William Henry Edwards

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This article is about the American entomologist William Henry Edwards. For England-born actor and entomologist, see Henry Edwards (entomologist).
For other people of the same name, see William Edwards (disambiguation).
William Henry Edwards
Born (1822-03-15)15 March 1822
Hunter, New York
Died 4 April 1901(1901-04-04) (aged 79)
Coalburg, West Virginia
Residence United States
Known for A Voyage Up the River Amazon

William Henry Edwards (March 15, 1822 – April 4, 1909) was an important entomologist in the United States.


Edwards was born in Hunter, Greene County, New York. He is remembered for his trip to the Amazon in 1846, that he recorded in his book A Voyage Up the River Amazon, with a residency at Pará[1] (1847), that inspired Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Walter Bates to make their famous trip to the region (and Bates to write The Naturalist on the River Amazons); Para is modern Belem. Edwards published the first major study of "The Butterflies of North America" (finished in 1897). He was an observer of the American Civil War and a correspondent of Darwin. He died at his home "Bellefleur" in Coalburg, West Virginia.[2] The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.[3]


His writings included A Voyage up the River Amazon (16mo, 256 pp. New York: 1847. New edition, 12mo, 8 + 210 pp. London, 1855); The Butterflies of North America, series 1-3 (4to, illus. New York and Boston : 1868-1897);[4] Synopsis of North American Butterflies (410, 5+52 pp. Philadelphia: 1872); "Catalogue of the Diurnal Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico " (Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc., Vol. 6, pp. 1–68) ; "Revised Catalogue of the Diurnal Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico " (8vo, pp. 95. Philadelphia : 1884). He published over two hundred and fifty scientific papers.[5]

Edwards published a few works on matters other than his own speciality, entomology, including a monograph calling into question the authorship of the accepted works of Shakespeare,[6] and his grandfather's memoirs.[7]


  1. ^ "A Voyage Up the River Amazon, with a residency at Pará"
  2. ^ Michael J. Pauley (January 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: William H. & William S. Edwards House" (PDF). State of West Virginia, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  3. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ Calhoun, John V. 2013. The extraordinary story of an artistic and scientific masterpiece: The Butterflies of North America by William Henry Edwards, 1868-1897. J. Lepid. Soc. 67:73-110.http://images.peabody.yale.edu/lepsoc/jls/2010s/2013/2013-67-2-073.pdf
  5. ^ Weeks, A. G. (1910) Illustrations of diurnal lepidoptera.
  6. ^ Edwards, William Henry (1900). Shaksper not Shakespeare. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke. 
  7. ^ Edwards, William, 1770-1851; Edwards, William W., 1796-1876; Edwards, William Henry, 1822-1909; Memoirs of Col. William Edwards, formerly of Stockbridge and Northampton, Mass., later of Hunter, Greene Co., N. Y., and of Brooklyn, N. Y.; written by himself, in his 76th year, 1847, with notes and additions by his son, William W. Edwards, and by his grandson, William Henry Edwards (1897); Washington, D. C., Press of W. F. Roberts. [1]

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