William Sansom Vaux

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William Sansom Vaux (May 19, 1811 – May 5, 1882) was an American mineralogist. He was born in Philadelphia. He became a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in 1834, and served it in various capacities in the next forty-eight years, including vice-president. He was also a member of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia and one of the original members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Vaux made several trips to Europe to collect mineral specimens, and by his death his collection was considered to be the finest in the United States. He bequeathed his mineral and archaeological collections to the Academy, along with his library and an endowment for their preservation.[1]

Vaux was one of eight founders of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, its senior vice-president. From 1871 till his death he was treasurer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Vaux also served as president of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia.[2]

He is commemorated in the name of Vaux's swift, which was first discovered by his friend John Kirk Townsend.


  1. ^ Audubon to Xantus, by Barbara and Richard Mearns, Academic Press (1992) ISBN 0-12-487423-1
  2. ^ famousamericans.net/williamsansomvaux/

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