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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PECK, William Dandridge, naturalist, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 8 May, 1763 ; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 3 October, 1822. His father, John, attained reputation as a ship-builder during the Revolution. The son, after graduation at Harvard in 1782, spent some time in a counting-house in Boston, and for twenty years devoted himself to the study of natural history. He was an ingenious mechanic, and made a microscope and many other delicate instruments. After living a life of seclusion and study, he was made professor of his specialty in Harvard, which chair he held from 1805 till 1822. He was sent to visit the scientific institutions of Europe, being absent three years, and during this time he collected many books and specimens. He published a catalogue of "American and Foreign Plants" (1818) and several articles in the collections of the Massachusetts historical society, which include "The Description of the Atherine," "History of the Slug-Worm," and " Method of taking Impressions of Vegetable Leaves by Means of Smoke." He also published an account of a sea-serpent in the "Memoirs of the American Academy."
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