Isaac Lea

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For the English footballer, see Isaac Lea (footballer).
Isaac Lea
Issac Lea.jpg
Isaac Lea
Born (1792-03-04)March 4, 1792
Wilmington, Delaware
Died December 8, 1886(1886-12-08) (aged 94)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[1]
Nationality American

Isaac Lea (March 4, 1792 – December 8, 1886) was an American conchologist, geologist, and businessman, who was born in Wilmington, Delaware.[2]


Lea was a partner of a large publishing house in Philadelphia.[2] He devoted his leisure time to the collection and study of objects of natural history.[2] He was especially interested in freshwater and land mollusks, and for 50 years he made contributions to the transactions of the scientific societies of Philadelphia concerning these animals.[2]

His immense collection of freshwater mussels from the family Unionidae,[3] and his other collections, are deposited in the National Museum at Washington.[2]

He was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1860.[4]


On March 8, 1821, Isaac married Frances Anne Carey (1799–1873), daughter of Mathew Carey, the Philadelphia publisher. His son, Henry Charles Lea (September 19, 1825 - October 24, 1909) was an American historian, civic reformer, and political activist in Philadelphia.


His publications included:

  • (1827-1874). Observations on the Genus Unio. 13 volumes.
  • (1833). Contributions to Geology
  • (1838). Synopsis of the Family of Naiades
  • Lea I. (1838). "Description of New Freshwater and Land Shells". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 6: 1–154.
  • (1852). Fossil Footmarks in the Red Sandstones of Pottsville

Molluscan taxa named by Lea include:


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e New International Encyclopedia
  3. ^ "Isaac Lea Papers, 1832-1876". SIA RU007065. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Baltzell, E. Digby (1958). Philadelphia Gentlemen. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press. p. 149. "Lea's intellectual and scientific interests led him to the presidency of both the American Academy of Natural Sciences (1858-1863), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1860), and the vice-presidency of the American Philosophical Society." 

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