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Henry S. Fitch

henry's fitch sk ink volume 8, henry's company
Henry Sheldon Fitch December 25, 1909 – September 8, 2009 was an American herpetologist

Fitch was born in Utica, New York When he was a year old, the family moved to Medford in the Rogue Valley in Oregon Growing up, he had a keen interest in all the reptiles he could find on his father's 116 acre 05 km² ranch He recounts that he especially liked snakes, because "the real bonus was in seeing horrified adults scatter"

In 1926, he enrolled at the University of Oregon, but switched to UC Berkeley for his graduate work He obtained his MA in 1933 and a PhD in zoology in 1937 From 1938 to 1947, he worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS as a field biologist in the department of pest control, studying rodents such as squirrels, gophers, and kangaroo rats

He served from 1941 to 1945 in the Medical Corps as an army pharmacist, stationed initially in the United Kingdom, then France, and finally in Germany In 1946, he married Virginia Ruby Preston, with whom he had three children In 1948, Fitch accepted a position as Superintendent of the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation and instructor of zoology, where he could again pursue his studies of snakes and lizards He became assistant professor in 1949 and full professor in 1958

From 1965 on, he did extensive field work in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic In 1976, he took up field work in Nicaragua and succeeded in getting a five-year-plan for Ctenosaura conservation, which was instituted in the 1980s He retired in 1980, but was still an active herpetologist as of 2006, collecting snakes and publishing papers

On September 8, 2009 he died in the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Stillwater, Oklahoma


  1. ^ Duellman, William E 2009 "A monument to natural history - Henry S Fitch 1900-2009 : Obituary" PDF Phyllomedusa 8 2: 75–79 doi:1011606/issn2316-9079v8i2p75-79 Retrieved 19 January 2016 
  • Henry S Fitch; Alice Fitch Echelle; Margaret M Stewart 2000 "Historical Perspective: Henry S Fitch" Copeia 2000 3: 891–900 JSTOR 1448368 
  • "Henry S Fitch 1909–2009: Field Notes on a Wonderful Life" PDF Herpetological Review 40 4: 393–400 2009 
  • Duellman, William E 1984 "Henry S Fitch in Perspective" In R A Seigel, L E Hunt, J L Knight, L Maleret, and N L Zuschlag Vertebrate Ecology and Systematics: A Tribute to Henry S Fitch Special Publications of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter link

External links

  • Works by Henry Sheldon Fitch at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Henry S Fitch at Internet Archive

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