George Brown Goode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
George Brown Goode
Goode G Brown 1851-1896.jpg
George Brown Goode
Born 13 February 1851
Died 6 September 1896 (1896-09-07) (aged 45)
Scientific career
Institutions Biological 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, he 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]

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)


  • 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]