Nicholas Marcellus Hentz

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Title page of The Spiders of the United States: A Collection of the Arachnological Writings of Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, M.D. (1875)

Nicholas Marcellus Hentz (July 25, 1797 – November 4, 1856) was a French American educator and arachnologist.


Hentz was born in Versailles, France. He studied medicine and learned the art of miniature painting in Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1816, and taught French and miniature painting in Boston, Philadelphia, and other places. In 1824/5 he was associated with George Bancroft in the Round Hill School at Northampton, Massachusetts. From 1826 to 1830, he was professor of modern languages and belles lettres in the University of North Carolina.

He married Caroline Lee Whiting in 1824, and moved with his wife to Covington, Kentucky, in 1831. In the following year they took charge of a female seminary near Cincinnati. They afterward conducted various schools in Alabama and Georgia. In 1851, they moved to Marianna, Florida, on account of the illness of Hentz. He died there.


He became a pioneering zoologist in the field of arachnology. He first described 124 spider species, and, as is custom in binomial naming, species are noted with the name and year of the person who first classified them. A few spiders of note Hentz classified are the Yellow sac spider and the Southern house spider.



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