Carl Ethan Akeley (born May 19, 1864, Clarendon, New York— died November
17, 1926, Belgian Congo, Africa), taxidermist, sculptor, inventor, explorer, and
naturalist, who led five expeditions to Africa, three of which for the Museum of
Natural History where he gathered specimens for his African Hall Exhibition. He
is the author of the book In Brightest Africa.
Delia Julia Denning (born December 5, 1875 Beaver Dam, Wisconsin – died
May 22, 1970, Daytona Beach, Florida), explorer, big game hunter, naturalist,
and author, who went on four expeditions to Africa, both with former husband
Carl Ethan Akeley for the American Museum of Natural History as well as solo for
the Brooklyn Museum . She is the author of numerous magazine articles as well as
the books J.T., j.r.: the biography of the African monkey (1929) and Jungle
Mary L. Jobe (Mary Lenore Jobe) Akeley (born January 29, 1878, Tappan,
Ohio— died July 19, 1966, Mystic, Connecticut), explorer, photographer,
lecturer, writer, who went on numerous expeditions to the Canadian Rockies
before marrying Carl Ethan Akeley, participating in his Akeley-Eastman-Pomeroy
African Hall expedition and being named Special Advisor and Assistant of the
African Hall for the Museum of Natural History, after his death in 1926. She is
the author of many publications, including Carl Akeley’s Africa, Restless
Jungle, and Congo Eden.
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1971. Located on Floor 2. The Akeley Gallery at the American Museum of Natural History is used for temporary exhibits funded by continuing support from the Arthur Ross Foundation (1, 2001-2003, p. 32; 1, 1974-1975, p. 24, 31; 2, p. 2).
The Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History
was established in 1999 and took the place of the Department of Astronomy. Along
with the Department of Earth and Planetary Science, it makes up the Division of
Physical Sciences. This record pertains to the current Department of
Astrophysics beginning in 1999.
There has never been a formal department of Botany at the American Museum
of Natural History. However, throughout the museum’s history there has been
botanical activity and a close association with the New York Botanical Garden
(NYBG) and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Additionally, the museum curated an
important collection of the woods of North America, managed by The Department
for Woods and Forestry. The president’s report of 1908 outlined the subjects and
divisions of science the museum was to administer; forestry and forest
conservation was included in this. However, it was stated that “this, with the
Jesup Wood Collection, is the only invasion of the science of Botany” the museum
would enter into. (1)
The early history of the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum
of Natural History can be traced back to 1870, with the museum’s acquisition of
Alexander Philipp Maximilian’s vertebrate collection. During the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, care of the herpetological collection was shifted between
various zoological departments, until in 1909 a Department of Herpetology and
Ichthyology was formalized. Herpetology was first established as a separate
department in 1920, but in the years since has been combined in certain periods
with experimental biology (as the Department of Herpetology and Experimental
Biology from 1928 to 1934), with fossil reptiles (as the Department of
Amphibians and Reptiles from 1942 to 1944), and again with ichthyology (as the
Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology from 1987 to 1997).
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the American Museum of
Natural History, the limited ichthyology collections were shifted between
various broad zoological departments. It was not until 1909 that a Department of
Herpetology and Ichthyology was formalized, and a further 11 years until an
independent Department of Ichthyology was established in 1920. In the years
since, Ichthyology has been combined in certain periods with other zoological
disciplines and adopted different departmental names, including the Department
of Living and Extinct Fishes (1930-1942), the Department of Fishes (1942-1944),
the Department of Fishes and Aquatic Biology (1944-1960) and again the
Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology (1987-1997).
Roy Chapman Andrews was an explorer, paleontologist, and a well-known figure at the American Museum of Natural History. Born in Beloit, Wisconsin on January 26, 1884 to Cora Chapman and Charles Ezra Andrews, he enjoyed hunting and the study of nature. He taught himself taxidermy and, being the only taxidermist in the Beloit area, provided preparation and mounting services for local hunters. (1) After graduating from Beloit College in 1906 with a B.A., Andrews sought a career at AMNH, but there were no positions available. He volunteered to work at the museum as a janitor and assistant to James L. Clark and was hired July 16, 1906. His taxidermy skills were quickly recognized and by 1908 he was able to convince the AMNH director, H.C. Bumpus to allow him to collect specimens in the field. (2)
James Wade Atz was born on July 23rd, 1915 in Newark, New Jersey. He
received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1936 and both his M.S. in 1951 and
his Ph.D. in 1959 from New York University. Dr. Atz began his career studying
fish at the New York Aquarium first as a lab technician in 1937, then as
assistant curator in 1947, associate curator in 1957, and finally as a full
curator in 1961. He joined the American Museum of Natural History with an
honorary position as a research associate in the Department of Animal Behavior
in 1960. In 1965 he moved to the Department of Ichthyology where he became an
associate curator and then a full curator in 1970.
