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Museum Naturalists

Clinton G. Abbott

Director from 1922 until his death in 1946, Clinton Abbott led the Museum during its rapid growth in the 1920s, through the Depression of the 1930s, and into the war years of the early 1940s. Abbott supervised the construction of the Museum building, arranged research field trips, and was active in conservation throughout the region. More

Margaret Wood Bancroft

Frankness, courage, and a passion for adventure are just a few of the remarkable qualities of Margaret Wood Bancroft . She swept through life with zest, embracing roles as varied as cowhand, actress, socialite, naturalist, and explorer. More

Daniel Cleveland

A lawyer who was fascinated by San Diego’s plants and animals, Daniel Clevelend was one of the visionary founders of the San Diego Natural History Museum. His early pioneering work in botany resulted in numerous new species of plants being named in his honor, and his plant collection formed the initial nucleus of our herbarium collection. More.

Rosa Smith Eigenmann

Rosa Smith Eigenmann was an American ichthyologist—believed to be the first female ichthyologist of any significance. She became the first female member of the San Diego Society of Natural History, discovered a new species of Blind Goby in the caves beneath Point Loma, and published numerous scientific papers. More.

Raymond M. Gilmore

One of San Diego’s most beloved and well-known scientists, Gilmore was a marine biologist, mammalogist, and a Museum research associate for over 30 years. Best known for his contributions to the understanding of the biology of marine mammals and a recognized authority on gray whales, Gilmore was the father of whale-watching.  More

Charles F. Harbison

For almost four decades, the Museum was virtually a second home for Curator of Entomology Charles F. Harbison. "Harbie" was an avid naturalist, an inexhaustible researcher, and a gifted and committed educator.  More

Ethel Bailey Higgins

Photographer and botanist Ethel Bailey Higgins began a second career at the museum, collecting plant specimens throughout Baja California and the islands of the Gulf of Mexico. Indefatigable, Higgins participated in the Museum's scientific expeditions into her 90s. More

Laurence M. Huey

Laurence Markham Huey was Curator of the Department of Birds and Mammals for 38 years, 1923-1961. An energetic collector and photographer, he rose from humble beginnings to make significant contributions to the world of science. More

Laurence M. Klauber

An amateur naturalist, driven by the pursuit of knowledge and the joy of discovery, Klauber rose through the ranks of San Diego Gas & Electric Company, from electric sign salesman to president, then chairman and CEO. In the field of herpetology, he became the world authority on rattlesnakes. More

Charles R. Orcutt

Charles Russell Orcutt always considered himself first and foremost a collector. It was largely through his writings and extensive collections that a foundation was created for what is now the San Diego Natural History Museum.  More

Lee Passmore

Passmore was a citizen scientist and nature photographer. He discovered and documented many aspects of spiders that were unknown to science at the time, despite his lack of any formal education. His research and photos even appeared in a 1933 issue of National Geographic. More.

Joseph W. Sefton, Jr.

An interest in ornithology led Joseph W. Sefton, Jr. to join the Society of Natural History in 1922. His commitment to the scientific mission of the museum continues to guide the study of the flora, fauna and geology of the greater San Diego region to this day. More

Kate Stephens

Katherine "Kate" Stephens (née Brown) was a nationally recognized naturalist and paleontologist who served as Curator of Collections for the San Diego Society of Natural History. In her long career with the Museum, she was the Curator of Mollusks and Marine Invertebrates. More

Charles Hazelius Sternberg

Charles H. Sternberg was a pioneer fossil hunter, avocational paleontologist and patriarch of a dynasty of American fossil hunters. He collected throughout Imperial County and coastal San Diego County and in his last years explored the McKittrick Pleistocene fossil beds west of Bakersfield. More

Anthony Wayne Vogdes

Born to a distinguished family of military men, General Anthony Wayne Vogdes was a self-taught geologist and paleontologist of recognized ability and scholarship. His extensive study of trilobites was among his many contributions to science. More