Robert Cushman Murphy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The whaling ship, Daisy, which Murphy traveled on to the Antarctic

Robert Cushman Murphy (April 29, 1887 – March 20, 1973) was an American ornithologist and Lamont Curator of birds at the American Museum of Natural History.

Murphy was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Thomas D. Murphy and Augusta Cushman. He was an undergraduate at Brown University, where he graduated in 1911. The author of over 600 scientific articles, he also wrote such books as Logbook for Grace: Whaling Brig Daisy, 1912-1913[1] and Oceanic Birds of South America.[2][3] In 1951, Murphy led the expedition that rediscovered the Bermuda petrel, or cahow, a bird believed to have been extinct for 330 years.

In 1936 Murphy was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal of the National Academy of Sciences.[4] He was elected a Corresponding Member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union in 1939.

After Murphy's retirement to Old Field, New York, in 1957, he, along with other citizens of Long Island including Archibald Roosevelt, unsuccessfully sued to stop the spraying of DDT. Before he died, the Three Village Central School District named the Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High School in his honor.

Most of his personal papers are archived at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Some of his personal papers are located at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


  1. ^ Gilmore, Richard C. (August 1949). "Review: Log of Grace by Robert Cushman Murphy". Journal of Mammalogy. 30 (3): 319–321. doi:10.2307/1375325. JSTOR 1375325.
  2. ^ "Review: Oceanic Birds of South America by Robert Cushman Murphy". Geographical Review. 26 (3): 489–495. July 1936. JSTOR 209053.
  3. ^ Oceanic Birds of South America by Robert Cushman Murphy, illustrated from paintings by Francis L. Jaques, Biodiversity Heritage Library
  4. ^ "Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 February 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]