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Eugene Pintard Bicknell

Eugene Pintard Bicknell was born at Riverdale-on-Hudson on September 23, 1859, the sixth son of Joseph Inglis Bicknell and Maria Theresa Pierrepont. He never went to college but was well-educated which was evident in his writing. Mr. Bicknell went into business at an early age, connecting himself with the financial firm of John Munroe & Co., where he eventually became a partner. On October 9, 1901 Eugene married Edith Babcock at Riverdale and together they had two daughters, Eleanor Franklin and Edith Evelyn. The same year as their marriage, they moved their home to Long Island where for a number of years Mr. Bicknell served as Vestryman of Trinity Church, Hewlett, and delegate to the Diocesan Convention.

Mr. Bicknell was interested in natural history from an early age. He was one of the few ornithologists of his time who used his field glass more than his gun and kept daily records of every species he observed. His thorough documentations of observed species were kept in his Riverdale diaries, though he also maintained a collection of local birds which were later presented to the Vassar Institute in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. During the spring and fall migration period, Mr. Bicknell would send a daily postcard to Dr. A.K. Fisher who lived about twenty miles north. In 1878, at the age of 18, Mr. Bicknell published his first technical paper, "Evidences of the Carolinian Fauna in the Lower Hudson Valley", appearing in the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club. The same year he was one of ten naturalists to organize the Linnaean Society of New York where he also served as president from 1879 to 1887. In 1882 this society published his "Review of the Summer Birds of Part of the Catskill Mountains." It was at that time he discovered Bicknell's Thrush, described by Ridgway in the 'Proceedings of the United States National Museum.'

Mr. Bicknell was the youngest founder of the American Ornithologists' Union and was elected temporary secretary of the first meeting. He was also appointed to the committees on Migration of Birds and on The European House Sparrow. The second year he was appointed a member of the original committee of Bird Protection and in 1885 became secretary of that committee.

Throughout Mr. Bicknell's life, he spent more and more time devoted to the study of botany which he focused on primarily after 1895. In 1880, Mr. Bicknell was elected a member of the Torrey Botanical Club and began contributing to the Club's bulletin the same year. In 1896, he became a member of the newly organized New York Botanical Garden and also the Philadelphia Botanical Club. Later, his extensive collections of plants along with his botanical books were presented to the New York Botanical Garden by Mrs. Bicknell.

Over his lifetime, Mr. Eugene Bicknell published contributions amounted to 26 titles and installments to ornithology and natural history and 74 on botanical subjects. Mr. Bicknell was known as a modest man who rarely attended scientific meetings or mingled with fellow naturalists. Though reserved, he maintained a kind disposition and was known to help younger students. Mr. Euegene Bicknell passed away on February 9, 1925.

To learn more about Eugene Pintard Bicknell, please visit: http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v043n02/p0143-p0149.pdf

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