Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PUTNAM, Frederick Ward, anthropologist, born in Salem, Massachusetts, 16 April, 1839. He received an election to the Essex institute in 1855, and in 1856 he entered the Lawrence scientific school as a special student under Louis Agassiz, who soon made him assistant in charge of the collection of fishes at the Harvard museum of comparative zoology, where he remained until 1864. Returning to Salem in the latter year, he was given charge of the museum of the Essex institute, and in 1867 he was appointed superintendent of the museum of the East India marine society. These two collections were incorporated as the Peabody academy of sciences, and Professor Putnam was made its director, which post he held until 1876. He was called to the charge of the collections of the Peabody museum of American archaeology and ethnology of Harvard on the death of Jeffries Wyman in September, 1874, and in 1886, in accordance with the object of George Peabody's trust, he was appointed professor of American archaeology and ethnology in Harvard. Meanwhile, in 1874, he was an instructor at the School of natural history on Penikese island, and during the same year he was appointed an assistant on the geological survey of Kentucky. In 1875 the engineer department of the United States army appointed him to examine and report on the archaeological collections of the geological and geographical survey under Lieutenant George M. Wheeler, and in 1876-'8 he was also assistant in charge of the collection of fishes in the Museum of comparative zoology at Harvard. Professor Putnam has held the office of state commissioner of Massachusetts on inland fisheries, and in 1887 became commissioner of fish and game. His earliest paper was a " Catalogue of the Birds of Essex County, Massachusetts," which he followed with various researches in zoology, but since 1865 his work has been principally in American archaeology, or anthropology, and his acquaintance with this subject is probably unexcelled in the United States. His papers on this science exceed 200, and embrace descriptions of many mounds, burial-places, and shell-heaps and of the objects found in them. Professor Putnam is a member of many historical and scientific societies here and in Europe, and was elected to membership in 1885 in the National academy of sciences. He is also widely known by his office of permanent secretary of the American association for the advancement of science, which he has held since 1873. At that time the membership of the association was barely 500, and it now exceeds 2,000, a result which is attributed largely to his executive ability. Professor Putnam has also been vice-president of the Essex institute since 1871, and was elected president of the Boston society of natural history in 1887. He was associated with Alpheus Hyatt, Edward S. Morse, and Alpheus S. Packard in the founding of the "American Naturalist" in 1867, and was one of its editors until 1875. He has also edited many volumes of the " Proceedings of the Essex Institute," the "Annual Reports of the Trustees of the Peabody Academy of Science," and the "Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science" since 1873, and the "Annual Reports of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology " since 1874. He has also published his report to the engineer department as volume vii. of the "Report upon Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian" (Washington, 1879).
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