Alexander Emmanuel Rodolphe Agassiz


Alexander Emmanuel Rodolphe Agassiz

Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Death 27 Mar 1910 (aged 74)
At Sea
Burial Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 151108289 View Source
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Father: Jean Louis Agassiz
Mother: Cecilie Braun
Wife: Anna Russell

Note - He was cremated at Mount Auburn and I found his grave next to his wife and her parents here.

Agassiz was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and immigrated to the United States with his father in 1849. He graduated from Harvard University in 1855, subsequently studying engineering and chemistry, and taking the degree of bachelor of science at the Lawrence scientific school of the same institution in 1857; and in 1859 became an assistant in the United States Coast Survey.

Thenceforward he became a specialist in marine ichthyology. Agassiz was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1862. Up until the summer of 1866, Agassiz worked as an assistant in the museum of natural history that his father founded at Harvard.

E. J. Hulbert, a friend of Agassiz's brother-in-law, Quincy Adams Shaw, had discovered a rich copper lode known as the Calumet conglomerate on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. Hulbert persuaded them, along with a group of friends, to purchase a controlling interest in the mines, which later became known as the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company based in Calumet, Michigan. That summer, he took a trip to see the mines for himself and he afterwards became treasurer of the enterprise.

Out of his copper fortune, he gave some US $500,000 to Harvard for the museum of comparative zoology and other purposes.

Shortly after the death of his father in 1873, Agassiz acquired a small peninsula in Newport, Rhode Island, which features spectacular views of Narragansett Bay. Here he built a substantial house and a laboratory for use as his summer residence. The house was completed in 1875 and today is known as the Inn at Castle Hill.

In 1875 he surveyed Lake Titicaca, Peru, examined the copper mines of Peru and Chile, and made a collection of Peruvian antiquities for the Museum of Comparative Zoology, of which he was curator from 1874 to 1885. He assisted Charles Wyville Thomson in the examination and classification of the collections of the 1872 Challenger Expedition, and wrote the Review of the Echini (2 vols., 1872–1874) in the reports.

Between 1877 and 1880 he took part in the three dredging expeditions of the steamer Blake of the Coast Survey, and presented a full account of them in two volumes (1888).

In 1896 Agassiz visited Fiji and Queensland and inspected the Great Barrier Reef, publishing a paper on the subject in 1898.

Of Agassiz's other writings on marine zoology, most are contained in the bulletins and memoirs of the museum of comparative zoology. However, in 1865, he published with Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, his stepmother, Seaside Studies in Natural History, a work at once exact and stimulating. They also published, in 1871, Marine Animals of Massachusetts Bay.

Agassiz served as a president of the National Academy of Sciences, which since 1913 has awarded the Alexander Agassiz Medal in his memory. He died in 1910 on board the RMS Adriatic en route to New York from Southampton.

He was the father of three sons:
George R. Agassiz (1861–1951)
Maximilian Agassiz (1866–1943)
Rodolphe Agassiz (1871–1933)

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