Heller, Edmund, 1875-1939

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Biographical History

Edmund Heller (1875-1939) was born on May 21st, in Freeport, Illinois, and later moved to California where he entered Stanford University in 1896. During his stay at Stanford, Heller collected natural history specimens in the Galapagos Islands and was employed by the Bureau of Biological Survey, United States Department of Agriculture, as an assistant in Alaska. Following his graduation, Heller joined the Field Columbian Museum as a field collector and worked the western United States and parts of Central America and Mexico. In 1907, he accompanied Carl Ethan Akeley on the Field Museum's African expedition. On his return, he was appointed Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology of the University of California and participated in the 1908 Alexander Alaska Expedition. Heller's connection with the Smithsonian began in 1909 when he was chosen as naturalist for large mammals on the Smithsonian African Expedition under the command of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. On his return he co-authored Life Histories of African Game Animals with Roosevelt and also published many scientific papers. Heller also accompanied the Rainey African Expedition of 1911-1912 for the Smithsonian and led the Smithsonian Cape-to-Cairo Expedition of 1919-1920. In addition to his Smithsonian expeditions, Heller also participated in explorations in Alaska with the Biological Survey, in Peru with Yale University and the National Geographic Society, in China with the American Museum of Natural History, and in Russia with Paul J. Rainey, official photographer to the Czech army in Siberia. Following his return from the Cape-to-Cairo Expedition, Heller briefly worked for the Roosevelt Wild Life Experiment Station and was then appointed Assistant Curator of Mammals at the Field Museum. While there, he made collecting trips to Peru and Africa. Heller was Director of the Milwaukee Zoological Garden from 1928 to 1935 and Director of the Fleishhacker Zoo in San Francisco from 1935 until his death.

Related entities

  • Smithsonian Institution: He participated in multiple collecting trips for Smithsonian Institution.
  • American Museum of Natural History: He participated in multiple expeditions of the AMNH.

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