Stimpson, William, 1832-1872

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Biographical History

Naturalist and zoologist, William Stimpson (1832-1872) spent four years as a naturalist with the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, 1852-1856. For nine years after the completion of the expedition, Stimpson utilized the facilities of the Smithsonian Institution while preparing a report based on the collections gathered during the expedition. While at the Smithsonian, he also helped classify and name specimens which the Smithsonian had been collecting. In 1865, Stimpson was called to Chicago by his friend Robert Kennicott in order to take over the directorship of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. At the Academy, Stimpson assembled probably the largest collection of specimens ever gathered up to that time, in preparation for a major work on invertebrates. It contained the Smithsonian specimens of American invertebrates and Stimpson's private collection, as well as loans from a number of other collections. This great collection, including all the manuscripts being prepared by Stimpson, was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871, an event from which Stimpson never fully recovered.

Related entities

Chicago Academy of Sciences: He was the director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

Birth Date


Death Date



  • Zoology
  • Naturalists


Personal name


  • Zoologists
  • Naturalists