Eigenmann, Carl H., 1863-1927

Alternative names
Birth 1863-03-09
Death 1927-04-24
English, German, Spanish; Castilian

Biographical notes:

Carl H. Eigenmann and Rosa Smith Eigenmann, both students at Indiana University, married in 1887. They went to Harvard University to study the Agassiz fish collection for about two years, and then returned to California where Mr. Eigenmann served as Curator of Fishes at San Diego and at San Francisco. In 1886 he came to Indiana University and later filled the Chair of Zoology vacated by David Starr Jordan in 1891. In 1908 he was appointed Dean of the Graduate School. Between 1908 and 1918 Eigenmann served concurrently as Curator of Fishes at the Carnegie Museum at Pittsburgh. He founded the Biological Station on Turkey Lake at Vawter Park in 1895 and served as its director until 1920. Both the Eigenmanns made extensive contributions toward the study of blind fish and other fish species.

From the description of Eigenmann collection of ichthyology articles, ca. 1880-1964. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 57217835


From the description of Papers, 1851-1971. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 36335365

Indiana University alumnus, professor and administrator; noted ichthyologist.

Eigenmann taught in the Dept. of Zoology for over 40 years, served as Dean of the Graduate School when it was first established in 1908 until his death, and was founder and director of the Indiana University Biological Station in northern Indiana. He gained international recognition for his work on South American fishes and his discovery and subsequent work on blind fishes.

From the description of Carl H. Eigenmann papers, 1884-1925. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 47194807

Born in 1863 in Flehingen, Germany, Carl H. Eigenmann came to Indiana when he was 14 years old. Two years later, he entered Indiana University with the intent of studying law. However, in his second year at IU, sophomores were allowed to choose between Latin and biology for a year's work. Eigenmann chose biology. Studying under the newly appointed professor, Dr. David Starr Jordan, a well-known ichthyologist, Eigenmann found a passion for Zoology. Eigenmann went on to receive his Bachelor's of Science in 1886, his AM in 1887 and his PhD in 1889, all at Indiana University. Eigenmann remained at Indiana throughout his career, first holding a position as Instructor in Zoology, 1886-1887, Professor, 1891- 1927, first Dean of the newly created Graduate School, 1908-1927, and finally as Founder and Director of the Biological Station in Northern Indiana, 1895-1920.

Eigenmann became well-known very early on in his work as an ichthyologist. He became most famous for his valuable contributions on South American fishes and his discovery and work on blind fishes. In 1909 he was asked to be Curator of Fishes at the Carnegie Museum after meeting the Director of the Museum, W. J. Holland, on a train. He held this position from Indiana for 9 years, traveling to Pittsburgh during vacations.

In July 1887 Prof. Eigenmann met Rosa Smith, a fellow ichthyologist with whom he had been corresponding, in San Diego. They married less than a month later. Throughout their lives, they coauthored numerous articles under "Eigenmann and Eigenmann."

Dr. Eigenmann died in San Diego 24 April, 1927.

From the guide to the Carl H. Eigenmann papers, 1884-1925, (Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management http://www.libraries.iub.edu/archives)


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  • Ichthyology
  • Ichthyologists
  • Amblyopsidae
  • Zoology teachers--Correspondence
  • Freshwater fishes--Research
  • Fishes
  • Biological stations--History--20th century--Sources
  • Cave animals
  • Ichthyology--research
  • Characidae
  • Fishes--Abnormalities--Research
  • Ichthyologists--Correspondence
  • Zoology teachers--Archives
  • Freshwater fishes


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  • South America (as recorded)
  • Indiana--Bloomington (as recorded)
  • Indiana (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • South America (as recorded)
  • Indiana (as recorded)