hawaii. His entomology work continued at the Bishop Museum while he taught classes at the College of Hawaii and continued to travel on scientific expeditions throughout the Pacific. Bryan helped map the Pacific Islands while a Lt. Colonel in the US Army during WWII.

In 1960 the Pacific Science Information Center was created at the Bishop Museum with Bryan appointed as the head. The focus was to collect any information pertaining to the Pacific Islands. Bryan remained affiliated with the center and museum until his death. Edwin Horace Bryan, Jr died on July 24, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 87. He is buried with his wife, Helen, in Honolulu.


    Library of Congress Name Authority File no. 80010154
    Evenhuis, Neal L.. Field Notes of EH Bryan, Jr., on the Whitney South Seas Expedition (February-March 1924). Pacific Biological Survey, Bishop Museum. Bishop Museum Technical Report 37, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 2007.



Written by: Cara Shatzman
Last modified: 2016 November 7


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