Thomas Say in the uniform
first Long Expedition (1819).
Oil portrait by Charles W. Peale.
Thomas Say was an explorer, pioneering
natural scientist, and a founder of the Academy of Natural Sciences
in Philadelphia. In the early nineteenth century, Say was successful
in founding the science of entomology and conchology in the
United States. He wrote the first book published in America
on insects, American Entomology (1824-1828). In 1817
Say went on an expedition to Spanish-controlled Florida and
the sea islands off the coast of Georgia. In 1819 he became
the first trained scientist to accompany a government-sponsored
expedition to the west when he joined Stephen H. Long's expedition
to the Rocky Mountains. As a result of these explorations, Say
described many new species of scarab beetles, as well as hundreds
of other insects. He devoted his life to establishing natural
science in the United States as an institution deserving of
Stroud, P. T. 1992. Thomas Say. New World Naturalist.
University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. 340 pp.