Secondary Sources, Context, and Background

Life Sciences: Chronologies, Dictionaries, Directories, Encyclopedias, Handbooks

Dispersal of Darwin links

Contributions to a history of American state geological and natural history surveys, ed. and comp. by George P. Merrill. United States National Museum. Bulletin 109, 1920, 549 p. 
HathiTrust Version

Milner, R. 1990. Encyclopedia of Evolution. NY: Henry Holt, 483 pp. [Short articles about people, concepts & things, some with references; alphabetical arrangement]

Moore, R. 2001. Evolution in the Courtroom: A Reference Guide. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 381 pp.

Moore, R. and M. D. Decker. 2008. More than Darwin: an encyclopedia of the people and places of the evolution-creationism controversy. CT: Greenwood Press, 415 p.

Pengelley, E. T. & D. M. Pengelley. 1986. A Traveler's Guide to the History of Biology and Medicine. Davis, CA: Trevor Hill Press, 231 pp. Not at Harvard

Rieger, R., A. Michaelis & M. M. Green. 1976. A Glossary of Genetics and Cytogenetics. 4th ed. Berlin: Springer, 647 pp.

Romantic Natural History concerns relationships between literature and pre-1859 natural history. Includes: Romantic Natural History Timeline: 1750-1859.

Smith, R. C., W. M. Reid & A. E. Luchsinger. 1980. Smith's Guide to the Literature of the Life Sciences. 9th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess, 223 pp.

Tort, P., ed. 1996. Dictionnaire du darwinisme et de l'evolution. 3 v. Paris: Presses universitaires de France. [Many biographical sketches of naturalists]

Woodman, Neal, M. A. Jenkinson & M. S. Foster. 1994. Latin American Research Libraries in Natural History: A Survey. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: Council of Biology Editors, 261 pp.

Life Sciences: Guides to Sources (Primary and Secondary)

Browne, J. 1987. History of biology. Pp. 177-186 in Information Sources in the Life Sciences. 3rd ed. Ed. by H. V. Wyatt. London: Butterworths.

Thornton, J. L. & R. I. J. Tully. 1971. History and biography of biology. Pp. 311-330 in The Use of Biological Literature. 2nd ed. Ed. by R. T. Bottle & H. V. Wyatt. London: Butterworths.

Biographical Sources


Abbott, D. 1983. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists. Biologists. NY: Peter Bedrick, 182 pp.

Fox, D. M., M. Meldrum & I. Rezak. 1990. Nobel Laureates in Medicine or Physiology: A Biographical Dictionary. NY: Garland, 595 pp.

Freund, H. & A. Berg, ed. 1963-66. Geschichte der Mikroskopie: Leben und Werk grosser Forscher. 3 v. Frankfurt a. M.: Umschau.

v. 1. Biologie

Grinstein, L. S., C. A. Biermann, & R. K. Rose, eds. 1997. Women in the Biological Sciences: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 609 pp.

Biographical sketches of 65 women scientists, living and dead, worldwide, but mostly U.S. Each sketch has a list of publications by and about its subject.

Hansson, Hans.G. 1997. Biographical Etymology of Marine Organism Names (BEMON): (Biographies of Taxonomists working with Marine organisms & some of their presumed Friends)

Hirsch, G. C. 1928. Index biologorum; investigatores, laboratoria, periodica. Berlin, J. Springer, 545 pp.

Gives birth date (often), affiliation, and interests. Includes list of research institutions grouped by general subject. Under each subject listed by city and including address (often) and staff list.

Junker, T. 1996. Biographical register and index to correspondents. Pp. 223-266 in his Charles Darwins Briefwechsel mit deutschen Naturforschern: ein Kalendarium mit Inhaltsangaben, biographischem Register, und Bibliographie. (Acta biohistorica, 1). Marburg an der Lahn: Basilisken-Presse, 266 pp.

Brief biographical data.

Magill, F. N. 1991. The Nobel Prize Winners: Physiology or Medicine. 3 v. Pasadena, CA: Englewood Press.

Shearer, B. F. & B. S. Shearer, eds. 1996. Notable Women in the Life Sciences: a Biographical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 440 pp.

97 biographical sketches of women life scientists living and deceased, many with portraits.

Smith, C. H., J. Woleben, and C. Rodgers. 2005. Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists: Chrono-Biographical Sketches.

Brief biographies, life chronologies and references to secondary literature for over 280 persons.

