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Hayden, Ferdinand (1829–1887)

  • By: Thomas Frederick Howard
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, American geologist and paleontologist, was a prominent figure in the scientific exploration of the northern plains and northern Rocky Mountains from the early 1850s to the 1880s. His writings made important contributions to Earth science and also helped familiarize the American public with the scenic wonders of the West.

Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, and raised by relatives in rural upstate New York, Hayden was largely self-made as an Earth scientist. He worked his way through Oberlin College and then studied at Cleveland Medical School and Albany Medical College, which awarded him an MD in 1853. Yet his medical activity was limited to service as a Union Army surgeon during the Civil War. Well before the war, he had become an active field researcher ...

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