Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc
Bosc was born in Paris, the son of Paul Bosc d’Antic, a medical doctor and chemist. He studied at Dijon, where he was the pupil of botanist Jean-François Durande and chemist Louis-Bernard Guyton-Morveau. Being unable to become an artilleryman, he worked initially for the office of the controller general and then for the comptroller of the postal service. In time he took courses in botany under Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu and met botanist René Desfontaines and naturalist Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet. He also took up with the celebrated couple Jean Marie Roland and Madame Roland and formed a lasting relationship with Danish entomologist Johan Christian Fabricius.
Bosc declined to accompany Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse on his expedition around the world. Together with André Thouin, Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet, Aubin-Louis Millin de Grandmaison and Pierre Willemet, Bosc participated, in 1787, in the founding of the first Linnean society in the world, the Société linnéenne de Paris. They were soon joined by other naturalists. This society was dissolved in 1789. Bosc was also an active member of the Philomatic Society of Paris.
His friendship with Roland allowed Bosc to rise to a substantial position, but when that minister fell into disgrace he was dismissed on May 31, 1793. Bosc affiliated himself with the Jacobin Club. He hid away on Club property in the forest of Montmorency and sheltered several people persecuted by the Terror, including Roland and Louis-Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux. It was at this time he became tutor to Eudora Roland, Roland's daughter. La Réveliière-Lépeaux, having become a member of the Directoire, allowed Bosc to leave for the United States, first as vice-consul to Wilmington in 1797, then as consul to New York in 1798. Upon his return to France, he published Memoire sur quelques especes des champignons des parties meridionales de l'Amerique septentrionale (1811). This work was the first-ever systematic examination of the mushrooms of the southern United States, and established Bosc as the founder of mycology in that region.
Bosc was brought back to France, where he served for a time as administrator of hospitals and prisons and obtained, in 1803, after a sojourn in Switzerland and Italy courtesy of Georges Cuvier, a position in the gardens and nurseries of Versailles. He gave his collections to his naturalist friends. Thus, Fabricius and Guillaume-Antoine Olivier received his insects; François Marie Daudin, his birds; Pierre André Latreille, his reptiles; and the comte de Lacépède, his fish. He was also the friend and protector of naturalists Jean-Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent and Jean-Marie Léon Dufour.
In 1806, he was elected to membership in the Académie des sciences in the rural husbandry section. In 1825, he succeeded André Thouin to the chair of plant culture at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
He died unexpectedly not many years later in Paris, in 1828.
Bosc's legacy lies mainly in the fields of agronomy and natural history. He was the author of three volumes of Suites à Buffon, edited by René Richard Louis Castel: Histoire naturelle des Coquilles, contenant leur description, les mœurs des animaux qui les habitent et leurs usages (Paris, 5 volumes, 1801); Histoire naturelle des Vers (Paris, 2 volumes, 1801); and Histoire naturelle des Crustacés (Paris, 3 volumes, 1802).
Bosc participated in the editing of the Nouveau Dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle appliquée aux arts, principalement à l'agriculture, à l'économie rurale et domestique, under the direction of Jean-François-Pierre Deterville and Sonnini de Manoncourt (Paris, 24 volumes, 1803–1804, re-edited in 36 volumes, 1816–1819), and the Nouveau Cours complet d'agriculture théorique et pratique, also directed by Deterville (Paris, 13 volumes, 1809, re-edited in 16 volumes, 1821–1823). Bosc also supervised the editing of Théâtre d'agriculture by Olivier de Serres, published by the Société centrale d'agriculture de Paris, whose Annales he also published.
Bosc's insect collection is shared between the Natural History Museum of Geneva, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris, and the Natural History Museum in London (Louis Alexandre Auguste Chevrolat collection).
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc.|
- Bosc, Louis Augustin Guillaume at encyclopedia.com
- Dayrat, Benoit (2003). Les botanistes et la flore de France: trois siècles de découvertes. ISBN 978-2-85653-548-6.
- Notton, D.G. A catalogue of types of the smaller taxa of Proctotrupoidea (Hymenoptera)in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, with notes on the history of the insect collection of L. A. G. Bosc d’Antic Zoosystema 29 (3): 457-470
- This article is based on a translation of an article from the French Wikipedia.