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date: 10 December 2019

Morse, Edward Sylvesterlocked

(b Portland, MA, June 18, 1838; d Salem, MA, Dec 20, 1925).
  • Peter Bleed


(b Portland, MA, June 18, 1838; d Salem, MA, Dec 20, 1925).

American zoologist, archaeologist, and museum director. From his youth he was an avid collector and student of mollusc shells, but after being expelled from every school he attended, he became an apprentice draughtsman. His sincere interest in biology and his artistic abilities won him an assistantship with Louis Agassiz (1807–73) at Harvard University in 1859. He left Harvard in 1867 without a degree to accept a post at the new Peabody Museum at Salem, MA. In 1875 Morse began research on Pacific brachiopods, which led him to Japan in 1877. To support his work Morse gave public lectures, which he illustrated with free-hand chalk drawings. These lectures were so successful in Japan that he was offered a two-year post to establish a zoology programme at the then new Tokyo Imperial University. Shortly after arriving in Japan, Morse noticed a concentration of seashells near Ōmori along the railway tracks between Yokohama and Tokyo (...

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