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The scientific contributions of William Stimpson, an early American naturalist and taxonomist

WithRaymond B. Manning

Like the American James D. Dana, who studied the crustacean collections of the US Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842, Stimpson proved to be a world-class scientist in two different fields. These in Stimpson’s case were malacology and carcinology. Dana, known to most crustacean systematists as a carcinologist, also was a world-class geologist and is considered to be the father of geology in the United States. Stimpson's father was a successful businessman who apparently left an estate lange enough to preclude financial worries for Stimpson. In 1852, he was appointed naturalist for the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, largely through the efforts of Dana, Agassiz, and Spencer Baird, then Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian. Stimpson himself took on the study of most of the marine invertebrates of the expedition, but some groups were entrusted to other workers. Stimpson's collecting companions included Addison E. Verrill, E. S. Morse, Alpheus Hyatt, and Alpheus S. Packard Jr., and other prominent biologists of that time.