FEWKES, Jesse Walter

From Islapedia

FEWKES, Jesse Walter (1850-1930), zoologist and ethnologist from Harvard who was a friend and colleague of Lorenzo Yates. In 1890, Yates named a new shell from Santa Barbara County, Vermiculus fewkesi, stating: “This shell is dedicated to my esteemed friend Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, Secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History, as a recognition of the time and labor spent by him in the description and delineation of some of our new marine fauna.” [Yates 1890 Bull. p. 47]. Fewkes transferred his interests from field of marine zoology to anthropology, and in 1895 he became connected with the Bureau of American Ethnology [BAE], founding the Journal of American Ethnology and Archaeology. Fewkes introduced zoological methods into the science of archaeology. He retired from the Bureau in 1928. His Notebook of the Trip to California 1887 is in the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution [NAA MS 4408(96)].

In the News~

March 25, 1887 [SBDP]: “Dr. Walter Fewkes, the prominent scientist who is now making deep sea soundings in the Santa Barbara Channel for the Agassiz Association, has just returned from a trip to the islands. He reports that he found there a cave which greatly resembles the celebrated ‘Blue Grotto’ of Capri, only far more beautiful.”

Spring of 1887 J. Walter Fewkes remarks: “…The Angel Dolly, which is at anchor off the wharf at Santa Barbara, was found to be admirably suited for my trip, and after a few preparations, I embarked on her, and hoisting her sails, we turned her southward to the rocky cliffs of the Island of the Holy Cross. The Angel Dolly is a small schooner of about twenty tons burden, with a cabin, which the passengers share with the captain, a forecastle for the crew, and a capacious hold. The crew consists of a captain, one man before the mast, and a cook. The cabin I found well suited for my scientific work, and I transformed it into a laboratory, the mess table serving well for microscopic work when the vessel was on an even keel. My dredge, ropes, and nets were well stored in the hold, and at noon, in the middle of March, we hove anchor, set her sail, and went to sea…” (Fewkes, J. Walter Across the Santa Barbara Channel in The American Naturalist XXIII:268 (212), April 1889)

July 7, 1890 [SBDI]: “The Santa Barbara Society of Natural History met at their rooms Saturday, June 28th, 1890. Mrs. A. A. Boyce in the chair… Among them, the new genus of Nudibranchiates discovered and named by Dr. Fewkes… Dr. Fewkes named the genus Cabrilla from Cabrillo, the famous Portuguese navigator who discovered our islands, and was buried upon one of them. The species was discovered attached to the anchor of a buoy in Prisoners’ Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, and is named Cabrilla occidentalis. It is a soft slug-like animal somewhat resembling the sea hares (Aplysia)…”