|Frederic Ward Putnam|
Frederic Ward Putnam
|Fields||naturalist and anthropology|
|Doctoral advisor||Louis Agassiz|
Putnam was born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts. He took his college studies at the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University. He also served as the student of Louis Agassiz at the Museum of Comparative Zoology which was also part of Harvard.
Putnam's early work as a naturalist was done with fellow students he had first met while studying under Agassiz, Edward Sylvester Morse, A. S. Packard and Alpheus Hyatt. These four were later the founders of the American Naturalist.
Putnam studied both natural history and North American archeology. Among other projects Putnam did an archaeological survey of Ohio from 1880-1895.
In 1874 Putnam became the curator of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University from 1874 to 1909. He directed archæological digs across 37 U.S. states and in other countries.
He published List of the Birds of Essex County (1856), originated The Naturalist's Directory (1865), and was one of the founders of the journal American Naturalist in 1867.
Putnam was appointed the lead curator and head of the anthropology department in 1891 for the World's Columbian Exposition, to be held in Chicago in 1893. He spent much of the two years leading up to the exposition organizing and directing expeditions dispatched to all parts of the Americas and other parts of the world to gather natural history and ethnographic items for the exhibition. As the exposition was drawing to a close, Putnam agitated for a permanent home to be found for the collection of artifacts amassed under his supervision. Late in 1893 what was to become the Field Museum of Natural History was incorporated, opening the following year. Putnam held hopes of becoming the museum's first director but was unsuccessful.
Putnam was also active in professional organizations, which were rapidly organizing. In 1898 he was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1901 he was president of the American Folklore Society. In 1905 he was president of the American Anthropological Association. He was invited to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of many foreign learned societies.
Putnam is widely known as the "Father of American Archaeology" for his contribution of scientific methods and direction of many of the nascent field's best students.
U.S. ichthyologist (1839-1915)