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Simpson Paleontology Library Endowment

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This fund was established in 1985 to support the George Gaylord Simpson Library.

George Gaylord Simpson was one of the great paleontologists. He was a prolific writer of books and scientific articles and had a major impact on paleontology, evolution and related disciplines. By the end of his career he had written some 800 articles and 20 books, the latter of which were translated into numerous languages. The range of his writings was indeed impressive, from introductory biology textbooks, to specialized books on taxonomy, statistics, and evolution. His scientific articles focused on fossil mammals, mostly from the Americas. In addition to his scholarly writings, he was an avid field paleontologist and during his career he amassed important collections, particularly from Colorado, New Mexico and Argentina.

Simpson was born in Chicago, IL on June 16, 1902. He did his educational training first at the University of Colorado and then Yale University, where he received his doctorate in the 1920s. For his dissertation he described the tiny Jurassic mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs (Mesozoic) that had been collected during the late 19th century from the western U. S. by O. C. Marsh and others. After a postdoctoral fellowship in London, he returned to a position as a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History where he spent the majority of his professional career. He later held posts at Harvard and the University of Arizona. His articles are far too numerous and span such a breadth of knowledge that it is impossible to review each facet here, but suffice to say that every paleontologist studying fossil mammals during the 20th century has been impacted by his many books.

Simpson was awarded the Linnear Society of London’s prestigious Darwin-Wallace Medal in 1958. He also received the Royal Society’s Darwin Medal in recognition of his distinguished contributions to general evolutionary theory, based on a profound study of paleontology, particularly in vertebrates in 1962.

In the mid-1980s the Florida Museum of Natural History was fortunate to receive Simpson’s professional library containing about 30,600 article separates (“reprints”), 2,000 books, and runs of about 25 scientific journals.

Simpson and Anne Roe were married in 1938. Dr. Roe was an academic psychologist and collaborated on textbooks and other writings with Simpson.

George Gaylord Simpson passed away on October 6, 1984.

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