Meek, F. B. (Fielding Bradford), 1817-1876

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Fielding B. Meek (1817-1876) was born December 10, 1817, in Madison, Indiana, of Irish Presbyterian ancestry. His father was an eminent local lawyer who died when Meek was only three years old. Meek's early education in Indiana, and later Kentucky, was constantly interrupted due to ill health. Health problems, including deafness and tuberculosis, continued to plague him throughout his life. Meek attended good public schools, but was largely self-educated in the natural sciences. His first practical scientific experience was gained as an assistant in David Dale Owen's U.S. Geological Survey of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in 1848 and 1849. During 1852-1858 (excepting three summers) Meek was employed at Albany, New York, by the paleontologist James Hall. The summer of 1853 was spent in the Bad Lands of Nebraska in association with Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, while those of 1854 and 1855 were spent with George Clinton Swallow's Geological Survey of Missouri. Meek's association with Hall was terminated in 1858 when a dispute arose over the discovery of the occurrence of Permian fossils in North America. Meek joined the staff of the Smithsonian Institution in 1858 as the Institution's first full-time paleontologist. In lieu of salary, Joseph Henry allotted Meek living quarters in the Smithsonian Castle Building. Until his death, Meek continued to live in the Castle, eventually gaining the title of resident collaborator in paleontology. At the Smithsonian Meek also renewed his acquaintance with F. V. Hayden, joining him on many of Hayden's surveys of the western territories. Meek and Hayden's most notable resulting publication was Paleontology of the Upper Missouri (1865). Meek also worked for the Ohio Geological Survey under John Strong Newberry, and with Amos Henry Worthen on the Geological Survey of Illinois. Although Meek was responsible for most of the invertebrate fossil work for the Illinois Survey, the reports were published jointly under the names of Worthen and Meek. Meek's bibliography contains 106 titles, including those publications written in conjunction with Hayden, Worthen, and others. His most important publication was his "Report on the Invertebrate Cretaceous and Tertiary Fossils of the Upper Missouri Country" (1876). Fielding B. Meek died of tuberculosis in his quarters at the Smithsonian on December 21, 1876.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Field Book Project: Person : Description : rid_35_pid_EACP34

Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 person
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associatedWith Fitch, John person
associatedWith Fontaine, William Morris, 1835-1913. person
associatedWith Genth, F. A., (Frederick Augustus), 1820-1893 person
associatedWith Geological Survey of Missouri (1853-1855) corporateBody
associatedWith Geological survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota (1848-1849) corporateBody
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. person
associatedWith Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887. person
associatedWith LeConte, John L., (John Lawrence), 1825-1883 person
associatedWith Marsh, Othniel Charles, 1831-1899. person
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associatedWith Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727 person
associatedWith Poinsett, Joel Roberts, 1779-1851 person
associatedWith Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796 person
associatedWith Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813 person
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 person
associatedWith Seybert, Adam, 1773-1825 person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Stevens, Henry person
associatedWith Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872 person
associatedWith Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824 person
associatedWith Waterton, Charles, 1782-1865 person
associatedWith Wayne, Anthony person
associatedWith Winchell, Alexander, 1824-1891 person
Place Name Admin Code Country


Birth 1817-12-10

Death 1876-12-22




Ark ID: w68053z0

SNAC ID: 4602122