December Photo Contest Winner

Snow Bunting. Fort Stevens. Astoria. October 29.
Photographer: Nagi Aboulenein

Thomas Nuttall 1786–1859

Thomas Nuttall was an English botanist and zoologist who lived and worked in America from 1808 until 1841.

Soon after going to the U.S. at age 22, he joined the Astor Expedition traveling up the Missouri River. Nuttall and botanist John Bradbury left the party at the trading post with the Arikara Indians in South Dakota, and continued farther upriver. Although Lewis and Clark had travelled this way previously, many of their specimens had been lost. Therefore, many of the plants collected by Nuttall on this trip were unknown to science.

In 1818 he published The Genera of North American Plants, traveled along the Arkansas and Red Rivers, then returned to Philadelphia and published his Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory.

In 1834 he set off west again on an expedition led by Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, this time accompanied by the naturalist John Kirk Townsend. They travelled through Kansas, Wyoming and Utah, and then down the Snake River to the Columbia. Nuttall spent the next year botanizing in the Pacific Northwest.

From 1836 until 1841 Nuttall worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. During this time he made contributions to The Flora of North America being prepared by Asa Gray and John Torrey.

The death of his uncle required Nuttall to return to England. By terms of his uncle's will, in order to inherit the property, Nuttall had to remain in England for nine months of each year. From 1842 until his death in 1859 Nuttall lived at Nutgrove Hall in St Helens, Lancashire.

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