Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/112
PROF. MORSE was born in Portland, Maine, in 1838. He had an early love of natural history, and at thirteen years of age he commenced a collection of shells and minerals. At the outset he made a specialty of shells, and in 1857 gave his first contribution to the Boston Society of Natural History. He attended school in Bethel, Maine, and while following the usual course of an academy took but little interest in the classics, but busied himself with the woods and streams, and during this time added many new and minute species of land-shells to science.
For several years he followed the profession of mechanical draughtsman in the locomotive-works in Portland; and he also drew on wood for a while in Boston, thus cultivating that remarkable gift of graphic illustration which has since been of such great use to him both in his scientific work and in his public lectures. In 1852 Mr. Morse became a special student of Prof. Agassiz, at the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Cambridge, where he remained until 1862, pursuing closely his biological work, but also attending the lectures of Wyman, Cook, and Lowell. While with Agassiz he became more especially interested in the study of the Brachiopoda, a class of salt-water bivalve creatures long regarded as mollusks, and of great interest in every aspect; for, although of a low animal type, no other class exhibits such an extensive range in time, geographical distribution, and depth of water. Prof. Morse's first paper on this subject was published in the "Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, 1862." In 1866 he removed to Salem, Massachusetts, where he still resides. Here he became one of the founders of the American Naturalist. In 1868 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1871 he received the honorary title of Doctor of Philosophy from Bowdoin College, in which institution he was Professor of Zoölogy and Comparative Anatomy for three years. In 1874 he was elected to one of the university lectureships at Harvard. In 1876 he became a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and the same year was elected Vice-President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the prosecution of his zoölogical investigations Prof. Morse has made many excursions, visiting the Bay of Fundy several times, and also the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina. Desirous of pushing his observations into regions but little examined, Prof. Morse last year went to Japan, for the purpose of dredging on the coast and searching for new specimens in his favorite lines of research. But the heathen of that remote region had the sagacity to detect the character of their visitor, and quickly secured his services, and set