William Beebe Fact File Biography: Lifespan: *** Full Name: Charles William Beebe *** Occupation: American Naturalist, Ornithologist, Marine Biologist, Entomologist, Author and Explorer *** Date of Birth: William Beebe was born on July 29th 1877 *** Place of Birth: William Beebe was born in Brooklyn, New York, America *** Family background: His father was Charles Beebe a newspaper executive *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in East Orange, New Jersey when his family moved there when he was quite young. It was around this time that he developed his interest in the natural world and began making notes of everything he saw *** Education: William Beebe attended East Orange High School followed by Columbia University *** William Beebe died on June 4, 1962
William Beebe Fact 1: William Beebe was born on July 29, 1877 and during the 19th century period in history when scientific discoveries were being made and innovations in mathematics, physics, biology, electricity and chemistry were moving very fast.
William Beebe Fact 2: In the year that he was born the American Museum of Nation History opened and would a place William Beebe visited often and was a huge influence on him.
William Beebe Fact 3: While he attended Columbia William Beebe studied under Henry Fairfield Osborn and the two developed a close friendship that would last many years.
William Beebe Fact 4: William Beebe would appeal to his tutors to sponsor him and a few fellow students on research trips to Nova Scotia.
William Beebe Fact 5: In 1899 he was offered a position at the New York Zoological Park and he accepted. He would become the assistant curator and in this role he was responsible for breeding and raising the rare bird in the zoo in order to try to maintain their population.
William Beebe Fact 6: Wishing to keep his birds in a happy and contented atmosphere, which in turn would help in the breeding program, he initiated the building of a “flying cage” approximately the size of a football pitch. He would get what he wanted but half the size.
William Beebe Fact 7: The following year he was promoted to that of full curator, a position he would hold up until 1918.
William Beebe Fact 8: William Beebe married Mary Blair Rice in August of 1902 and the couple spent their honeymoon in Nova Scotia. Mary was also a writer and would assist her husband on his trips.
William Beebe Fact 9: Having made several tips northwards, as a result of a cold he had contracted it was suggested he take a expeditionary trip to Florida in the hopes it would benefit his health.
William Beebe Fact 10: By 1903 he had published over thirty articles and submitted photographs.
William Beebe Fact 11: Later that year William Beebe was sent to Mexico in an effort to ward off contracting another throat problem.
William Beebe Fact 12: Although previously he had had no qualms about shooting birds for the purpose of examining them on the whole he stopped doing this with a mind to the conservation of wildlife.
William Beebe Fact 13: In 1906 William Beebe would donate his own personal collection of over 990 specimens to the zoo for research and educational purposes. For this kindness he was awarded a lifetime membership to New York Zoological Society and in that same year he was also elected as a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences.
William Beebe Fact 14: Anthony R Kuser would ask that he go on another world expedition to document pheasants across the globe. At first the zoo objected but eventually the agreed and Beebe and his wife left on their trip accompanied by Robert Bruce Horsefall who was to provide the drawings to accompany Beebe’s research.
William Beebe Fact 15: They began their journey in London where they collected their supplies and headed across the Mediterranean Sea to Egypt. From there they went to Ceylon, Calcutta and the Himalayas. From Calcutta they sailed on to Indonesia and then Singapore.
William Beebe Fact 16: From Singapore the expedition moved on to Sarawak and by this time the dispute between Beebe and Horsefall had reached its climax with Beebe dismissing Horsefall and sending him back to the U.S. while he and his wife continued to Java and from there on to Kuala Lumpur to being their exploration of Malaya before travelling on to Burma.
William Beebe Fact 17: The final stage of their journey took them to China and Japan before they finally headed home after a total of seventeen months away.William Beebe Fact 18: He would continue his work travelling the globe for decades to come. During World War I, as he was considered too old to actively serve, he was used to train American pilots.
William Beebe Fact 19: During his final years of work he was stationed in Trinidad having purchased Simla, a house and twenty two acres of land, it was not enough and proceeded to purchase a neighbouring estate increasing his holding to by one hundred and seventy acres, which he would bequeath to the New York Zoological Society.
William Beebe Fact 20: Having maintained an active life at eighty years of age he was still able to climb a tree, but by 1959 his general strength was starting to diminish.
William Beebe Fact 21: William Beebe died on June 4th 1962 of pneumonia at Simla aged eighty four years. His body was laid to rest in Mucapuro cemetery in Port of Spain as were his wishes.
Influence & Legacy of William Beebe: He would be recognized as the pioneer in an area of natural science as ecology and his means of analyzing organisms in small areas of wilderness would become a standard method. He was also a natural scientist that not only wrote for his profession but for public consumption as well.
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