|Name Bashford Dean||Education Columbia University|
|Died December 6, 1928, Battle Creek, Michigan, United States|
Books Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare
Bashford dean and the creation of the arms and armor department 1904 1929
Bashford Dean (October 28, 1867 – December 6, 1928) was an American zoologist, specializing in ichthyology, and at the same time an expert in medieval and modern armor. He is the only person to have held concurrent positions at the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was Honorary Curator of Arms and Armor; the Metropolitan Museum purchased his collection of arms and armor after his death, which his friend Daniel Chester French commemorated with a plaque.
- Bashford dean and the creation of the arms and armor department 1904 1929
- Armor collection and studies
Dean was born on October 28, 1867 in New York City. He graduated in 1886 from the College of the City of New York, and in 1890 received his Ph.D from Columbia University, where he was an assistant for Professor John Strong Newberry and later became a professor of zoology. His studies with Newberry of the Devonian armored fishes eventually resulted in Dean's "Studies on fossil fishes (sharks, chimaeroids and arthrodires)", published in Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History and other articles on the Arthroleptid frog Astylosternus robustus and on the egg capsules of Chimaera.
For his volume, Bibliography of Fishes, Dean was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1921. He is also the author of Catalogue Of European Court Swords And Hunting Swords: Including the Ellis, De Dino and Reubell Collections.
Although Dean is best known for armor and ichthyology, he was also involved in architectural preservation. He and his brother in law, Alexander M. Welch restored the Dyckman House, their wives' ancestral home.
After undergoing surgery, he unexpectedly died on December 6, 1928, in Battle Creek, Michigan, missing, only the day before his death, the opening of the Hall of Fishes, his crowning work at the American Museum of Natural History. He was survived by his widow, Mary Alice (Dyckman) Dean. The Deans had no children.
Armor collection and studies
Dean's interest in armor began, according to his sister Harriet Martine Dean, at age six while visiting the collection of the estate of the late Carlton Gates (d. 1869), a family acquaintance whose holdings included Asian and Medieval arms and weaponry. In 1877, at age 10, he started his personal collection when he purchased two 16th century daggers from the collection of Henry Cogniat.
As his career in ichthyology progressed, his focus eventually shifted toward the subject of armor and by 1900 he had amassed a private collection of approximately 125 armory specimens. In 1904, Dean initiated the process of establishing the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Arms and Armor, serving first as guest curator while organizing the collection of Duc de Dino, quickly progressing to the position of honorary curator in 1906 and finally to the position of founding curator on October 28, 1912, now working for the Met full-time.
During World War I, Dean was commissioned a Major in the Ordnance Corps, and worked on development of armor, especially of helmets. His work guided and informed helmet development in the US, and possibly in other countries, at least until the 1980s, although his preferred design was rejected in 1918 and c. 1937, as its resemblance to the German Stahlhelm was considered too close. He was the author of Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare.
In 1927, Dean retired from the Metropolitan Museum and embarked on the addition of an armor hall to his home at Wave Hill. Following his death, his friends and family completed construction of the armor hall at his home and installed his private collection there. The Metropolitan Museum later became home to about half of his armor collection of 800 items through an outright bequest and through purchases made possible by gifts by friends and trustees of the museum.
To celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Armory collection, in 2012 the museum organized the special exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department.