Edwin Van Dyke
Edwin Van Dyke was one of Americas
leading coleoperists at the turn of the last century. He was
born 7 April 1869 in Oakland, CA and died 28 September 1952
in San Francisco, CA. He began collecting insects as a child.
He graduated from the University of California with a B. S degree
in 1893, after which he went to the Cooper Medical College in
San Francisco, graduating with an M.D. degree in 1895. He served
as a doctor in several hospitals and in private practice until
In 1913, he was appointed Assistant in Entomology at the University
of California-Berkeley and so began his long career in teaching,
collecting, and research. He became an Assistant Professor in
1916, Associate Professor in 1921, full Professor in 1927, and
Emeritus Professor in 1939. He was a charter member of the Pacific
Coast Entomological Society and served as its President from
1907-1931 (23 years!).
The great San Francisco earthquake struck in 1906, and the California
Academy of Sciences and its collections were severely damaged;
the Coleoptera types were saved as were those of Hemiptera and
Hymenoptera, but all else was lost, including the library. It
was the fire, not the quake, that did the greatest damage, destroying
all of the city except the fringe of residences.
Van Dyke collected extensively everywhere he went, including
much of the United States, Japan and China, Europe, and Egypt.
He was an untiring, careful, and earnest collector. He joined
the California Academy of Sciences in 1904 and served for years
as Curator of Insects without a salary. Van Dykes collection,
numbering about 200,000 specimens, and a considerable amount
of money were donated to the California Academy of Sciences.
He was considered an authority on Scarabaeidae, Lucanidae, Carabidae,
Buprestidae, Elateridae, Cerambycidae, Cleridae, Curculionidae,
and the insects of Pacific North America.
He was a charter member and Fellow of the Entomological Society
of America and the Sierra Club. He published 153 papers between
1892 and 1953.
Essig, E. O. 1953. Edwin Cooper Van Dyke. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist