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Like most American naturalists born during the first half of the nineteenth century, Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1829-1887) was fascinated with all living creatures from boyhood, and, like many others, he enriched his early proclivities by studying medicine. He worked in Cleveland under J. P. Kirtland and then in Albany, where he came under the tutelage of James Hall, of the Geological Survey of New York. Hall sent him on his first collecting trip in the summer of 1853. Showing the independence for which he became famous, Hayden broke with Hall, however, and with the encouragement of S. F. Baird, and partial sponsorship from the Smithsonian Institution, he spent the remainder of the 1850s on a series of exploring and collecting expeditions to the Upper Missouri River. During the 1860s and 1870s he gained renown as a geologist, in particular as director of the Survey of the Territories, but he never lost his broader interests in natural history. Both his writings and the unique collections he himself made illustrate his catholic curiosity. More important to natural history were the voluminous publications he sponsored through his Survey, which stimulated specialized research on an encyclopedic range of subjects.
American Zoologist © 1986 Oxford University Press