Chapman, Frank

Chapman, Frank (Michler)

(1864–1945) ornithologist; born in Englewood, N.J. He completed his formal education in 1880, chose not to go to college, and began working in a New York City bank (1880–86). In his spare time, he continued his childhood interest in birds by doing ornithological field studies and surveys. His specimens and notes dealing with birds of Florida so impressed the American Museum of Natural History that he began an assistantship there in 1888, became curator in 1908, and remained at the museum until his retirement (1942). He was the first museum official to build exhibits of bird species in their natural habitats; he was also an accomplished nature photographer who enjoyed educating the public in avian behavior and conservation. Under his leadership, the museum's ornithology department became the finest in the world. He wrote numerous scientific papers and popular books, discovered many new species, and was a pioneer in researching the geography and climatology of different bird groups.