Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Nuttall, Thomas

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

NUTTALL, Thomas, naturalist, b. in Settle, Yorkshire, England, in 1786; d. in St. Helen's, Lancashire, 10 Sept., 1859. He learned the printer's trade in England, but in his twenty-second year came to the United States, and at the suggestion of Benjamin S. Barton studied natural history, and subsequently devoted the remainder of his life to scientific pursuits. His interest in the subjects of botany and ornithology led him to travel extensively throughout this country, and in the course of his journeys he visited nearly all of the states of the Union, penetrating westward through the territory of Arkansas, and southward to the Everglades of Florida, traversing also the districts that border on the Mississippi, the northern lakes, and reaching the then far-distant Pacific, on which he sailed to the Sandwich islands. In 1822 he became professor of natural history in Harvard and curator of the botanical gardens, which appointments he held until 1834. He returned to England in 1842, and spent the rest of his life chiefly on the estate of Nutgrove, near Liverpool, which had been bequeathed to him on condition that he should reside upon it. Elias Durand said of him: “No other explorer of the botany of North America has personally made more discoveries; no writer on American plants, except perhaps Professor Asa Gray, has described more new genera and species.” Besides contributions to periodicals, he published “The Genera of North American Plants and a Catalogue of the Species to 1817” (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1818); “A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the Year 1819” (1821); “Manual of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada,” I. Land Birds (Cambridge, 1832); II. Water Birds (Boston, 1834); and “The North American Sylva, or a Description of the Forest-Trees of the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia, not described in the work of François André Michaux” (3 vols., Philadelphia, 1842-9).