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“H” is for Holbrook, John Edwards

“H” is for Holbrook, John Edwards [1794-1871]. Physician, naturalist. Born in Beaufort and educated at Brown University, Holbrook established a medical practice in Charleston in 1822. Two years later he became professor of anatomy at the Medical College of South Carolina where he remained until his retirement in 1860. Holbrook’s study of reptiles and amphibians led to a four-volume publication, North American Herpetology. Providing twenty-five new taxa or scientific descriptions, the publication gained international notice and is still influential today. He then turned to fishes and published Southern Ichthyology or a Description of the Fishes Inhabiting the Waters of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Altogether he established ten new taxa of fishes, which along with his descriptions of amphibians and reptiles made John Edwards Holbrook one of the greatest of the pioneering American naturalists.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.