Stieber, M. T. et al. 1987- . A Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists, Mostly Botanists, in the Collections of the Hunt Institute, Linnean Society of London, and the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève. Part 1- . Pittsburgh, PA: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. [Pt. 1: Group portraits, 1987; pt. 2: Individuals, A-D, 1988]

Life Sciences: Biography - National/regional Focus

Europe (Continental)

Capparoni, P. 1928, 1932. Profili bio-bibliografici di medici e naturalisti celebri italiani del sec. XV al sec. XVIII. 2 v. Rome: Istituto Naz. Medico Farmacologico "Serono". Not at Harvard; at Burndy.

Latin America

Burke, H. R. and P. A. Fryxell. 1995. Naturalists and their travels in Mexico: annotated bibliography and roster of natural history collectors. Contributions from the University of Michigan Herbarium, v. 20, pp. 37-128.


Babii, T. P. et al., eds. 1984. Biologi: biograficheskii spravochnik. Kiev: Nauk. dumka, 813 pp.

Köppen, F. P. 1907. Biographien solcher Schriftsteller (Naturforscher, Geographen, Statistiker, Reisender, Aerzte, etc.) welche über die Thierwelt, Jagd und Fischfang Russlands, bis zum Schlusse von 1885, gehandelt haben, und überhaupt solcher Autoren, deren Schriften im vorliegenden Werke verzeichnet sind. (In Köppen's Bibliotheca zoologica Rossica Bd. 2, Hlft. 1, pp. 43-239). St. Petersburg. [1098 names] Not at Harvard

United Kingdom and Ireland

Marren, P. 1995. Appendix 1: A new naturalist biography, pp. 245-268 in The New Naturalists. London: HarperCollins, 304 pp.

History of the New Naturalist Library series (published by Collins, 1945- ). Paragraph-long biographical sketches of authors, illustrators, etc.

Praeger, R. L. 1941. Some Irish Naturalists. Dundalk: W. Tempest, 208 pp. [12th - 20th centuries]

Thackray, J. 1995. Catalogue of Portraits, Paintings and Sculptures at the Natural History Museum. London: Mansell (Natural History Museum, Historical Studies of the Life and Earth Sciences, v. 3), 128 pp.

About 2/3 of the items are illustrated. Includes literature references about the items described and biographical information about the subjects of portraits.

United States/Canada

Barrow, M. V., Jr. 1992. A preliminary list of North American natural history dealers advertising in the Naturalists' Directory (1865-1905). Appendix (pp. 579-560) in Birds and Boundaries: Community, Practice, and Conservation in North American Ornithology, 1865-1935. Ph. D. Thesis, Harvard University. 2 v.

Includes locations and specialties. Also includes information from the periodicals: Oologist, Ornithologist and Oologist, and the Osprey.

Bonta, M. 1991. Women in the Field: Pioneering Women Naturalists. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 299 pp.

Burchsted, F. 2001. New England Naturalists: A Bio-Bibliography.

Clark, P. F. 1961. Pioneer Microbiologists of America. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 369 pp.

Short accounts of contributions and personal characteristics of individual researchers. Index of names and topics. 38 portrait photographs.

Ewan, J. 1955. San Francisco as a mecca for nineteenth-century naturalists; with a roster of biographical references to visitors and residents. Pp. 1-63 in A Century of Progress in the Natural Sciences, 1853-1953. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences.

Ewan, J. & N. D. Ewan. 1981. Biographical Dictionary of Rocky Mountain Naturalists: A Guide to the Writings and Collections of Botanists, Zoologists, Geologists, Artists and Photographers 1682-1932. (Regnum Vegetabile 107) Utrecht & Antwerp: Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema; The Hague/Boston: W. Junk, 253 pp.

Geiser, S.W. 1948. Naturalists of the Frontier. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 296 pp.

Eleven biographical sketches of naturalists working in Texas between 1820 and 1880.

The Naturalists' Directory [title varies], 1865-66, 1877- . Annual (irregular)

Includes names, addresses and interests for largely North American but some foreign naturalists. Early issues include astronomers, chemists, geologists, etc. Publication history in 3 periods: 1865-66, 1877-1936, 1937- .

Putnam, F., ed. 1866. Naturalists' Directory. Part II. North America and the West Indies. 2nd ed. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 84 pp.

Arranged by subject with name index. Part 2 issued, a few pages at a time, with the Proceedings of the Essex Institute. Additions, corrections, deceased, pp. 60-70, 83-84.


