Roger A. Morse; photo by Nancy Deyrup
"Richard Archbold and the
Archbold Biological Station"
A book by Roger A. Morse, Cornell University
[Morse, R.A. 2000. Richard Archbold and the Archbold
Biological Station. Univ. Florida Press,
Gainesville.120 pp. ISBN 0-8130-1761-0. $29.95]
[Biennial Contents |
Animals Named for Archbold
| Plants Named for Richard Archbold]
"Richard Archbold and the Archbold Biological Station" is the title of a new
book designed to answer questions about the life of Richard Archbold and the founding and
operation of the Station and to be published by University Press of Florida in
The Archbold Biological Station was founded by the explorer
Richard Archbold (RA) (19071976) in 1941. RA devoted his life to the support of
science and technology. His first experience with field research was as a member of a
French-British-United States biological expedition to Madagascar in 1929. The United
States portion was under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in New
York City and underwritten by RA's father, John F. Archbold. The source of RA's financial
support was moneys inherited from his grandfather, John D. Archbold, who was the second
president of Standard Oil Corporation after John D. Rockefeller.
The experience in Madagascar inspired RA to finance and lead
three expeditions to New Guinea during the 1930s, the last of which, in 19381939,
was the most elaborate (nearly 200 people) and successful. Thousands of specimens of
animals were deposited at the American Museum, and of plants at the Arnold Arboretum.
Support for explorers of the third expedition came via a twin-engine PBY aircraft
originally designed as an amphibious bomber for the U.S. Navy and at the time the largest
aircraft in private ownership.
When World War II prevented further exploration abroad RA
founded the Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, Florida. At the time he thought
that he would lead more New Guinea expeditions and he wanted a place to keep his group
together until that time came. The original Station property of 1,050 acres had been
acquired by John A. Roebling in 1929 as the site of a winter home for his wife who was
suffering from tuberculosis. RA, and John's son, Donald, had been school mates, and were
in contact during the late 1930s. When Donald's mother died, the Roeblings lost interest
in living on the property, although construction of the service and storage buildings was
completed during 19301935. In 1941, John Roebling gave the Red Hill Estate to RA for
one dollar to establish a biological research station. The Station has grown so that it
now contains 5,140 acres including its own 90-acre, pristine Lake Annie typical of lakes
in south central Florida.
RA settled in at the Station and the challenges of converting
Roeblings warehouse into a research facility and of providing housing for visiting
scientists soon dominated his interests so that he never returned to New Guinea after WW2,
although he supported four more Archbold Expeditions to New Guinea. The Stations
excellent facilities and abundant protected land soon attracted a steady stream of
biologists conducting research in ecology, behavior, physiology, and taxonomy. Throughout
the succeeding decades RA was the Stations resident manager working continually to
improve facilities and to provide logistical support, and taking a keen interest in the
research projects of visiting and resident scientists and how he could facilitate them,
until his death at the Station, his home since October 1941, on 1 August 1976.
Biennial Contents | Top
© Archbold Biological Station, 13 April 2000,
revised 21 July 2000.
Webmaster: Fred E.
Archbold Biological Station, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid,
Florida 33862 USA
Phone: 863-465-2571, FAX: 863-699-1927, email