Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Ridgway, Robert

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RIDGWAY, Robert, ornithologist, b. in Mount Carmel, Ill., 3 July, 1850. He was educated at common schools in his native town, where he showed a special fondness for natural history. A correspondence with Spencer F. Baird in 1864 led to his appointment, three years later, as naturalist to the U. S. geological exploration of the 40th parallel, under Clarence King. Since that time he has been chiefly occupied in government work, and in 1879 he was appointed curator of the department of birds in the U. S. national museum, which place he now (1898) holds. Mr. Ridgway received the degree of M. S. from the Indiana state university in 1884, and has been vice-president of the Ornithologists' union since its organization in 1884. He is also corresponding member of the Zoological society of London, and the Academies of science of New York, Davenport, and Chicago, foreign member of the British ornithologists' union, and member of the permanent ornithological committee (Vienna), also honorary member of the Nuttall ornithological club of Cambridge, Mass., the Brookville, Ind., society of natural history, and of the Ridgway ornithological club of Chicago, Ill. His published papers exceed 300 in number. Many of them have appeared in the “Proceedings of the U. S. National Museum” and are descriptive of new species and races of American birds, as well as several catalogues of North American and other birds contained in the museum. He was joint author with Spencer F. Baird and Thomas M. Brewer of “A History of North American Birds” (3 vols., Boston, 1874), and of “The Water Birds of North America” (2 vols., 1884), in which he wrote the technical parts. He is the author of “Report on Ornithology of the Fortieth Parallel” (Washington, 1877); “A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists” (Boston, 1886); and “Manual of North American Birds” (Philadelphia, 1887).