WILFRED HUDSON OSGOOD

Photo of Wilfred Osgood

Wilfred was born on December 8, 1875, in Rochester, New Hampshire. He studied at Stanford University and received his AB degree in 1899, and then earned a PhD degree from the University of Chicago in 1918.

In 1897, Wilfred began his career as a naturalist working as a biologist in the United States Department of Agriculture, and continued in this work until 1909. Specifically, he was in charge of the United States biological investigation in Canada from 1899 to 1909. In 1909, Wilfred moved on to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, holding the position of assistant curator of mammalogy and ornithology until 1921, and then became the curator of zoology until he retired in 1940.

Wilfred conducted biological explorations and surveys of many areas of North and South America, including Canada, Alaska, many parts of the contiguous United States, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia and Indo-China. He spent three separate years (1906, 1910, and 1930) studying in European museums, and in 1914, Wilfred was a special investigator dealing with a fur-seal study. Wilfred led the Field Museum Abyssinian Expedition from 1926 to 1927 and the Magellanic Expedition from 1939 to 1940.

Wilfred was a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and of the American Ornithologists' Union. He founded and became the first president of Cooper Ornithology Club of California, was secretary of the Biological Society of Washington (1900-09), a corresponding member of the London Zoological Society and the British Ornithologists' Union, a member (president 1924-26) of the American Society of Mammalogists, a member and trustee of the Chicago Zoological Society, an associate member of the Boone and Crocket Club, a member of the Geographic Society of Chicago, and a member of the biology division of the National Research Council from 1919 to 1920.

Wilfred’s first publication was Revision of pocket mice of the genus Perognathus (1900). Other publications included a Revision of mice of American genus Peromyscus (1909), Biological investigations Alaska and Yukon (1909), joint authorship of Fur Seals of Pribilof Islands (1915), Monographic study of Caenolestes (1921), Mammals of Asiatic Expeditions (1932), joint authorship of Artist and naturalist in Ethiopia (1936), and Mammals of Chile (1943). In addition to these, he authored over 180 shorter papers on classification, anatomy, and habits of mammals and birds, as well as contributing zoological definitions to Webster’s New International Dictionary. Many mammals were named for him.

Wilfred was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1901, served as president in 1904 to 1906, and was awarded an honorary membership in 1918.

Wilfred died a bachelor on June 20, 1947.