Gregory, William K. (William King), 1876-1970

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Exist Dates

May 19, 1876 - December 29, 1970

Biographical or Historical Note

William King Gregory, vertebrate paleontologist and ichthyologist, was a curator at the American Museum of Natural History and a professor at Columbia University. Gregory served the AMNH for forty-four years, retiring as chairman and curator of its depts. of Fossil Fishes and of Comparative Anatomy and Ichthyology--the first individual at the AMNH to hold two curatorships. Gregory was also professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Columbia, having earlier arranged the New York Academy of Sciences library for Professor Bashford Dean. This led to to the editing of Henry Fairfield Osborn's paleontological papers, and the development of the AMNH journal (later Natural history). Gregory's particular interest was the evolution of mammals, fishes and primates. He investigated the comparative anatomy of the muscles of vertebrates; evolution of the motor apparatus from fishes to humans; evolution of the jaws, teeth and skull; comparative anatomy of anthropoid apes and humans; evolution of the skulls of fishes; and the history and relationships of fishes in geologic time. Gregory did some collecting in the Western U.S. and, with Henry C. Raven, in Australia in 1921 and 1922. In 1925 he accompanied (Charles) William Beebe on the Arcturus to the Sargasso Sea. Gregory made two trips to Africa: in 1929, a Columbia-AMNH expedition to Central Africa collected adult gorillas for anatomical study; and in 1938 the Gregory-Hellman Transvaal Expedition to South Africa studied Australopithecus africus, discovered by Robert Broom. Gregory's work was primarily involved with teaching, research and exhibition planning; he also published over 360 works, including articles, books and monographs. He died in 1970.


    Library of Congress Name Authority File
    From biographical note for Gregory's archive collection at the AMNH Library, Mss .G7441, written by Ann Herendeen.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

American Museum of Natural History. Department of Vertebrate Paleontology
associated dates: 1911-1914

Related Resources

William King Gregory papers, (bulk 1906-1948)
Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .G7441

Written by: Iris Lee
Last modified: 2018 October 1


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