Humphrey, Philip Strong, 1926-

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Biographical History

Philip Strong Humphrey was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, on February 26, 1926. Humphrey grew up in Litchfield, Connecticut, and early on developed an interest in birds. He attended Amherst College where he studied biology, and later at the University of Michigan with Jocelyn Van Tyne and earned his masters and Ph.D. A major interest was the systematics of waterfowl. He married Mary Louise Countryman in 1946. Humphrey was assistant curator of ornithology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History (1957-1962) and assistant professor of zoology at Yale; curator of birds at National Museum of Natural History (1962-1967) and eventually chairman of the Department of Vertebrate Zoology. He led the Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program. In 1967, Phil left NMNH to become the director of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas and as chair and professor in the Department of Zoology. Phil retired in 1995. Humphrey died in Lawrence, Kansas, on 13 November 2009.


  • Library of Congress. NACO. Control Number: n 79139611
  • Lovejoy, Thomas E. (2012). “In Memoriam: Philip Strong Humphrey, 1926–2009.” The Auk. 129 (4). Retrieved on September 16, 2013 from

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