William Harris Ashmead (1855-1908) was born and educated in Philadelphia. In 1879 Ashmead began to make contributions to scholarly journals. In 1887 he received an appointment as a special field agent for the Department of Agriculture, for which he worked in various capacities until 1890, when he took leave to study in Berlin. In 1895 Ashmead joined the United States National Museum, where he remained until his death. Ashmead was noted by his colleagues especially for his fierce appetite for work, which allowed him to accomplish a great deal. He was interested in systematics, economic problems, and biological aspects of the insects he studied. Ashmead is perhaps best known for his monograph on the Chalcidoidea, which earned him a doctorate from the Western University of Pennsylvania, and for another, larger study on the Proctotrypidae, though these works, impressive as they are, reflect by no means the whole breadth or extent of his studies.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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