Rosa Smith Eigenmann

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Rosa Smith Eigenmann
Rosa Smith Eigenmann, 1889.png
Portrait photograph of Rosa Eigenmann, 1889.
Born (1858-10-07)October 7, 1858
Monmouth, Illinois
Died January 12, 1947(1947-01-12) (aged 88)
San Diego, California
Nationality American
Scientific career
Fields

Rosa Smith Eigenmann (October 7, 1858 – January 12, 1947) was an American ichthyologist (the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish), as well as a writer, editor, former curator at the California Academy of Sciences, California, and the first librarian of the San Diego Society of Natural History. She "is considered the first woman ichthyologist in the United States."[1][2] Eigenmann was also the first woman to become president of Indiana University's chapter of Sigma Xi, an honorary science society. She authored twelve published papers of her own between 1880 and 1893, and collaborated with her husband, Carl H. Eigenmann, as "Eigenmann & Eigenmann" on twenty-five additional works between 1888 and 1893. Together, they are credited with describing about 150 species of fishes.

Early life and education[edit]

Eigenmann's former home in Bloomington, Indiana

Rosa Smith was born on October 7, 1858, in Monmouth, Illinois, the youngest of Lucretia (Gray) and Charles Kendall Smith's nine children. Smith's parents, originally from Vermont, had moved to Illinois to begin publishing a newspaper. Charles Kendall Smith founded the Monmouth Atlas in 1846, but sold it in 1857.[3][4] Seeking a warmer climate for family health reasons, the Smiths moved to California in 1876 and settled in San Diego.[1][5]

Smith completed her secondary education at the Point Loma Seminary in San Diego.[1][6] Smith also attended a five-week course at a business college in San Francisco, where she was one of only two women in the class. (The other was Kate Sessions, later an important San Diego horticulturalist known as the "Mother of Balboa Park.")[7]

Smith had a lifelong interest in natural history. She began by observing and collecting bird and animal speciment in California and joined the San Diego Society of Natural History (San Diego Natural History Museum) in 1878 as an associate member.[1][7] Smith became the first woman with full membership in the Society in 1879, and also served as the Society's librarian and recording secretary for several years during the 1880s.[8]

Smith met David Starr Jordan, a noted ichthyologist from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, while he was visiting San Diego in 1879. The circumstances of their meeting are uncertain, but Jordan may have heard Smith read her paper at a meeting of the San Diego Society of Natural History about a new species of fish.[9] At about this time, she had discovered the blind goby Othonops eos living in caves underneath Point Loma Peninsula. Jordan was impressed and encouraged her to continue her studies as one of his zoology students at IU. Smith accepted Jordan's offer, and spent the summer of 1880 touring Europe with Jordan and some of his colleagues and students. After returning to the United States, she spent two years studying at IU before an illness in the family caused her to return to San Diego in 1882 without earning an undergraduate degree.[5][1]

Marriage and family[edit]

Smith met fellow IU student Carl H. Eigenmann, a German scientist who was pursuing a doctorate degree in ichthyology, through her studies with professor Jordan. Eigenmann corresponded with Smith while she was living in San Diego and also traveled to California, where the couple were married at Smith's home on August 20, 1887.[1][3]

The Eigenmanns had five children. Lucretia Margaretha Eigenmann (1889– ), the eldest, was mentally disabled; their only son, Theodore Smith Eigenmann (1893–1970), later became institutionalized after serving in the army in 1918.[3] Although family responsibilities prevented her from pursuing her own research, she continued to work as an editor on her husband's papers.[3][5] The three other Eigenmann's children pursued professional careers. Charlotte Elizabeth Eigenmann (1891-1959) graduated from Stanford University and pursued an editorial career. Adele Rosa (Eigenmann) Eiler (1896-1978) accompanied her father on the Irwin Expedition to South America in 1918-1919, and received a medical degree from Indiana University in 1921. Adele and her husband, John Oliver Eiler, later moved to San Diego. Thora Marie Eigenmann (1901-1968), a graduate of the University of Missouri, became a writer.[10]

Rosa Eigenmann bore most of the family responsibilities for raising their children, although she continued to collaborate on scientific research with her husband.[5] Family responsibilities also prevented her from pursuing her own research after 1893, but she continued to work with her husband as an editor of his research papers.[3]

Career[edit]

Around 1879 Smith discovered blind goby (Othonops eos) living in underwater caves at San Diego's Point Loma Peninsula. The discovery led to her additional training in the natural sciences at Indiana University and launched her work as an ichthyologist. Smith published her first articles in 1880, which included "On the occurrence of a species of Cremnobates at San Diego, California," in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, and A list of fish of San Diego California (1880), which was submitted to the San Diego Society of Natural History. The American Museum of Natural History also published several of Smith's articles.[11][12]

