Maurice Cole Tanquary
Maurice Cole Tanquary
Tanquary in 1913
|Died||October 25, 1944(aged 62)|
|Education||A.B., M.A., PhD|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois|
|Known for||Crocker Land Expedition|
|Spouse(s)||Josephine Perry Tanquary|
|Institutions||Illinois Department of Agriculture|
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Kansas State Agricultural College
Texas Department of Agriculture
University of Minnesota
Tanquary was the son of Thomas J. and Florence A. Tanquaary and was raised on a farm near Lawrenceville, Illinois, where he attended public schools. He then attended Vincennes University where he was a member of Tau Phi Delta society and was one of the authors of the society's first constitution and by-laws. He graduated in 1903 and taught for four years in the public schools of Lawrence County, Illinois. He then enrolled at the University of Illinois where he received his AB degree in 1907, his MA in 1908, and PhD in 1912. From 1908 to 1909 he served as a part-time assistant to the State Entomologist of Illinois. During the summer of 1910 he studied at Harvard University and during the summer of 1911 he was a field agent for the State Entomologist of Minnesota. While at Illinois he was a founder of the Ionian Literary Society and a charter member of the Acacia (Masonic) fraternity where he was the national treasurer from 1908-1909.
After earning his doctorate he became a professor of agriculture at Kansas State Agricultural College in 1913 where he was given leave to join the Crocker Land Expedition as a zoologist later that year.
Crocker Land Expedition
As the zoologist for the expedition, Tanquary was not involved in the final push to find the island from the village of Etah in northern Greenland. Instead, he and fellow Illinois alumnus Walter Elmer Ekblaw were stationed at a Danish trading post 120 miles to the south. They became stranded there after Ekblaw was struck with snow blindess and almost ran out of food in 1914. They were rescued just in time in August and returned to Etah.
In December 1914 Tanquary and Donald Baxter MacMillan set off by dogsled for southern Greenland in an attempt to send out word that Crocker Land did not exist and that they would need a rescue ship in 1915. During the trip they became lost for ten days in temperatures as low as -50F. Running low on provisions, they had to eat several of their dogs. As luck would have it, they happened upon an Eskimo settlement. MacMillan decided to return to Etah and have Tanquary complete the journey with a Danish trader and an Eskimo guide. After making it to the mail station in southern Greenland, Tanquary made the 400 mile trip back to Etah. Along the way, Tanquary removed his boots and pieces of raw, bleeding skin and flesh fell off his rotting toes. Despite the frostbite, Tanquary managed to drive his dog team to Etah, where his big toes were amputated. Ekblaw described Tanquary’s dash back to Etah as “the grittiest exploit of the expedition.”
Tanquary's message for help was received and a rescue ship was sent. Unfortunately, the ship became entrapped in ice and Tanquary had to make another trip to the southern tip of the island. The trip began on December 16, 1915 from Etah and ended on April 20, 1916. He was able to catch a ride on a ship going to Copenhagen, Denmark which he reached on May 20, 1916. He promptly cabled New York asking for a second relief ship to be sent to the party and he made arrangements for his return to the U.S.. The second rescue ship, sent in the summer of 1916, also became stuck in the ice and the expedition was not rescued until 1917.
Journals from Tanquary, Walter Ekblaw, Donald and Mirriam MacMillan are available online at the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives website. Digitization of materials at Bowdoin College related to the Crocker Land Expedition generously funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation in 2016.
He returned to Kansas State Agricultural College in 1916 as an assistant professor before becoming as associate professor in 1919. Later in 1919, he became the chief of entomology at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and was named Texas' state entomologist.
Tanquary was interested in apiculture and resigned in 1923 to enter professional beekeeping in North Dakota. He joined the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture as an entomologist in 1928 and remained there until 1944. While in Minnesota he devoted much of his time to the study of bees. He was also known as a good teacher who could apply experimental ability to practical manner.
- "Maurice C. Tanquary". Archived from the original on 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
Maurice Tanquary taught entomology for several years at Kansas State Agricultural College before joining the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in 1919 as chief of the division of entomology.
- "United States Census, 1900". National Archives and Records Administration.
- "First Constitution of Fraternity Uncovered in Memoribilia" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 69 no. 1. Spring 1981. pp. 3–4.
- Tanquary, Maurice C. (1912). Biological and Embryological Studies on Formidicae. University of Illinois. p. iv. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "Sledging Through Greenland - An Alpha Alumnus in Crocker Land" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 8 no. 4. January 1922. pp. 217–220.
- "Adytum on High: Maurice Cole Tanquary" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 31 no. 4. February 1945. pp. 141–142.
- "Dr. M.C. Tanquary, Entomologist, 62. Minnesota Professor, Pioneer in Modern Beekeeping, Dies. Served With MacMillan". New York Times. October 26, 1944. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
He had been Professor of Entomology and Economic Zoology at the University of Minnesota for the last sixteen years. Dr. Maurice Cole Tanquary was born in Illinois.
- Freed, Stanley A. (June 2012). "Fate of the Crocker Land Expedition". NaturalHistoryMag.com.
- "George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives (Bowdoin Library - George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives)". library.bowdoin.edu. Retrieved 2016-11-16.