Orcutt, Charles Russell, 1864-1929

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Biographical History

Charles Russell Orcutt (1864-1929) was a collector of natural history specimens and publisher of scientific journals. Orcutt was born in 1864 in Hartland, Vermont. His father was a horticulturalist and often read professional plant journals and sometimes contributed articles for publication. In 1879, Charles Orcutt moved to San Diego and at the age of 18 he went on his first trip to the Baja region of California. In the following years he accompanied his father and other local naturalists on expeditions and began collecting specimens of his own. His primary biological interests were malacology and botany, and dictated much of his later scientific work. He also took great interest in writing and in 1884, at the age of twenty, began to write and publish the first of several of his own scientific journal “The West American Scientist.” Orcutt married Olive E. Eddy, a young doctor from Michigan, in 1892. The couple had four children. During much of his life, Orcutt was continuously in the field collecting specimens. He traveled extensively in Baja California, Mexico, and Central America. By 1927, Charles Orcutt had moved from San Diego to Jamaica. He collected large amounts of specimens and began sending them to museums, especially the Smithsonian Institution’s United States National Museum. After spending seven months in the region, he was given funding to travel to Haiti to collect. During his stay in Haiti he fell ill while he was staying with an American embassy official. He died the morning of August 25, 1929.


Bullard, Anne D. (1994) Charles Russell Orcutt: Pioneer naturalist. The Journal of San Diego History. Vol. 40. Retrieved from http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/94winter/orcutt.htm

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  • Malacologists
  • Botany


Personal name


  • Botanists
  • Malacologists