After returning to San Diego from Bloomington, Indiana, in 1882, she focused on publishing formal descriptions of the blind goby and other species of fishes. By the age of twenty-eight, several of her papers had been published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum. In addition, the Smithsonian Museum had asked her to make a collection of surf perch from the San Diego area.[1][6] With her family's involvement in newspaper publishing in California, it is not surprising that she also worked as a journalist, becoming a reporter for the San Diego Union, possibly its first woman reporter, while continuing to write and edit scholarly papers.[12]

Following Smith's marriage to Carl Eigenmann in 1887, the couple immediately left for Harvard University, where they studied the Agassiz collections of South American fishes and collaborated on research. The Eigenmanns also spent the summer of 1888 at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the site of a U.S. Fish Commission station. Their first collaboration, a study of South American freshwater fishes that were in the collections at Harvard,[5][1] was published in 1888 as "A list of the American species of Gobiidae and Calllionymidae, with notes on the specimens contained in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, at Cambridge, Massachusetts," as well as "Preliminary notes on South American Nematognathi" which appeared in the Proceedings of the California Academy of Science, and "South American Nematognathi" in the American Naturalist.[13] In addition to collaborating on research with her husband, she was granted special student status at Harvard to study cryptogamic botany with William G. Farlow in 1887–88.[3][14]

After their return to California in 1889, the Eigenmanns established a biological station in San Diego and continued their studies of fish in the region. The Eigenmanns also held appointments as curators at the California Academy of Sciences.[1][6] In 1891, after David Starr Jordan left his position at Indiana University to become chancellor of Stanford University, Eigenmann's husband, Carl, replaced Jordan as professor of zoology at IU and the Eigenmanns returned to Bloomington, Indiana. Carl Eigenmann was later named chair of the zoology department, and in 1908 he became the first Dean of the Graduate School.[5][10]

Rosa Eigenmann authored twelve published papers on her own between 1880 and 1893 and co-authored another twenty-five more with her husband, Carl, including notable works on fresh-water fishes in South America and on various species of fishes in western North America. Due to their research and publication, "the Eigenmann and Eigenmann authority" became well known throughout the ichthyological community.[1][3][15]

Eigenmann was proud of women's academic accomplishments, but she felt that women in science had not received proper recognition because there were so few women working in the sciences. As she told the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association in 1891: "In science as everywhere else in the domain of thought, woman should be judged by the same standard as her brother. Her work must not simply be well done for a woman."[3]

Later years[edit]

Eigenmann's last co-authored publication with her husband, Carl, was "Preliminary descriptions of new fishes from the Northwest," which appeared in the American Naturalist (1893).[13] After her retirement from active research in 1893 to care for her family, she continued to edit her husband's papers on research topics that included fishes of the Pacific coast, blind cave vertebrates from Kentucky and southern Indiana, and South America's freshwater fishes. In 1893 she also delivered a lecture at the Smithsonian Museum on the topic of women in science, which was later published.[1] In addition, she served as president of The National Science Club for Women in 1895.[10]

Eigenmann's husband, Carl, never fully recovered from his high altitude expeditions in Chile in 1918, which weakened his health. In 1926 the Eigenmanns left Indiana and returned to San Diego. Carl Eigenmann suffered a stroke in a year later, and died on April 24, 1927.[3] Rosa Eigenmann continued to live in the San Diego area Coronado, California, following her husband's death, but she was no longer scientifically active.[5]

Death and legacy[edit]

Rosa Smith Eigenmann died on January 12, 1947, in San Diego, California, of chronic myocarditis, which followed a series of difficult eye operations. Her remains are buried in San Diego's Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery.[3][5]

David Starr Jordan, who was Eigenmann’s former professor, credited Eigenmann and her husband, Carl, with identifying 35 new genera,[16] and others have credited the couple with providing the initial descriptions of nearly 150 species of fishes. She was also the first woman to become president of the Indiana University's chapter of Sigma Xi, an honorary science society.[5][6]

Published works[edit]

Authored:

