Charles Schuchert

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Charles Schuchert
Born3 July 1858
Died20 November 1942 (1942-11-21) (aged 84)
Alma materYale University
New York University
Harvard University[1]
Known forPaleobiology
AwardsHayden Memorial Geological Award (1929)
Mary Clark Thompson Medal (1934)
Penrose Medal (1934)
Scientific career
Doctoral studentsMerton Yarwood Williams

Charles Schuchert (3 July 1858 – 20 November 1942) was an American invertebrate paleontologist who was a leader in the development of paleogeography, the study of the distribution of lands and seas in the geological past.


He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 3, 1858 to Philip and Agatha (Mueller) Schuchert. He received a common school education up to the age of thirteen, and then he spent a number of years working in his father's furniture business. Schuchert possessed an aptitude for scientific investigation, and in 1878 he began to attend meetings of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History.[2] Here he developed a friendship with fellow Cincinnati native Edward Oscar Ulrich. The two collected and studied fossils from the Cincinnati area for ten years. In 1888, Schuchert moved to Albany, New York to apprentice under James Hall. He was preparator of fossils with Charles E. Beecher at Yale University from 1892 to 1893.[1] He served on the United States Geological Survey from 1893 to 1894.[1] After serving as curator of the U.S. National Museum from 1894 to 1904,[1] Schuchert joined the Yale faculty, succeeding Beecher, the first invertebrate paleontologist there. He served as the director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University from 1904-1923.[3] He was the first president of the Paleontological Society in 1910.[2] He served as president of The Geological Society of America in 1922.[4][5]

Throughout his life, Schuchert amassed one of the largest brachiopod collections in the world. It is housed at the Peabody Museum. This collection has many notable specimens including a number of type specimens from his expansive work with G. Arthur Cooper, "Brachiopod genera of the suborders Orthoidea and Penatmeroidea." There are also numerous specimens from the Salt Range and Anticosti Island.

Schuchert coined the term paleobiology in 1904. In 1934 Schuchert was awarded the Mary Clark Thompson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.[6]

Schuchert died in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 20, 1942.


  • Synopsis of American Brachiopoda (1897)
  • Paleogeography of North America" (1910)
  • Revision of Paleozoic Stelleroida, with Special Reference to North American Asteroida (1915)
  • Textbook of Geology (1924)
  • Historical Geology of North America (Three volumes - 1935-1943)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Schuchert, Charles,1858-1942, Charles Schuchert Papers". Record Unit 7233. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Charles Schuchert | Archives : Collections : Yale Peabody Museum". Retrieved July 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Fairchild, Herman LeRoy, 1932, The Geological Society of America 1888-1930, a Chapter in Earth Science History: New York, The Geological Society of America, 232 p.
  5. ^ Eckel, Edwin, 1982, GSA Memoir 155, The Geological Society of America — Life History of a Learned Society: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Memoir 155, 168 p., ISBN 0-8137-1155-X.
  6. ^ "Mary Clark Thompson Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2011.