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Author Epstein, Marc E., author

Title Moths, myths, and mosquitoes : the eccentric life of Harrison Dyar / Marc Epstein
Published Oxford [UK] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2016
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource
Series Studies in Early Modern European History MUP
Studies in Early Modern European History MUP
Contents Cover; Moths, Myths, and Mosquitoes; Copyright; Dedication; Contents; List of Figures; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Maps; Part I. Preparatory Stages; 1. The Dyars and the Hannums: 1805-1875; The Hannums and President Lincoln; Marriage to Eleonora Hannum, Birth of Dyar, Jr., and Death of Dyar, Sr.; 2. Dyar, Jr.: Early Growth Stages and Development: 1875-1889; Life in Boston: School, Mother, and Future Wife; 3. Collecting and Rearing Lepidoptera, and Dyar's Law: 1882-1891; Collecting and the Catalogue; Early Mentors and Publications; Dyar's Law of Geometric Growth
12. Literature Wars and Last Battles with Smith: 1904-1911Battles with Mosquito Workers and the Mitchell Lawsuit; Last Battles with Smith; 13. Gains and Losses as a Professional Lepidopterist: 1907-1914; Paid Positions and Problems with Doctor Barnes; Part III. Scandal, Divorces, and Their Aftermath; 14. Wellesca's Bahá'í Faith, New Wealth, and Growing Concerns by Zella as Dyar's Life Begins to Unravel: 1906-1908; Involvement with Dyar in Washington Real Estate and Loans to George F. Pollock; Zella's Ultimatum and Return of the Stones from 'Abdu'l Bahá; Dyar's Decline in Collecting
15. Marriage Troubles: 1909-191316. The Separation: 1914-1915; 17. Divorce Wrangling in Reno: 1915; "A Fool and His Friend"; 18. Divorces, Appeals, and Bigamy: 1916-1921; Dyar v. Dyar; Allen v. Allen; Wellesca's Fictional Marriage and Fictional Divorce; Bigamy: An Allen Marriage Rather Than a Dyar Divorce; Invention of an Alter Ego: Wilfred P. Allen; 19. After the Scandal, Dismissal, and Friend Knab: 1917-1918; Recovering from Breakdown in Connecticut; Dyar's Partnership with Frederick Knab; Part IV. The Final Decade: Attempts at Reinstatement
4. Long Collecting Trips and Sawflies: 1889-1897The Fifteen-Month Trip; Sawflies: A Nine-Year Interlude; 5. Postgraduate Education on Classification of Moths and Bacteria at Columbia: 1892-1895; Neumoegen and the Myth of the Name "Dyaria"; Reclassification of Lepidoptera; Talks on Lepidoptera Classification; Doctorate in Bacteriology; 6. Genealogy of the Limacodidae and the Dyars; The New York Slug Caterpillars; Dyar's Genealogy and Connection with the Hannums; 7. Last Days in New York, L.O. Howard, and a Move to the U.S. National Museum; L.O. Howard and Bringing Dyar to Washington
Part II. Beginning a New Life at the USNM and in Washington 8. Life in the District of Columbia and Wellesca Pollock; Stony Man and Wellesca Pollock; Zella Dyar, Her Mother, and Place in Washington Society; 9. Beginning a Career Building the National Collection of Lepidoptera; Dyar's "List" and Expanded Lepidoptera Interests; Dyar Joins the Entomological Society of Washington; 10. Battle of the Titans Smith and Dyar, and Their New Love-the "Skeets"; Battles between Dyar and Smith; Dyar and Smith's Rule of the Mosquitoes; 11. Collecting and Travels: 1898-1909
Summary "Known for years by Washington, D.C. history buffs and entomologists as an eccentric's eccentric for his underground tunnels, bigamy, and fighting with colleagues, it is oft forgotten that Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr. was a world-class scientist from 1890s until his death. His contributions to the understanding of evolution, classification, and the biology of moths, mosquitoes and primitive wasps have stood the test of time, as have his underappreciated contributions to building the national collections of these insects at the Smithsonian Institution"-- Provided by publisher
"On September 26, 1924, the ground collapsed beneath a truck in a back alley in Washington, D.C., revealing a mysterious underground labyrinth. In spite of wild speculations, the tunnel was not the work of German spies, but rather an aging, eccentric Smithsonian scientist named Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr. While Dyar's covert tunneling habits may seem far-fetched, they were merely one of many oddities in Dyar's unbelievable life. For the first time, insect biosystemist Marc E. Epstein presents a complete account of Dyar's life story. Dyar, one of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, focused his entomological career on building natural classifications of various groups of insects. His revolutionary approach to taxonomy, which examined both larval and adult stages of insects, brought about major changes in the scientific community's understanding of natural relationships and insect systematics. He was also the father of what came to be known as Dyar's Law, a pragmatic method to standardize information on insect larval stages as they grow. Over the course of his illustrious career at the U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Institution from 1897-1929, Dyar named over 3,000 species, established the "List of North American Lepidoptera," an unrivaled catalog of moths and butterflies, and built one of the nation's premier lepidoptera and mosquito collections. However, Dyar's scientific accomplishments are a mere component of this remarkable biography. Epstein offers an account of Dyar's complicated personal life, from his feuds with fellow entomologists to the scandalous revelation that he was married to two wives at the same time. Epstein also chronicles Dyar's exploration of the Baha'i faith, his extensive travels, his innumerable works of unpublished fiction, and the loss of his wealth from bad investments. Comprehensive and engaging, Moths, Myths, and Mosquitoes will delight entomologists and historians alike, as well as anyone interested in exploring the zany life of one of America's virtually unknown scientific geniuses"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Dyar, Harrison G. (Harrison Gray), 1866-1929.
Entomologists -- United States -- Biography.
Lepidoptera -- Catalogs and collections.
Genre/Form Biography.
Catalogs and collections.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0190215267 (electronic bk)
9780190215262 (electronic bk)