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“R” is for Ravenel, Edmund (1797-1871)

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“R” is for Ravenel, Edmund (1797-1871). Physician, naturalist. A native Charlestonian, Ravenel received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He established a practice in Charleston and helped to establish the Medical College of South Carolina. He served the institution as professor chemistry, pharmacy, and dean. However, Ravenel became better known for his work in natural history. Initially interested in fish, he soon turned his attention to conchology (the study of mollusks) and, later to paleontology. He amassed a huge collection and published a catalog of his specimens that contained the first description of the lettered olive. Ravenel also collected invertebrate marine fossils and discovered several specimens new to science. By the 1850s Edmund Ravenel had attained a national reputation in both conchology and paleontology and was frequently called upon by some of the world’s most famous scientists.