Charles Haskins Townsend

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Charles Haskins Townsend
Charles Haskins Townsend - journal.pone.0034905.g026-cropped.png
BornSeptember 29, 1859 (1859-09-29)
DiedJanuary 28, 1944 (1944-01-29) (aged 84)
Alma materAcademy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
Spouse(s)Ella Townsend, nee Bean, (1854–1935)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Fish Commission
New York Aquarium

Charles Haskins Townsend (September 29, 1859 – January 28, 1944) was an American zoologist and naturalist who served as the director of the New York Aquarium, from 1902 to 1937.

Early life[edit]

The son of the Reverend Daniel W. Townsend and Elizabeth Townsend, née Kier, he was born in Parnassus, Pennsylvania,[1] and educated in public and private schools.[2] He was a graduate of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.[3] He subsequently worked at the Smithsonian Institution.[3]


In 1883, he became assistant United States Fish Commissioner in charge of salmon propagation in California. For a time, he was in charge of deep-sea explorations on the USS Albatross.[4] From 1897 to 1902, he served as chief of the Fish Commission's fisheries division. He then served as director of the New York Aquarium at Castle Garden, from 1902 until his retirement in 1937.[1]

Memberships and honors[edit]

In 1902 Townsend was an expert before the Russo-American fisheries arbitration at The Hague.[1] In 1912-13 he was president of the American Fisheries Society.[1] He was elected a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences.[1]

He is commemorated in the names of Townsend's shearwater and the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctophoca townsendi).

He is also commemorated in the scientific names of three species of reptiles: Amphisbaena townsendi, Anolis townsendi, and Sphaerodactylus townsendi.[5]


He wrote extensively on fisheries, whaling, fur seals, deep-sea exploration and zoology, including ornithology and herpetology. With Hugh McCormick Smith he wrote The Pacific Salmons section of Trout and Salmon (New York: Macmillan, 1902), a volume of Caspar Whitney's prestigious American Sportsman's Library.[6]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Report of the Cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer 'Corwin' in the Arctic Ocean in 1885 (1887)
  • Porpoise in Captivity (1914)
  • The Public Aquarium: Its Construction, Equipment and Management (1928)
  • Guide to the New York Aquarium (1937)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Townsend, Charles Haskins" in Who Was Who in America: Science and Technology. (1976). Marquis Who's Who. p. 610.
  2. ^ Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Townsend, Charles Haskins" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  3. ^ a b "The South Seas - C.H. Townsend to Speak on That Subject," The Evening Republican, Meadville, PA., p. 2, Friday, May 29, 1903
  4. ^ Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Deep-Sea Exploration" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Townsend", p. 267).
  6. ^ Sage, Dean; Townsend, Charles Haskins; Smith, Hugh Mccormick; Harris, William Charles (1902). "The Pacific Salmons by C. H. Townsend and H. M. Smith". In: Salmon and Trout.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]