Alexander Grant Ruthven

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Ruthven from 1951 Michiganensian

Alexander Grant Ruthven (1882-1971) was the President of the University of Michigan from 1929 to 1951.[1]


Ruthven from 1948 Michiganensian
Ruthven grave

Alexander Grant Ruthven was born in 1882 in Hull, Iowa. He graduated from Morningside College in 1903.[2] In 1906, he received a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Michigan.[3] He worked as a professor, director of the University Museum, and Dean.[3] He became the President in 1929.[3] As such, he promoted a corporate administrative structure.[1][3] He also approved of police raids against bootleggers at fraternities.[4] He retired in 1951,[3] and died in 1971.[1] He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery which is adjacent to the university.[5]

The work of Ruthven on the familiar Garter Snakes, published in 1908, may be regarded as founding an essentially new school of herpetology in the United States. This was a revision of a genus, carried out by the examination of large numbers of specimens, and evaluated largely in geographic terms. Ruthven attracted many students of reptiles to the University of Michigan, his most brilliant pupils being Frank N. Blanchard and Helen T. Gaige.[6]


Primary sources[edit]

  • Miscellaneous Papers on the Zoology of Michigan, W.H. Crawford Co., 1916
  • A Naturalist in a University Museum, 1931
  • Laboratory Directions in Principles of Animal Biology, by Aaron Franklin Shull, George Roger Larue, Alexander Grant Ruthven, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc, 1942
  • Naturalist in Two Worlds. Random Recollections of a University President, 1963
  • The Herpetology of Michigan
  • Description of a New Salamander from Iowa
  • Variations and Genetic Relationships of the Garter-Snakes
  • The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Columbia, etc. With map

Secondary sources[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Medicine at Michigan
  2. ^ University of Michigan Bulletin:1929. University of Michigan. 1929. p. 46. 
  3. ^ a b c d e The Michigan Saga
  4. ^ Time
  5. ^
  6. ^ Schmidt, K.P. and D.D. Davis. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. 1941. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York