Correia, José G., 1881-1954

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Exist Dates

1881 January 27 - 1954 April 26

Biographical or Historical Note

JOSE GONCALVES CORREIA was born on January 27, 1881 in Flamengos, Fayal Island, in the Azores to Anna Correia (née Jacintha) and Jose Goncalves Correia. He had two brothers, Manuel and John, and two sisters, Mariana Goncalves and Margarida de Rosa.

Correia was a bird collector for numerous AMNH expeditions. His first voyage was with Dr. Robert Cushman Murphy to the islands of South Georgia in 1912-13. He subsequently collected on AMNH expeditions in the Antarctic, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, the islands in the Gulf of Guinea, the South Pacific and on the “Askoy” Expedition of 1941.

On his trip to the South Pacific with the Whitney South Sea Expedition, Correia acted as team leader for six months in 1923 while the established leader, Rollo Beck, met with the AMNH counsel in New York. The Whitney South Sea Expedition 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. Correia and his wife Virginia joined WSSE in 1922 as a replacement for Ernest Quayle. The Correias traveled with WSSE for four years, working through the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan Archipelagos. In the New Hebrides the Correias contracted malaria which contributed to them leaving the expedition.

By 1929 Correia was back in the field, collecting for AMNH in West Africa. Correia was known for taking exceptionally detailed notes, many of which were included in Dr. Murphy's reports for the museum.

As a young boy, Correia was trained in the family business of cooperage. Correia emigrated from the Azores to New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1901, aboard the whaling ship the Morning Star. Upon arriving in New Bedford, he began work in a cotton mill. Throughout his life, Correia would work intermittently in the mill. As a cooper, he made trips to the Antarctic in 1908 and 1911. He met Dr. Robert Cushman Murphy on the 1911 trip, who was on an expedition with AMNH. Correia learned to prepare birds from Murphy and became interested in ornithology while on the voyage. Correia remained friends with Murphy for the remainder of his life; often partaking in AMNH expeditions with Murphy as his sponsor.

He married his first wife, Rosa Silva in 1903. She died in 1906. In 1920 Correia married Virginia Goncalves Aguiar. He had one daughter, Mary Goncalves Correia, born August 10, 1904 in New Bedford, MA. Jose Goncalves Correia died on April 26, 1954 of a heart attack in New Bedford, MA at the age of 73.


    American Museum of Natural History. Fifty-Fifth Annual Report for the year 1923.
    American Museum of Natural History. Sixty-First Annual Report for the year 1929.
    “J.G. Correia, Bird Collector For Museum, Dies Suddenly.” The Standard Times (New Bedford, MA), April 26, 1954.
    Murphy, Robert Cushman. Oceanic Birds of South America. New York: American Museum of Natural History, c1936.
    Smith, Robin. Correia, Jose vertical file. AMNH Research Library.



Written by: Cara Shatzman
Last modified: 2016 November 7


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