Henry Shimer

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Henry Shimer

Henry Shimer (September 21, 1828 – July 28, 1895) was a naturalist and physician in Mount Carroll, Illinois. He was also a teacher at the Mount Carroll Seminary, which later became Shimer College; he was the husband of the seminary's founder, Frances Shimer.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Shimer was born on September 21, 1828, in West Vincent Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.[1] He worked as a stone mason in his youth and took up teaching at the age of 18.[2]

In March 1854, Shimer left Pennsylvania and traveled west to Mount Carroll, Illinois after a failed love affair.[2][3] He may have done work on the construction or expansion of the Mount Carroll Seminary, for which the owners were unable to pay him.[4]

Marriage[edit]

On December 22, 1857, Shimer and Frances Ann Wood, the co-principal of the Mount Carroll Seminary, were married.[2] Their union was widely reputed to be a marriage of convenience.[3][4]

Vocations[edit]

Shimer subsequently left for Chicago to study medicine. He graduated from the Chicago Medical College on March 1, 1866.[2] Shimer also obtained a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago by examination.[1]

He was a prolific entomologist and published widely, describing a number of novel species and genera.[1] He also served for a time as the assistant State Entomologist of Illinois.[1] In addition, he was an expert taxidermist, and had a collection of over 1000 mounted birds.[2] His collections were provided to the seminary for educational purposes.[2]

In the 1880s, Shimer became wealthy by speculating on real estate in Iowa, allegedly inspired by a dream.[3] At the time of his death his estate was worth approximately $200,000.[3]

Travels[edit]

Shimer traveled widely within the United States, stopping along the way to work as a stone mason. He sometimes covered more than a thousand miles on foot.[2] He is said to have worn boots at all times.[3]

Death[edit]

On July 28, 1895,[1] Henry Shimer committed suicide, either with a revolver[5] or by hanging.[3] He had amended his will five days previously to leave his entire fortune to his wife, leaving his mother and sister destitute.[3] In a highly publicized trial, the will was successfully contested.[4]

Published works[edit]

  • 1865, "Description of the Imago and Larva of a New Species of Chrysopa", Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia
  • 1867, "Description of a New Species of Aleyrodes", Transactions of the American Entomological Society [1]
  • 1867, "Description of a New Species of Cecidomyia", Transactions of the American Entomological Society [2]
  • 1867, "On a New Genus of Aphidae", Transactions of the American Entomological Society [3]
  • 1867, "Notes on the Apple Bark Louse (Lepidosaphes conchiformis), with a Description of a supposed new Acarus"
  • 1867, "Notes on Micropus (Lygarus) leucopterus Say ('The chinch bug')", Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
  • 1867, "Additional Note on the Chinch-Bug", Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
  • 1867, "On a new genus in Homoptera (Section Monomera)", Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
  • 1868, "Descriptions of two Acarians bred from White Maple", Transactions of the American Entomological Society
  • 1868, "Notes on Chermes pinicorticis (white pine louse)", Transactions of the American Entomological Society
  • 1868, "A Summer's Study of the Hickory Galls, with Descriptions of supposed New Species bred therefrom", Transactions of the American Entomological Society
  • 1868, "The Wavy-Striped Flea Beetle", The American Naturalist
  • 1869, "Insects Injurious to the Potato", The American Naturalist
  • 1872, "Additional Notes on the Striped Squash Beetle", The American Naturalist [4]
  • 1891, "Consciousness in Protoplasm", The Microscope [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Henry Shimer, A.M., M.D." Entomological News. 6 (10): 10. December 1895. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Jeriah Bonham (1883). "Henry Shimer, A.M., M.D.". Fifty Years' Recollections. pp. 493 ff. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Trying to Break the Shimer Will". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1896-06-30. p. 2. 
  4. ^ a b c Harold Henderson (1988-06-16). "Big Ideas: Tiny Shimer College has survived for 135 years on great books, high hopes, and very little money". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  5. ^ "Noted Entomologist Kills Himself". New York Times. 1895-07-31.