Edmund Heller

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Edmund Heller
Edmund Heller 1916.jpg
Born(1875-05-21)May 21, 1875
Freeport, Illinois
DiedJuly 18, 1939(1939-07-18) (aged 64)
San Francisco, California
Alma materStanford University
Known forZoology and African expeditions

Edmund Heller (May 21, 1875 – July 18, 1939) was an American zoologist. He was President of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for two terms, from 1935-1936 and 1937-1938.[1]

Early life

While at Stanford University, he collected specimens in the Colorado and Mojave Deserts in 1896-7 before graduating with a degree in zoology in 1901.[2][3]


In 1907, Heller was with Carl Ethan Akeley on the Field Columbian Museum's African expedition. On his return, he was appointed Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology of the University of California and participated in the 1908 Alexander Alaska Expedition.[2]

In 1909, Heller began working with the Smithsonian Institution when he was chosen as naturalist for large mammals on the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition under the command of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.[2] He worked closely with John Alden Loring who worked as naturalist for the small mammals on the Expedition and they collaborated on their field notes.[4] On his return from the expedition, he co-authored Life Histories of African Game Animals with Roosevelt. Heller also accompanied the Rainey African Expedition of 1911-1912 for the Smithsonian and led the Smithsonian Cape-to-Cairo Expedition of 1919-1920.[2]

Heller also participated in explorations in Alaska with the Biological Survey, in Peru with Yale University and the National Geographic Society, in China with the American Museum of Natural History, and in Russia with Paul J. Rainey, official photographer to the Czech army in Siberia.[2]

From 1926 to 1928, he was curator of mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Edmund Heller was the director of the Washington Park Zoo in Milwaukee[2] (from 1928 to 1935) and the Fleishhacker Zoo in San Francisco[2] (from 1935 to 1939).

He was also the president of the AZA from 1935 to 1939. At the beginning of the 20th century he led many expeditions to Africa and in 1914 he wrote the book Life-histories of African Game Animals in collaboration with Theodore Roosevelt.[5]

Species and subspecies which were named in honor of Heller include the Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus helleri), Heller's coral snake (Micrurus lemniscatus helleri), a skink (Panaspis helleri),[6] the red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus helleri),[7] the Taita thrush (Turdus helleri), and the puna thistletail (Schizoeaca helleri).

Popular culture


  1. ^ "Edmund Heller, AZA President" (PDF). Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 24, 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "SIA RU007179, Heller, Edmund 1875-1939, Edmund Heller Papers, circa 1898-1918". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  3. ^ Bo Beolens; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson (2009). The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. JHU Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-8018-9533-3.
  4. ^ Loring, John Alden; Heller, Edmund. "Smithsonian African Expedition : Loring, 1 to 899, Heller, 1000 to, birds, (1-2625" (PDF). Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  5. ^ Roosevelt, Theodore; Edmund Heller (1914). Life-histories of African Game Animals (1 ed.). Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
  6. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Heller", p. 120).
  7. ^ Schmidt KP (1925). "New Reptiles and a New Salamander from China". American Museum Novitates (157): 1-5. ("Edmund Heller", p. 3).

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