  • A list of the fishes of San Diego, California (San Diego, California: privately published, 1880) (List was submitted to the San Diego Society of Natural History, November 5, 1880.)[11]
  • "On the occurrence of a species of Cremnobates at San Diego, California," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1880) 3: 147–49[11]
  • "Description of a new gobioid fish (Othonops eos) from San Diego, California," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1881) 4: 19–21[11]
  • "Description of a new species of Gobiesox (G. rhessodon) from San Diego, California," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1881) 4: 140–41[11]
  • "Description of a new species of Uranidea (U. rhothea) from Spokane river, Washington territory," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1883) 6: 347–48[11]
  • "The life colors of Cremnobates integripinnis," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1883) 6: 216–17[11]
  • "Notes of the fishes of Todos Santos bay, Lower California," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1883) 6: 232–36[11]
  • "On the life coloration of the young of Pomacentrus rubicundus," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1883) 6: 652[11]
  • "Notes on fishes collected at San Cristobal, Lower California, by Charles H. Townsend, assistant, U.S. Fish commission," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1885) 7: 551–53[11]
  • "On the occurrence of a new species of Rhinoptera (R. encenadoe) in Todos Santos bay, Lower California," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1886) 9: 220[11]
  • "Description of a New Species of Euprotomicrus," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1890) 2 (ser. 3): 35[17]
  • "New California Fishes, " American Naturalist (1891) 25: 153–56[18]

Co-authored with Carl H. Eigenmann:

  • "Cyprinodon californiensis," The West-American Scientist (1888) 5: 3–4[13]
  • "A list of the American species of Gobiidae and Calllionymidae, with notes on the specimens contained in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, at Cambridge, Massachusetts," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1888) 2 (ser. 1): 51–78[13]
  • "Notes on some Californian fishes, with descriptions of two new species," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1888) 11: 463–66[13]
  • "Preliminary notes on South American Nematognathi" Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1888) 2 (ser. 1): 119–72; and 2 (ser. 2), pp. 28–56[13][19]
  • "South American Nematognathi," American Naturalist (1888) 23: 647–49[13]
  • "Contributions from the San Diego biological laboratory," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 44–47[13]
  • "Description of a new species of Cyprinodon," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1889) 2 (ser. 1): 270[13]
  • "Description of new nematogathoid fishes from Brazil," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 8–10[13][19]
  • "Notes from the San Diego biological laboratory. The fishes of Cortez banks; additions to the fauna of San Diego; fishes of Aetna springs, Napa county, California; fishes of Allen springs, Lake county, California," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 123–32; 147–50[13][19]
  • "On the development of California food fishes," American Naturalist (1889) 23: 107–10[13]
  • "On the genesis of the color-cells of fishes," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 61–62[13]
  • "On the phosphorescent spots of Porichthys margaritatus," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 32–34[13]
  • "Preliminary descriptions of new species and genera of Characinidae," The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 7–8[13][19]
  • "A review of the Erythrininae," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1889) 2 (ser. 2): 100–16[13]
  • "A revision of the edentulous genera of Curimatinae," Annuals of the New York Academy of Science (1889) 4: 409–40[13][19]
  • "The young stages of some selachians," American Naturalist (1888) 25: 150–51; and also: The West-American Scientist (1889) 6: 150–51[13]
  • "Additions to the fauna of San Diego," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1890) 2 (ser. 3): 1–24[13]
  • "Descriptions of new species of Sebastodes," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1890) 2 (ser. 3): 36–38[13]
  • A revision of the South American Nematognathi, or cat-fishes (San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences, 1890)[20]
  • "Cottus beldingi, sp. nov.," American Naturalist (1891) 25: 1132–33[13]
  • "Recent additions to the ichthyological fauna of California," Proceedings of the California Academy of Science (1891) p. 159–61[13]
  • "A catalogue of the fishes of the Pacific coast of America, north of Cerros island," Annuals of the New York Academy of Science (1892) 6: 349–58[13]
  • "A catalogue of the fresh-water fishes of South America," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum (1892) 14: 1–81[13]
  • "New fishes from western Canada," American Naturalist (1892) 26: 961–64[13]
  • "Preliminary descriptions of new fishes from the Northwest," American Naturalist (1893) 27: 151–54[13]

Co-authored with John Swain:

