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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Edward Alphonso Goldman

Edward A. Goldman was born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, on July 7, 1873 to Jacob H. and Laura C. Goltman (later changed to Goldman). At the age of fifteen, his family moved to a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley near Alila, Tulane County, California. His interest in natural history came from his father, who was an amateur naturalist and collector. When Goldman was 17, he accepted a job as a foreman of a vineyard near Fresno, California. While away, a traveling naturalist, Edward W. Nelson made acquaintance with Goldman's father, Jacob. Conversation soon turned to their mutual interest of natural history when Jacob learned that Edward was searching for an assistant. Jacob suggested his son Edward for the job and when Edward returned soon-after to his father's ranch for a "size-up," Nelson hired him. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and collegiate relationship between Edward Nelson and Edward Goldman.

Goldman began collecting for the Biological Survey in 1891, and 1982 he traveled to Mexico as an assistant of Edward W. Nelson. He and Nelson traveled to all of the regions of Mexico and Guatemala over 14 a year period to collect birds, mammals, and reptiles. In 1910, Goldman surveyed the Panama Canal, while the canal was being constructed. Later, in 1918, he served in the Sanitary Corps of the Army during World War I in France, with the task of preventing the destruction of food and other supplies by rats.

When Goldman returned to Washington continued working for the Biological Survey and was in charge of biological investigations from 1919 to 1925, and later as chief of the division of game reservations from 1925 to 1928. He became a senior biologist in the Division of Wilderness Research, working there until 1940. In 1944, he was named honorary associate in zoology at the Smithsonian Institution, and officially retired. At the end of his life he was writing about his experiences with Nelson in Mexico.

One of Goldman's greatest life accomplishments was his important role in negotiating a treaty with Mexico to protect migrating birds and game mammals. The treaty was completed on February 7, 1936, and he was recognized by Mexicans as an authority on their fauna.

Edward was a member of the American Ornithologists' Union, the Cooper Ornithological Club, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Mammalogists (of which he was president when he died), the Biological Society of Washington of which he served as president for a time, the Washington Academy of Sciences, and Baird Ornithological Club. He also wrote a memorial of his early mentor, E. W. Nelson. Nelson had described a new genus of hummingbird in 1911, Goldmania, naming it in honor of Edward. Over fifty mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, and mollusks were named for him.

Edward died on September 2, 1946, in Washington, D.C.

Resources for this biography include:
Young, S. P. 1947. Edward Alphonso Goldman: 1873- 1946. The Journal of Mammalogy, 28(2): 91-109.
Perry, M. "Edward Alphonso Goldman." Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Web. 31 Dec 2014.
Smith, C.H. 2005. "Edward Alphonso Goldman." Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists: Chrono-Biographical Sketches. Web. 31 Dec 2014.

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