Academy of Natural Sciences of PhiladelphiaVariant names
The oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning." Since the founding of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, there have been twenty-eight presidents and five acting presidents (please see additional note for a complete list of Academy presidents). From 1937 to 1995, there were four presidents and one acting president who left their administrations well documented: Charles M.B. Cadwalader, William M. Marvel, Milton H. Wahl, Thomas Peter Bennett and Keith Stewart Thomson. In addition, several key staff members who worked closely with these presidents left a record of their influence and contributions.
Charles M.B. Cadwalader, (1885-1959), served as president from 1937 to 1951. Cadwalader was born at Fort Washington, Pennsylvania on June 3, 1885 to Richard M. and Christine Biddle Cadwalader, and was a descendant of the 1689 Welsh emigrant, John Cadwalader. He studied at the William Penn Charter School and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. Though not a professional research scientist, he was fascinated, from his youth, with birds and frequently visited the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He was elected a Life Member of the Academy in 1908 and to the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee on April 7, 1927. Cadwalader served as Managing Director from 1928 to 1937, when he was elected President. He served as both President and Managing Director until 1947, when H. Radclyffe Roberts was appointed Managing Director. In 1937, Cadwalader received an honorary Master's degree in Science from the University of Pennsylvania in recognition of his service to the Academy. For twenty five years Cadwalader served the academy without financial compensation. In fact, throughout his tenure as president, Cadwalader was a generous benefactor to the museum. Cadwalader is credited with establishing the Academy publication Frontiers in 1936, quintupling membership, and expanding many of the habitat groups representing the animals of North America, Africa and Asia. He actively worked to raise funding for the library, scientific research, expeditions, and the installation of exhibits. He was "among the pioneers in the habitat type of exhibit, a method which shows the animals in natural postures in their native surroundings" ( Frontiers, p. 27). Cadwalader retired in 1951, although he remained actively involved with the Board of Trustees and later was appointed as an honorary trustee. He died on June 18, 1959.
William Marvel served as President from 1971 to 1974. Marvel was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Princeton University in 1941 and received his doctorate in political science in 1951, also from Princeton University. Marvel was not personally interested in science, rather his background was in education and civics. In fact, in 1962, he became the first president of Education and World Affairs. During his time at the Academy, Marvel worked on a few major projects, including: a developmental planning survey of the Academy called the Brakeley John Price Jones survey, a major fund raising campaign; the purchase of an additional building to accommodate growing space needs; and the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1969, the Academy endorsed the city's efforts for the 1976 Bicentennial. Marvel was actively involved with The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance which was formed during his tenure and included more than twenty cultural institutions in the area which worked together to create programs for the Bicentennial Celebration. The Academy's program centered on the creation of an extensive exhibit highlighting the development of the natural sciences in the United States since 1776. In addition, the Academy created traveling programs, held a lecture and film series, and held a three day symposium.
In 1970, the Board of Trustees voted that Brakeley John Price Jones Company, an international fund-raising consulting firm, should be commissioned to assist the Academy in the Master Planning Process and the creation of a ten to fifteen year long-term plan. Brakeley John Price Jones Company produced an in-depth survey which was completed by 1972. The survey determined core programs, a new mission statement, and identified new funding sources for the Academy. A capital campaign was organized to finance and implement the proposed changes.
Due to the growth and expansion of the Academy, by the 1960s, there was a need for more space for the scientific programs; and a Site Committee examined possibilities and methods of execution for minimal disruption. In 1972, guided by Marvel, the Academy purchased the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company building at Pennsylvania and Fairmont Avenues. The new building was to house the scientific departments, collections, laboratories, offices and the library, thereby separating the research and public functions of the institution. The aforementioned departments moved into new building in 1973, however, the move was short-lived. When Milton H. Wahl succeeded Marvel as Academy President, he determined the cost of maintaining two buildings to be prohibitive and the move back into the main building began immediately. The research departments returned first. Still in need of space, as an alternative, renovations on the main building commenced in 1975, making room for all the remaining departments still in residence in the Fidelity building. The building at Pennsylvania and Fairmont Avenues was sold in December 1978.
Wahl was born in 190 in St. Louis Missouri. He received his undergraduate degree from the Central Wesleyan College in 1928, his Master's degree from the University of Missouri in 1930, and his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1933. On recommendation by Ruth Patrick, the Academy's noted limnologist, Wahl served as acting president from 1974 to 1976. Wahl had recently retired as an executive of the DuPont Company. Formally, he was head of the Savannah River Laboratories and in charge of the Atomic Energy Division at DuPont. On a part-time basis, Wahl supervised the daily operations at the Academy, submitted budget proposals, and supported the Board of Trustees in financial development. In 1976, Thomas Peter Bennett was appointed president and Wahl retired.
Bennett was born in Lakeland, Florida. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Florida State University in 1959 and his doctorate from Rockefeller University in 1965. Prior to his administration at the Academy, Bennett was a professor of Biology and Chemistry at several prominent universities. He also authored several publications on molecular biology and developmental cell biology. During his tenure at the Academy, he more than doubled the endowment, and built a new science wing, auditorium, classroom facilities and the Hall of Changing Exhibits. Bennett founded The Academies of Natural Science Institutes (TANSI), Museum Association of Pennsylvania (MAP) and Friends of Logan Square Foundation (FLSF). In 1984, the Outside-In children's hands-on exhibit opened. The renowned permanent exhibit, Discovering Dinosaurs opened in January 1986. Bennett resigned in 1985, in order to return to his home state of Florida, although he remained available to assist in finding his replacement and smooth the transition. John Schmidt, a member of the Board of Trustees acted as President during the candidate search from 1986 to 1987.