  • "Notes on a collection of fishes from Johnson's island (700 miles S.W. of the Hawaiian group) including descriptions of five new species," Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, (1882) 5: 119–43[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brown, Pamela Stocking (1994). "Early Women Ichthyologists" (PDF). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 41: 25–26. doi:10.1007/bf00023798. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  2. ^ Wellck, Michele (2003). "The Early Years". In Howell, Keith K. 18 Million Real Things: 150 Years of Discovery at California Academy of Sciences. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0940228572. Rosa Smith (Eigenmann), first female curator of ichthyology in any museum.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hubbs, Carl L., "Rosa Smith Eigenmann," in James, Edward T. (1971). Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. I. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 566. OCLC 167545.
  4. ^ Some sources suggest that Rosa Smith was frail child and suffered poor health due to tuberculosis. As a result, her parents were advised to move to a warmer area of the country. See Brown, "Early Women Ichthyologists," Environmental Biology of Fishes, pp. 25–26; and "Rosa Smith Eigenmann," in Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors, p. 15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rosa Smith Eiganmann" in Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors, p. 15.
  6. ^ a b c d "Descriptive Entry" in "Accession 14-106, Eigenmann, Rosa Smith, 1858-1947". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  7. ^ a b Byrd, Bridgette Anne (1999). Rosa Smith Eigenmann: American Ichthyologist, 1858-1947 (M.A. Thesis). San Diego: University of San Diego.
  8. ^ Engstrand, Iris; Bullard, Anne (1999). Inspired by nature: The San Diego Natural History Museum after 125 years. San Diego, Calif.: San Diego Society of Natural History. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-918969-04-0.
  9. ^ Some of Smith's family members later suggested that she met Jordan when he rented a horse and buggy from her father. See "Rosa Smith Eiganmann" in Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors, p. 15.
  10. ^ a b c "Eigenmann Mss". Lilly Library Manuscript Collections. Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Dean, Bashford; Charles Rochester Eastman, ed. (1917). A Bibliography of Fishes. II. New York: American Museum of Natural History. p. 463.
  12. ^ a b Hubbs, "Eigenmann, Rosa Smith," in Notable American Women 1607–1950, p. 565.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Dean, Bashford; Charles Rochester Eastman, ed. (1916). A Bibliography of Fishes. I. New York: American Museum of Natural History. p. 365.
  14. ^ Byrd reported in Rosa Smith Eigenmann: American Ichthyologist, 1858-1947 that Eigenmann was the first woman to attend graduate-level classes at Harvard.
  15. ^ Stejneger, Leonhard (1937). "Biographical Memoir of Carl H. Eigenmann, 1863–1927" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. p. 308. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  16. ^ David Starr Jordan (1927-05-27). "Carl H. Eigenmann". Science. 65 (169): 515–16. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  17. ^ Dean, Bashford; Eugene Willis Gudger, ed. (1923). A Bibliography of Fishes. III. New York: American Museum of Natural History. p. 55.
  18. ^ Bashford and Eastman, A Bibliography of Fishes, v. I, p. 367.
  19. ^ a b c d e Jordan, David Starr (1919). The Genera of Fishes, Part III. Leland Stanford Junior University Publications University Series. Stanford, California: Stanford University. pp. 445–46.
  20. ^ "A revision of the South American Nematognathi or cat-fishes /". Biodiversity Heritage Library. Retrieved 2018-07-26.

References[edit]

  • "A revision of the South American Nematognathi or cat-fishes /". Biodiversity Heritage Library. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  • "Accession 14-106, Eigenmann, Rosa Smith, 1858-1947". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  • Brown, Pamela Stocking (1994). "Early Women Ichthyologists" (PDF). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 41: 9–30. doi:10.1007/bf00023798. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  • Byrd, Bridgette Anne (1999). Rosa Smith Eigenmann: American Ichthyologist, 1858-1947 (M.A. Thesis). San Diego, California: University of San Diego.
  • Dean, Bashford, and Charles Rochester Eastman, eds. (1916). A Bibliography of Fishes. 1. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
  • Dean, Bashford, and Charles Rochester Eastman, eds. (1917). A Bibliography of Fishes. II. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
  • Dean, Bashford, and Eugene Willis Gudger, eds. (1923). A Bibliography of Fishes. III. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
  • "Eigenmann Mss". Lilly Library Manuscript Collections. Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  • Engstrand, Iris; Bullard, Anne (1999). Inspired by Nature: The San Diego Natural History Museum after 125 years. San Diego, California: San Diego Society of Natural History. ISBN 978-0-918969-04-0.
  • Hubbs, Carl L., "Rosa Smith Eigenmann," in James, Edward T. (1971). Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 565–6.
  • Jordan, David Starr (1927-05-27). "Carl H. Eigenmann". Science. 65 (169): 515–16. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  • Jordan, David Starr (1919). The Genera of Fishes, Part III. Leland Stanford Junior University Publications University Series. Stanford, California: Stanford University. pp. 445–46.
  • "Rosa Smith Eigenmann". Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors. San Diego Supercomputer Center. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  • Stejneger, Leonhard (1937). "Biographical Memoir of Carl H. Eigenmann, 1863–1927" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. pp. 305–36. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  • Wellck, Michele (2003). "The Early Years". In Howell, Keith K. 18 Million Real Things: 150 Years of Discovery at California Academy of Sciences. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0940228572.

External links[edit]