PAUL HENRY OEHSER

Photo of Paul Oehser

Paul was born in Cherry Creek, New York. He went to Greenville College in Illinois and graduated in 1925. He married Grace Edgbert and they raised two sons, Richard and Gordon.

In 1925, Paul moved to Washington to work as an assistant scientific editor for the Bureau of Biological Survey for the Agriculture Department. He worked in the editorial division of the Smithsonian Institution starting in the early 1930s and became director of the Editorial and Publications Division in 1950. From 1951 to 1966, he also served as public relations officer at the Smithsonian. He retired from that position in 1966, but worked as editor of scientific reports for the National Geographic Society until 1975.

Paul was a member of the Literary Society and the Thoreau Society as well as serving on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society. For the Cosmos Club, he was secretary, editor of the bulletin, and president at various points.

Sons of Science: The Story of the Smithsonian Institution and Its Leaders and The Smithsonian Institution, both history books, were written by him. He also wrote two books of poetry, Fifty Poems and The Witch of Scrapfaggot Green.

He was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1949 and served as president from 1964 to 1967. He was awarded an honorary membership in 1984.

Paul died of a stroke on December 4, 1996, in Boone, North Carolina.