Putnam, F., ed. 1865. Naturalists' Directory. Part I. North America and the West Indies. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 31 pp. Duodecimo.

Putnam, F., ed. 1865. Naturalists' Directory. Part II. North America and the West Indies. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 20 pp.

Names in Part I listed under subjects. Part 2 issued with the Proceedings of the Essex Institute.

Cassino, S. E., ed. 1877-1936. The Naturalists' Directory. Salem, MA: The Naturalists' Agency, 1st-30th ed.

Sometimes titled: Scientists' International Directory, International Scientists' Directory.

1937- :
The Naturalists' Directory, 1937- . After Cassino's death (1937) issued by several editors and publishers.

Kisling, V. N., Jr. 1994. The "Naturalists' Directory" and the evolution of communication among American naturalists. Archives of Natural History, v. 21, no. 3, pp.393-406.

Oehser, P. H. 1938. A handlist of American naturalists, based on the Dictionary of American Biography. American Naturalist, v. 72, pp. 534-546. [For the 1st 20 v. only, not exhaustive]

Smith, C. H., J. Woleben, and C. Rodgers. 2005. Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists: Chrono-Biographical Sketches.

Sterling, K. B. et al., eds. 1997. Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 937 pp. [Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index]

Primary Sources

Periodical Indexes

Bibliographia Biotheoretica, 1925-1954
LOCATION: Museum Comp Zoology: REF Z 5320.B5

Berichte über die wissenschaftliche Biologie (1926-69) offers a classified arrangement with author and subject indexes.
LOCATION: Cabot Science: PER 2320 (1926-41, 1948-60)
LOCATION: Countway Medicine: Harvard Depository Serial (1926-1932, 1960-68)

Biologie-Dokumentation: Bibliographie der deutschen biologischen Zeitschriftenliteratur, 1796-1965.
LOCATION: Museum Comp Zoology | Ref. | QH307.2.A2 S33
LOCATION: Widener | WID-LC | QH307.2.Z99 S33 x

Zentralblatt für Zoologie, allgemeine und experimentelle Biologie (1910-1918) [title varies] provides abstracts, with an author index in each issue or for whole volume.
LOCATION: Countway Medicine: Serial (1910-1911) as Zentralblatt für allgemeine und experimentelle Biologie.
LOCATION: Countway Medicine: Serial (1912-1918)
LOCATION: Museum Comp Zoology: Ref QL1. Z88 1912-1918
LOCATION: Museum Comp Zoology: S-Z56.4 (1910) incomplete

Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte in der Lehre von den Gahrungs-Organismen (1890-1911) lists the literature of bacteriology.
LOCATION: Botany Farlow Library: 43 J252
LOCATION: Countway Medicine: Serial

Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte in der Lehre von den Pathogenen Mikroorganismen unfassend Bakterian, Pilze und Protozoeen (1885-1911) is a bibliography with summaries of selected articles and an author index.
LOCATION: Botany Farlow Library: 43 J253 : v.1-27 (1885-1911)
LOCATION: Countway Medicine: Serial
LOCATION: Museum Comp Zoology: S-J25.8 v.1-26 (1885-1910)

International Catalogue of Scientific Literature L. General Biology (1901-14). 14 v.

International Catalogue of Scientific Literature Q. Physiology (1901-14). 14 v.

International Catalogue of Scientific Literature R. Bacteriology (1901-14). 14 v.


Chalmers-Hunt, J. M. 1976. Natural History Auctions, 1700-1972: A Register of Sales in the British Isles. London: Sotheby, Parke Bernet, 189 pp.

Davis, P. & C. Brewer. 1986. A Catalogue of Natural Science Collections in North-East England, With Biographical Notes on the Collectors. Newcastle upon Tyne: The Hancock Museum, North of England Museums Service, 333 pp. Not at Harvard

Merrill, F. J. H. 1903. Natural history museums of the United States and Canada. Bulletin of the University of the State of New York no. 282; Bulletin of the New York State Museum no. 62, Miscellaneous, 1, 233 pp.
--Brief description of collection and staff (often just name of director) for each museum.

Sherborn, C. D. 1940. Where is the ---- Collection? An Account of the Various Natural History Collections which have Come to the Notice of the Compiler. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 148 pp.

Wiktor, J. 1991. Bibliography of Catalogues of Type Specimens in World's Zoological and Palaeozoological Collections. (Prace zoologiczne, 22). Wroclaw: Wroclaw University Press, 308 pp.