George Brown Goode

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George Brown Goode
Goode G Brown 1851-1896.jpg
George Brown Goode
13 February 1851
6 September 1896 (1896-09-07) (aged 45)
Scientific career
InstitutionsBiological Society of Washington

George Brown Goode (13 February 1851 – 6 September 1896), was an ichthyologist, although most of his time was spent as a museum administrator, and he was very interested in the history of science, especially the history of the development of science in America. Goode graduated from Wesleyan University and studied at Harvard University.[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.[2]

Goode was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received from the Queen Regent of Spain the decoration of Commander in the Royal Order of Ysabel la Catolica. He also was awarded the degree of Ph.D. from Indiana University and that of LL.D. from Wesleyan University.[3] 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.[4]


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.

Species named after him include:

Publications in Ichthyology and Fisheries[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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)[6]

Publications about Museums[edit]

  • “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)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  4. ^ 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)
  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. ("Goode", p. 104).
  6. ^ "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]