George Brown Goode
Occupation 1
Occupation 2
Smithsonian Institution
Washington DC
NA/Mid-Atlantic region
Age of Steam and Steel (1866-1920)
Zoologist, museum administrator, and historian of science.

At Eastport, Maine, in 1872 he met Spencer F. Baird, who was for the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and had recently been appointed U.S. fish commissioner. Recognizing their mutual interests, Baird took the earnest curator into his circle of collectors and collaborators and soon established a close, mentoring relationship with Goode.

Over the next several summers Goode joined Fish Commission expeditions along the Atlantic coastline and became an expert in ichthyology. In the autumn and winter months, Goode spent periods of time in Washington, D.C., as an assistant curator at the Smithsonian, writing up research results and arranging for duplicate specimens to be shipped to Wesleyan. Much of the commission research involved the economic implications of the geographic distribution and migration of deep sea fish and reflected concern about the potential overfishing of some sites. A prolific writer, Goode contributed to the resulting literature and discussions about extending the habitats of useful fish. He was asked to conduct a survey of American fisheries for the Tenth U.S. Census (1880), and after Baird's death in 1887 Goode briefly held the position of fish commissioner. He resigned, preferring to devote himself to the National Museum. Goode also continued his scientific and taxonomic research and published significant studies of particular localities and species, including his early Catalogue of the Fishes of the Bermudas (1876). For years he worked with Tarleton Hoffman Bean, and together they produced an authoritative, two-volume study, Oceanic Ichthyology (1895), shortly before Goode's death. Goode's scientific productivity, while impressive, was overshadowed by his career as a museum theorist and administrator.

Congress authorized a building for the new U.S. National Museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution, and Goode was offered a permanent position in Washington, D.C., as assistant to the director of the museum.

Related Images
Date: 1880s
Image Id: 1123

Record ID: 498