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Edwin C. Van Dyke  (1869-1952)
Edwin Cooper Van Dyke, 1869-1952, Professor Emeritus Edwin Cooper Van Dyke was born in Oakland, California, April 7, 1869, and died in San Francisco, September 28, 1952. His father, Walter Van Dyke, was born in western New York in 1823, came across the plains to California in 1849, and became a prominent lawyer and judge and Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court. His mother, Rowena Cooper, was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1835 and came around the Horn in her father's ship to San Francisco in 1850. They were married in Uniontown (Arcata), Humboldt County, California, in 1854. As a high school boy in Oakland, the son became interested in nature study and started the collection of insects which later became one of the largest collections ever amassed by one individual. His first scientific paper was published in the Aegis, Oakland High School paper, in 1885. In that same year, his parents moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his education and made the acquaintance of D. W. Coquillett, H. C. Fall, and other entomologists who helped him in his avocation. He entered the University of California in 1889 and graduated in 1893, after which he entered Cooper Medical College in San Francisco, from which he received the M.D. in 1895. As an undergraduate, he was active in student affairs. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and played varsity football. He earned his letter as a pole vaulter on the track team. Dr. Van Dyke's medical career included postgraduate work in New York City and at Johns Hopkins and led to a successful private practice and recognition as a specialist in eye surgery. Despite the exacting demands of medical training and practice, Dr. Van Dyke's interest in entomology not only continued but increased. He joined the California Academy of Sciences in 1904 and acted as Curator of Insects without salary until a full-time curator was appointed in 1913. He was also a charter member of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, which was organized in 1901 and of which he was President from 1908 to 1931 and Honorary President for the Society's semicentennial year, 1951. In 1913 Dr. Van Dyke broke off his medical career and became a professional entomologist. His first appointment was as Assistant in Entomology at the University of California, thus beginning a long and distinguished career as a teacher, collector, and specialist in the Coleoptera. He rose to Assistant Professor in 1916, Associate Professor in 1921, Professor in 1927, and became Emeritus Professor in 1939. He was exchange professor at Cornell University in 1917-1918. On June 7, 1915, Dr. Van Dyke married Mary Annie Ames, who was a school teacher much interested in natural history. Mrs. Van Dyke accompanied her husband on field trips every year, covering every western state as well as parts of the Orient, where they spent a sabbatical year (1923-1924), and Europe and North Africa (1933). It was on a field trip to the southeastern United States during the first year of retirement from the University that Mrs. Van Dyke passed away. Returning to California, Dr. Van Dyke readjusted his life and embarked on the last phase of his distinguished career. The remaining twelve years of his life were spent as Honorary Curator and Patron of the California Academy of Sciences. Dr. Van Dyke lived within walking distance of the Academy and literally devoted his life to the Entomology Department of the Academy and especially to the great collection of Coleoptera for which he was so largely responsible. At the time of his death, Dr. Van Dyke was President of the Coleopterists' Society and dean of North American coleopterists. Dr. Van Dyke's formal contributions to science can be given in terms of hundreds of thousands of insects collected, and hundreds of papers published. But he contributed much more than this. He was a gentleman of highest ideals, and above all an enthusiast who inspired generations of students. He spent hours naming beetles for youngsters of grammar school age and lived to see an exceptionally large number of his protégés placed in key positions throughout the world, where they are carrying on the ideals which he instilled in them. R. L. Usinger E. O. Essig E. G. Linsley

AffiliationCalifornia Academy of Sciences (1940-1952), U.C. Berkeley (1913 -1939 ret.)
Label AbbreviationE.C. Van Dyke
Other NamesE.C. Van Dyke

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