One of the most interesting and appealing members of the scientific staff of the Wilkes Exploring Expedition around the world (1838-42) was Joseph P. Couthouy. The biographers, however, have dealt badly with him. Neither Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, nor the curiously selective Dictionary of American Biography give a sketch of his life. Nor is there one in that omnium-gatherum, the Lippincott-Thomas biographical dictionary (which can hardly be called selective, judging from some inclusions). Fragmentary accounts of him are given in various notes on the work of the Wilkes expedition; and we have early been dependent on Bouve's (1880) and Dall's (1888) biographies, scanty as they are of facts. In recent years, however, we have Bartlett's account of the work of the scientific specialists of the Expedition, and Johnson's brief but very useful paper. Johnson summarizes Couthouy's life (so far as it is known), together with a list of his published papers on mollusca, and a list of species described, together with type localities. I shall not do more here than add to what has been given in previous papers, correct some printed errors, and give some facts of Couthouy's life which have escaped all previous biographers; and which in 1946 were unknown even to his surviving descendants. I have also included, in a compact chronology, the chief data of his career, and his Boston and New York residences over the years, as shown in city directories.
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Geiser, S. W.
"Joseph Pitty Couthouy (1808-64) in Texas,"
Field and Laboratory: Vol. 25
Available at: https://scholar.smu.edu/fieldandlab/vol25/iss4/3