The Father of Entomology
It was on this day in 1787 that the naturalist Thomas Say was born.
Say was born to a Quaker family and was a relative of the Bartrams.
Say grew up making frequent visits to their botanic garden on the banks of the Schuylkill River
Say was one of the first naturalists in the United States to advocate for the naming and describing of native flora and fauna. Before Say's time, plant and animal specimens were sent to Europe for identification. The long sea voyage took a toll on specimens and there were often identification errors as a result.
Say's specialty was entomology and Say is often considered to be the father of descriptive entomology in the United States.
Say died from typhoid fever on the 10th of October in 1834, at the age of 47. His long obituary ended with these words:
"On the 8th, the hopes of his friends were flattered by a deceitful calm.
On the day following, these hopes for chilled;
He appeared sinking under debility when on the 10th, death came over him like a summer cloud.
He met the embrace as the weary traveler falls into the arms of restoring sleep.
Intellect triumphed to the last hour.
He left his wife directions as to his Library and Cabinet of Natural History."