Hermann August Hagen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hermann August Hagen
Hermann August Hagen 1817-1893.jpg
Born 30 May 1817
Königsberg, Prussia
Died 9 November 1893 (1893-11-10) (aged 76)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality German
Fields Entomology
Institutions Harvard University
Influences Carl Gottfried Hagen
Karl Robert Osten-Sacken
Author abbrev. (zoology) Hag.

Hermann August Hagen (30 May 1817 Königsberg, Prussia – 9 November 1893 Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States) was a German entomologist who specialised in Neuroptera and Odonata. In 1845 he began to collaborate with Edmond de Sélys Longchamps .


Hagen was the son of Carl Heinrich Hagen and Anna (Linck) Hagen. His father was professor of political economy, technology and agriculture at the University of Königsberg, and his grandfather, Carl Gottfried Hagen, had been professor of natural history there. His grandfather got him interested in entomology.

Young Hagen graduated from the gymnasium in 1836, and in 1839 published his first paper on dragonflies of East Prussia. He toured major entomological collections and libraries in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany with zoology professor Martin Heinrich Rathke in 1839. In 1840, he received his medical degree from the University of Königsberg, having written his thesis on European species of dragonflies. He then studied medicine in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and elsewhere. In 1843, he returned to Königsberg, entered on the general practice of medicine, and for three years was first assistant at the surgical hospital. During this time, he continued his entomological studies.

He married Johanna Maria Gerhards in 1851. In 1856 he met a Russian entomologist, Karl Robert Osten-Sacken, who brought American neuropteroid insects to his attention. From 1863 until 1867, he was vice president of the city council and a member of the school board in Königsberg.

While holding these civic offices, he was invited by Louis Agassiz to come to Cambridge as assistant in entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. Agassiz had been encouraged in this idea by Osten-Sacken. Hagen accepted, and in 1867 he emigrated to the United States of America. He developed the department of entomology at Harvard, and in 1870 was made professor of that science, being the first professor of entomology in an American university.

He was a member of several scientific societies including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Entomological Society. He founded the Cambridge Entomological Club. In 1863, he received the honorary degree of Ph.D. from the University of Königsberg. In 1882, he traveled to Montana, California, Oregon and Washington where he collected harmful insects.

His abbreviation for taxonomic descriptions is “Hag.”


  • with Edmond de Sélys Longchamps. “Revue des odonates ou Libellules d'Europe.” Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liége 6:1-408 (1850).
  • Monographie der Termiten (1855-1860).
  • Synopsis of North American Neuroptera (1861). This work was written at the request of the Smithsonian Institution. Some of the terms used by Hagen were not well explained in this work. This was corrected by the Irish Entomologist Alexander Henry Haliday in 1857 in “Explanation of terms used by Dr Hagen in his synopsis of the British Dragon-flies,” Entomologists' Annual 164-15, Fig.
  • Bibliotheca Entomologica (1862-1863). This work, listing all entomological literature up to 1862, was found in all the major entomology libraries. It was the “entomologist's bible.”

He wrote over 400 articles.



External links[edit]