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Joseph LeConte, 1823-1901 and William Dallam Armes, b. 1860
The Autobiography of Joseph LeConte
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1903.


Joseph LeConte was born to Louis and Ann LeConte in Liberty, Georgia in 1823. He attended the University of Georgia and then studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He discovered he preferred teaching, however, and, after earning degrees in zoology and geology from Harvard, taught at Oglethorpe College, the University of Georgia, South Carolina College, and the University of California. During the Civil War, he served the Confederacy as a scientist. After the war, LeConte's passion for field study led him to Berkeley, California, where he began his intensive study of the mountain ranges of the West, most notably in Yosemite National Park.

The Autobiography of Joseph LeConte (1903) was edited and compiled by William Dallam Armes, one of LeConte's former students. LeConte had written a complete autobiography for his family during the last few years of his life, but did not consider it ready for publication. Armes, therefore, edited the autobiography and used LeConte's journals, letters, and professional writings to fill in some parts of the manuscript. The autobiography includes LeConte's genealogy, and accounts of his medical and teaching careers, his service to the Confederacy, his time in California, and of some his most important professional contributions.

Note: Joseph LeConte's daughter, Emma Florence LeConte, kept a diary during the years 1864-5, which is available on this site at </leconteemma/menu.html>.

Work Consulted: Vincent, Benjamin, ed., A Dictionary of Biography, Past and Present: Containing the Chief Events in the Lives of Eminent Persons of All Ages and Nations, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1974.

Harris Henderson

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