11 Facts About Alexander Wetmore


Frank Alexander Wetmore was an American ornithologist and avian paleontologist.


Alexander Wetmore was the sixth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


The son of a Country Physician, Frank Alexander Wetmore was born in North Freedom, Wisconsin.


Alexander Wetmore later received his BA from the University of Kansas in 1912; finally receiving his MS in 1916 and his PhD in 1920 from George Washington University.


Alexander Wetmore began federal service in 1910, working for the Biological Survey of the Department of Agriculture.


From April 1923 to July 1924, Alexander Wetmore was the lead scientist of the Tanager Expedition, a series of five biological surveys to study the flora, fauna and geology of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll and Wake Island.


In 1924, Alexander Wetmore joined the Smithsonian Institution as the superintendent of the National Zoo in Washington, DC In 1925, Alexander Wetmore was appointed assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, becoming secretary between 1945 and 1952.

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Alexander Wetmore wrote A Systematic Classification for the Birds of the World.


From 1944 to 1946 Alexander Wetmore served as the 15th president of The Explorers Club.


Between 1946 and 1966 Alexander Wetmore made annual trips to Panama to study and collect specimens of the birds of the Isthmus.


Alexander Wetmore is commemorated in the scientific names of one species and two subspecies of reptiles: Pholidoscelis wetmorei, Uromacer frenatus wetmorei, and Anolis brevirostris wetmorei.