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George Brown Goode

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George Brown Goode
Born(1851-02-13)February 13, 1851
DiedWashington, D.C., U.S.
September 6, 1896(1896-09-06) (aged 45)
Resting placeOak Hill Cemetery
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationHarvard University
Alma materWesleyan University
Scientific career
FieldsIchthyology, museology
InstitutionsBiological Society of Washington, Smithsonian Institution

George Brown Goode (February 13, 1851 – September 6, 1896), was an American ichthyologist and museum administrator.

Early life and family[edit]

George Brown Goode was born February 13, 1851, in New Albany, Indiana, to Francis Collier Goode and Sarah Woodruff Crane Goode. He spent his childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio and Amenia, New York. He married Sarah Ford Judd on November 29, 1877. She was the daughter of Orange Judd, a prominent agricultural writer. Together, they had four children: Margaret Judd, Kenneth Mackarness, Francis Collier, and Philip Burwell.[1] He graduated from Wesleyan University and studied at Harvard University.[2]

In addition to his scientific publications, Goode wrote Virginia Cousins: A Study of the Ancestry and Posterity of John Goode of Whitbywhere he traced his ancestry back to John Goode, a 17th-century colonist from Whitby.[1]


In 1872, Goode started working with Spencer Baird, soon becoming his trusted assistant. While working with Baird, Goode led research sponsored by the United States Fish Commission, and oversaw many Smithsonian displays and exhibitions, for the museum itself and for expositions around the world; Goode's first of these were the preparations for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, for which the Smithsonian was responsible for all the government displays. He also served as the assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the United States National Museum.

Goode effectively ran both the fish research program of the U.S. Fish Commission and the Smithsonian Institution from 1873 to 1887. He was the United States Commissioner for Fish and Fisheries from 1887 to 1888. He authored many books and monographs and wrote more than 100 scientific reports and notes.[3]

Grave of Goode at Oak Hill Cemetery

Goode was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.[4][5][6] He received from the Queen Regent of Spain the decoration of Commander in the Order of Isabella the Catholic. He also was awarded the degree of Ph.D. from Indiana University and that of LL.D. from Wesleyan University.[7] In 1893, he served as president of the Philosophical Society of Washington.[8] He died at Lanier Heights in Washington, D.C., on September 6, 1896, at the age of only 45, after a bout with pneumonia. He had been at work on a history of the Smithsonian's first fifty years, which were being celebrated in 1896. The then head of the Smithsonian, Samuel Pierpont Langley, completed the volume and wrote a memorial to Goode, published in 1901.[9] He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C.[10]


The genus Goodea of splitfins was named in his honour by David Starr Jordan in 1880; this in turn gave his name to the family Goodeidae.[11]

Species named after him include:


Ichthyology and fisheries
  • Goode, George Brown, & Tarleton Hoffman Bean. "Oceanic Ichthyology, A Treatise on the Deep-Sea and Pelagic Fishes of the World, Based Chiefly upon the Collections Made by the Steamers Blake, Albatross, and Fish Hawk in the Northwestern Atlantic (Washington, 1896)". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 5 November 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, 7 volumes. (Washington, 1884–1887)
  • American Fishes; a Popular Treatise upon the Game and Food Fishes of North America, with Especial Reference to Habits and Methods of Capture (New York, 1888)[13]
  • "Museum-History and Museums of History"
  • "The Museums of the Future"
  • "The Principles of Museum Administration"

(All are available in A Memorial of George Brown Goode)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Goode, George Brown (1887). Virginia Cousins: A Study on the Ancestry and Posterity of John Goode of Whitby, a Virginia Colonist of the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, Virginia: J.W. Randolph & English. ISBN 9780806351735.
  2. ^ "Britannica Academic".
  3. ^ "NOAA 200th Top Tens: History Makers: George Brown Goode".
  4. ^ "G. Brown Goode". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 2024-04-11.
  5. ^ "George Brown Goode | American Academy of Arts and Sciences". www.amacad.org. 2023-02-09. Retrieved 2024-04-11.
  6. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2024-04-11.
  7. ^ "History of New Albany, (Floyd County) Indiana United States of America". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  8. ^ "Past Presidents". PSW Science. Retrieved 2022-06-22.
  9. ^ Langley, Samuel P. (1901). A Memorial of George Brown Goode: together with a selection of his papers on museums and on the history of science in America. (Washington: Government Printing Office)
  10. ^ "Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, D.C. (Van Ness) - Lot 209 East" (PDF). Oak Hill Cemetery. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-03-02. Retrieved 2022-08-17.
  11. ^ Christopher Scharpf; Kenneth J. Lazara (26 April 2019). "Order CYPRINODONTIFORMES: Families PANTANODONTIDAE, CYPRINODONTIDAE, PROFUNDULIDAE, GOODEIDAE, FUNDULIDAE and FLUVIPHYLACIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. ^ 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. (Goode, p. 104).
  13. ^ "Review of American Fishes by G. Brown Goode". Science. XI (278): 265. 1 June 1888.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alexander, Edward M. (1983). Museum Masters: Their Museums and Their Influence (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History).
  • "The Origins of Natural Science in America: Essays of George Brown Goode," ed. with intro. by Sally Gregory Kohlstedt (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991).

External links[edit]