Charles Marcus Breder (1897-1983) was an ichthyologist who held curatorial and directorial positions at the New York Aquarium and the American Museum of Natural History, including the Museum’s Lerner Marine Laboratory. His repute rests in part on work in fish behavior, including locomotion, and prodigious writing. Throughout his career he undertook fieldwork within the Americas. Breder died at age eighty-six on October 28, 1983, in Englewood Hospital, Florida.
James Paul Chapin (1889-1964) was a noted Ornithologist and former Curator
at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. At the age of 19 he
took the role of assistant to the American Museum Congo Expedition (1909-1915).
This began his life-long association with that region and established his place
as an expert on the birds of the Congo. A graduate of Columbia University,
Chapin worked at the Museum from 1905 until his official retirement in 1948,
after which he took the role of research associate in African Ornithology and
curator emeritus until his death.
James Lippitt Clark (1883 – 1969) was an accomplished animal sculptor,
taxidermist, explorer and big-game hunter. Clark was employed by the American
Museum of Natural History from 1902 to 1908, and again from 1923 to 1949, and
served as the museum’s Director of Arts, Preparation and Installation from 1935
until his retirement. Clark is known for his innovations in specimen preparation
and display, his creative direction of the museum’s mammal halls, and for his
role in several expeditions on behalf of the museum, both within North America
and to remote regions of Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.
The Department of Astronomy at the American Museum of Natural History
existed from 1924 to 1999 and was the earliest manifestation of the study of
Astronomy at the Museum. It was originally conceived in 1924 as part of the
Division of Mineralogy, Geology and Geography, with Department of Education
Curator Clyde Fisher put in charge (1, 1925 p. xix). In 1935 the Department’s
reach expanded with the opening of the Hayden Planetarium. Thereafter the
scientific research department and the physical exhibition and educational space
were merged. From 1935, curatorial staff held responsibility for both the
Department of Astronomy and the Hayden Planetarium, and the department’s name
changed to Department of Astronomy and Hayden Planetarium. In 1953 it would
change to Department of Astronomy and American Museum-Hayden Planetarium. In
1999, the department was re-envisioned as the Department of Astrophysics. This
reflected a change in divisional focus and the construction of the new Rose
Center for Earth and Space, which would open in 2000. At this point, the
relationship between the Hayden Planetarium and the scientific Department of
Astrophysics split into more discrete identities. This record documents the
Department of Astronomy up until the opening of the Hayden Planetarium, from
George Clyde Fisher, known as Clyde, was a scientist and educator who
worked for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) from 1913 until his
retirement in 1941. He worked in the Department of Education before his
involvement in the development of the Astronomy department. He was instrumental
in the planning and execution of the Hayden Planetarium, and acted as its first
curator when it opened in 1935.
Artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes (February 1874-August 1927), celebrated for his bird
portraiture, helped to create many dioramas for the American Museum of Natural History in the
early 1900s. In addition to artwork and exploration for natural history and scientific
institutions, he illustrated popular books and magazines and worked for manufacturing and
travel industries. He lived in Ithaca, New York, most of his life and participated in the
American Ornithologists’ Union.
The Hayden Planetarium opened on October 3, 1935 and provided a physical
space to represent the American Museum of Natural History's recently established
Department of Astronomy. From this beginning, the relationship and identity of
the Astronomy department and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as their staff
members, were interchangeable. In 1999, the Department of Astronomy changed to
the Department of Astrophysics and the Hayden Planetarium began to have distinct
leadership. In 2000, the Hayden Planetarium reopened as part of the Rose Center
for Earth and Space. This record primarily represents the Department of
Astronomy and Hayden Planetarium between the years 1935 and 1999.
Edmund Otis Hovey (born September 15, 1862, New Haven, Connecticut,
U.S.—died September 27, 1924, New York, New York, U.S.), geologist and curator
at the American Museum of Natural History, known for his studies of the volcanic
eruptions of Mount Pelée, Martinique and La Soufrière, Saint Vincent.
The Hyde Exploring Expeditions to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico excavated
ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling civilizations and discovered an earlier
"Basketmaker" civilization beneath the canyon floor. The expeditions were
sponsored by Benjamin Talbot Babbitt (B.T.B.) Hyde and and his younger brother
Frederic Erastus Hyde, Jr., were conducted under the auspices of Frederic
Putnam, Curator of Anthropology in the American Museum of Natural History.
Richard Wetherill was the expedition leader and guide. George Hubbard Pepper was
the lead archaeologist. The Hyde expeditions also included ethnological studies
by Aleṧ Hrdlička, who set up a laboratory in Pueblo Bonito.
Libbie Henrietta Hyman (born December 6, 1888, Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1888 —
died August 3, 1969, New York, New York), scientist, zoologist, author, who
researched and published numerous writings on invertebrates. She became
affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History in 1933, when she
accepted a position as a research associate in the Department of Experimental
Biology. In 1943, she was named research associate in the Department of
Invertebrates. She is the author of numerous publications, including: A
Laboratory Manual for Elementary Zoology, A Laboratory Manual for Comparative
Vertebrate Anatomy, six volumes of The Invertebrates.
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