Wheeler, William Morton

Wheeler, William Morton

(1865–1937) zoologist, entomologist; born in Milwaukee, Wis. He was curator of the Milwaukee Public Museum (1887–90), taught morphology and embryology at Clark University (Mass.) (1890–93), then studied for a year in Europe before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Chicago (1894–99). At the University of Texas (1890–1903), he began the work on ants that engaged him for the rest of his life; he was the principal authority on ants and social insects at his death. As curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History (1903–08), he designed the Hall of the Biology of Invertebrates. He was professor of entomology at Harvard (1908–34) and dean of Harvard's Bussy Institute for Research in Applied Biology (1915–29). He authored over 450 scientific publications, mostly on ants, although he did extend his theories to include other social animals, including humans.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.