Nisha Rathode

Hildegarde Howard

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Fields  Paleornithology
Notable awards  Brewster Medal
Name  Hildegarde Howard
Alma mater  U.C. Berkeley

Hildegarde Howard wwwcalcentralcomfossilslaurajpg
Born  April 3, 1901 Washington, D.C. (1901-04-03)
Institutions  Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Other academic advisors  William Diller Matthew, Loye H. Miller
Known for  Significant contributions to the field of paleornithology
Died  February 28, 1998, Laguna Hills, California, United States
Education  University of California, Berkeley (1928)
Books  Eagles and Eagle-like Vultures of the Pleistocene of Rancho La Brea
Parents  Hattie Sterling Case Howard, Clifford Howard
Awards  Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada, Brewster Medal

Doctoral advisors  Joseph Grinnell

Hildegarde Howard (April 3, 1901 – February 28, 1998) was the "preeminent paleornithologist", pioneering the field of avian paleontology. She was well known for her discoveries in the La Brea Tar Pits, such as the Rancho La Brea eagles. She was the first woman awarded the Brewster Medal and the first woman president of the Southern California Academy of Sciences.


Hildegarde Howard Hildegarde Howard TrowelBlazers


Hildegarde Howard Hildegarde Howard TrowelBlazers

Howard's parents—her father, a scriptwriter, and her mother, a musician/composer—moved to Los Angeles in 1906. In 1920 she began attending what was then known as the Southern Branch of the University of California (later renamed UCLA). Her first biology teacher, Pirie Davidson, inspired her to switch her career from journalism to biology, and helped her get a job working for mammalian paleontologist Chester Stock on the La Brea Tar Pits. She completed her bachelor's degree at U.C. Berkeley, taking courses in paleontology. In 1923 she began working at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, doing work on saber-toothed tiger fossils. This work rapidly expanded into the field of avian evolution, where over her 69-year publishing career she described 3 families, 13 genera, 57 species, and 2 subspecies.

Henry Anson and Howard conserved the fossils together after a flood where they fell in love and later married in (d.1984) in 1930.

Significant works

Howard published approximately 150 scientific papers over the course of her career, and rose to become the Chief Curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for a decade. She was the first one to specialize in bird fossils and her works are still considered to this day.

  • Howard, Hildegarde (1929), "The avifauna of Emeryville shellmound", University of California Publications in Zoology, 32 (2): 301–394 
  • Howard described the first "toothed" bird from North America and assigned the name "Osteodontornis" to it.
  • Howard, Hildegarde (1962), "Fossil Birds", Science Series, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 17: 44 
  • Howard, Hildegarde (1969), "A New Avian Fossil from Kern County, California", The Condor, Cooper Ornithological Society, 71: 68–69, doi:10.2307/1366050 
  • Howard, Hildegarde (1970), "A review of the extinct avian genus, Mancalla", Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 203: 1–12 
  • Awards

  • 1953 Brewster Medal (first woman to be awarded the Brewster Medal)
  • 1962 Guggenheim Fellow, Earth Science
  • Elected President, Southern California Academy of Sciences (first woman president)
  • 1977 - Honored by having Hildegarde Howard Cenozoic Hall, Southern California Academy of Sciences, named after her
  • 1963 - Honorary Member, Cooper Ornithological Society
  • Further research

  • Joyce Harvey & Marilyn Ogilvie (2000), The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, Volume 1, pp. 621 et seq
  • Campbell, Kenneth E., Jr., editor. 1980. "Papers in Avian Paleontology Honoring Hildegarde Howard", Contributions in Science: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, No. 330 (Sept. 15 1970), 296 p. (Includes biographical sketches and a bibliography of her works.)
  • Campbell, Kenneth E. Jr (2000). "In Memoriam: Hildegarde Howard, 1901-1998". The Auk. 117 (3): 775–779. doi:10.2307/4089601. 
  • Campbell, Kenneth E. Jr (2000). "Hildegarde Howard". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology News Bulletin. 178: 131–133. 
  • Archives
  • Hildegarde Howard Papers, archives, George C. Page Museum, Hancock Park, California
  • Hildegarde Howard Papers, archives, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California
  • Chester Stock Papers, George C. Page Museum, Hancock Park, Museum
  • References

    Hildegarde Howard Wikipedia

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