Charles Johnson Maynard

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Charles Johnson Maynard (May 6, 1845 – October 15, 1929) was an American naturalist and ornithologist born in Newton, Massachusetts. He was a collector, a taxidermist, and an expert on the vocal organs of birds. In addition to birds, he also studied mollusks, moss, gravestones and insects. He lived in the house at 459 Crafts Street in Newton, Massachusetts, built in 1897 and included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 as the Charles Maynard House.[1] The Charles Johnson Maynard Award is given out by the Newton Conservators, Inc.


Charles Johnson Maynard was born in Newton, Massachusetts on May 6, 1845. He left school at the age of 16 to help out on the family farm. His interests led him to taxidermy, and the collecting and dealing in specimens of natural history.

Maynard was the first editor of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the first such club in America, founded in 1873. However, he was forced to resign after he had avoided his duties in order to collect specimen during a trip. This roused the ire of his colleague Charles Foster Batchelder, who would later pay penance by compiling Maynard's extensive bibliography. Maynard died in Newton on October 15, 1929.

A subspecies of the Mangrove Cuckoo and White-eyed Vireo are named for him, as was the Ipswich Sparrow when it was considered a distinct species of the Savannah Sparrow. Maynard named the Caribbean subspecies of the Osprey, Pandion haliaetus ridgwayi, for another American ornithologist, Robert Ridgway

He published many books himself, unusual for the period because they contained color plates produced by a process that Maynard invented.

Selected publications[edit]

  • The naturalist's guide in collecting and preserving objects of natural history, with a complete catalogue of the birds of eastern Massachusetts (1870)
  • The birds of eastern North America (1881)
  • The naturalist's guide in collecting and preserving objects of natural history (1887)
  • A field ornithology of the birds of eastern North America (1916)
  • Directory to the birds of eastern North America, illustrated with many wood cuts and ... plates drawn and engraved by the author (1907)