In 1987, Keith Stewart Thomson began his administration as President. Born in Derbyshire, England on July 29, 1938, he received his Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Comparative Physiology in 1960 from the University of Birmingham. In 1963, he received his doctorate in Biology from Harvard University. Thomson was a dean and former director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History before taking the position at the Academy. He also wrote several books and numerous scientific papers. During his tenure as Academy president, he reinitiated the Capital Campaign to raise money to build a new space for the library, exhibits, and education programs and to increase scientific research and expeditions. He resigned from the Academy in 1995.
During Cadwalader's presidency, James A.G. Rehn was the Corresponding Secretary and worked closely with Cadwalader. Rehn was born in Philadelphia on October 26, 1881 to William J. and Cornelia Loud Rehn. He was educated at the Public Industrial Art School and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He began at the Academy in 1900 as a student, and went on to become an associate in the Entomological Section. He served as Secretary from 1920 to 1938, and Corresponding Secretary from 1938 to 1959, though he continued to work in Entomology. Rehn died on January 25, 1965.
Throughout the Office of the President's history, the Comptroller or Treasurer has worked closely with the President of the Academy, managing the financial aspects of accounts, expenditures, benefits, building operations and other fiscal duties. There have been a few notable Treasurers including George Vaux, Jr. and Arthur E. Newbold, Jr.
George Vaux, Jr. was born on December 18, 1863 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to a prominent Quaker family. He graduated from Haverford College in 1884 and the Law School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1888. He was elected a member of the Academy in 1892, treasurer in 1894 and solicitor in 1911; he served all these positions until his death in 1927. As a mineralogist he was involved in developing the mineral collection at the museum. His great-uncle Joseph Sansom (1767-1826) and his uncle William Sansom Vaux (1811-1882), were both notable mineralogists. William Sansom Vaux donated his significant mineral collection to the Academy.
Arthur E. Newbold, Jr., became the treasurer after Vaux's death. Newbold was the son of Arthur E. and Harriet Dixon Newbold. He graduated from Harvard University in 1909 and the University of Pennsylvania in 1912. Newbold was elected as a member in 1921, and served as treasurer from 1927 to 1948. Newbold guided the Academy during the Great Depression, and throughout the 1930s, invested in real estate in areas such as Colorado Springs.
During the Marvel, Wahl and the beginning of Bennett's administration, there were a few different people who served in the position of comptroller. The comptroller was responsible for managing institutional finances, including monitoring bank accounts; creating treasury reports; performing audits; maintaining the budget and operational plans; gifts; investments; and creating employee benefit packages. Cliff Jones served as secretary/comptroller from October 1972 until 1974. When Jones resigned, Kirby Scott served as comptroller from 1974 to 1977. As comptroller, Jones and Scott assisted the Academy with both the purchase and sale of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company building, as well as site planning and renovations for the main building.
Additionally, under Marvel's administration, the Academy’s internal structure was reorganized in 1973, creating three distinct divisions; 1) The Public Museum, 2) Limnology and Ecology and 3) Systematics and Evolutionary Biology. The new divisions were headed by Robert Matthai, Clyde Goulden and Frank B. Gill respectively. Additional pre-existing divisions were; the Office of Development and the Office of Finance and Administration.
Matthai’s tenure was short-lived, and in 1975, Christopher Ray replaced Matthai as the Director of the Public Museum from 1975 to 1979. Ray was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in Westport, Connecticut. He earned a degree in physics and biology from Reed College in 1957. In addition to being a scientist, he was an artist and sculptor, talents which he put to use designing and curating exhibits. During Ray's tenure at the Academy, he assisted with the intensive plans for the Bicentennial Celebration and installed many new exhibits.
The Director of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology, Frank B. Gill was born October 2, 1941 in New York, New York. Gill specialized in zoology and received both his undergraduate degree in 1963 and his Doctorate in 1960 from the University of Michigan. Gill began his career at the Academy as Assistant Curator of Birds in 1969, serving in that capacity until 1974 when he was promoted to Associate Curator. In 1970, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Ornithology. Gill became the Director of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology division in 1973 and retired in 1991.
In 1972, when Roberts retired as the Managing Director, the title of the position was changed to Scientific Director and Clyde Goulden was appointed. While searching for Roberts replacement, George Davis, the director of the Malacology Department was appointed Executive Assistant to the President. George Davis was born May 21, 1938 in Bridgeport Connecticut. He received his bachelor's degree in Biology from Marietta College in 1960, a Master's in Zoology in 1962 and his doctorate in Zoology and Malacology in 1965. Both of his graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan. Davis began his career at the Academy in 1970 as Associate Curator of Mollusca. As the Executive Assistant to the President, Davis held this position from 1971 to 1972, during the transition period from John Bodine to Marvel as President. The title "managing director" was resurrected in 1974 when Milton H. Wahl was appointed acting president of the Academy upon Marvel's resignation. Davis retired in 2000.
Academy of Natural Sciences Website: “About the Academy, History,” http://www.ansp.org/
"Academy's Retired President, A Patron, Charles M.B. Cadwalader, Dies," Frontiers . Vol. 24:1, October 1959.
"Brutes and Scholars," Time . March 29, 1937.
Linton, M. Albert. The Academy of Natural Sciences: 150 Years of Distinguished Service . Newcomer Society in North America: New York, 1962.
Nolan, Edward J. A Short History of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: Philadelphia, 1909.
From the guide to the President's Office and Administrative Records, 1874-2003, Bulk, 1939-1993, 1874-2003, (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Academy of Natural Science|
|American Revolution Bicentennial, 1976|
|Associations, institutions, etc.|
|Natural history museums|
|Natural history museums|