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George W. Tryon

George Washington Tryon, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 20, 1838, the son of Adeline Catherine Savitz and Edward K. Tryon (a wealthy gunsmith and gun dealer); he was the grandson of George Washington Tryon, Sr. He attended the Friends Central School in Philadelphia, and went into the family gun business with his father. In 1859 he was elected a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Tryon was in large part responsible for the construction of new buildings for the Academy. Quarters for the section on malacology (molluscs) were built in 1866, and three years later he himself was appointed conservator of the mollusc collection. In 1865 he financed the establishment of the American Journal of Conchology (the study of seashells), but it lasted only seven years. In its place he began publishing The Manual of Conchology as a series of volumes beginning in 1879 which totalled nine volumes by the time his death, and continued on through 45 volumes before finally ceasing in 1935. Tryon named more than 5,600 species, ranking him as one of the most prolific malacologists of all time, and published over 1,000 articles and books. His collection of over 10,000 specimens made the Academy the center of malacology in the late 19th century. The label shown here was clearly designed for the purpose of distributing examples of species he had named to other institutions and collectors, although in this case he used it for a mineral specimen. He died on February 5, 1888, at the age of 49.

DANCE, S. P. A (1986) A History of Shell Collecting. 144-146, 176-177.
RUSCHENBERGER, W. S. W. (1888) A biographical notice of George W. Tryon, Jr., conservator of the Conchological Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 28, 1-22.
U.S. Federal Census, 1860, 1870, 1880.
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