[Annelida] Joel W. Hedgpeth (1911 - 2006)

James T. Carlton jcarlton at williams.edu
Tue Aug 1 17:49:45 EST 2006


I regret to report that Joel Hedgpeth died this past Friday morning, 
July 28, 2006, at the age of 94, in Hillsboro, near Portland, Oregon, 
at his daughter's home.  Joel would have turned 95 on September 29.

A brief obituary appears in today's Santa Rosa [California] Press-Democrat
(with minor errors about where and when Joel took his college 
degrees, and about the Treatise he edited).

A very brief biographic note about Joel is appended below. A longer 
biography is under preparation.

Please forward this on to those who may be interested.

Best wishes,

-- Jim Carlton

Joel Hedgpeth was one of the great icons of 20th century marine 
biology. His archives contain correspondence with every well-known 
marine biologist of the 20th century.  Joel was a world-class expert 
on pycnogonids, wrote hundreds of articles and essays (including many 
philosophical and environmental pieces in the Quarterly Review of 
Biology, disguised as book reviews), edited the massive volume 1 of 
the Treatise on Maine Ecology & Paleoecology in 1957, still a gold 
mine of obscure 19th and 20th century literature and known in earlier 
years as "The Big Red Book"; edited and authored much of Between 
Pacific Tides through several editions (and objected very vigorously 
when Stanford University Press declined to name him the editor of the 
5th edition of BPT), became a champion of the rare freshwater 
Californian shrimp Syncaris pacifica, and monitored the state of the 
environment from the 1930s through the 1990s.  Joel's first 
scientific publication was in 1939, and he will appear as a co-author 
of the pycnogonid chapter in the 4th edition of Light's Manual (now 
the Light & Smith Manual) due out in early 2007 (University of 
California Press). 

Joel took his undergraduate degree in 1933, his Master's in 1940 
under S. F. Light (on diaptomid copepods), and his Ph.D. in 1952 
under Ralph I.  Smith, all at the University of California at 
Berkeley. His doctorate was on the distribution and ecology of 
invertebrates along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.  Joel traveled 
extensively, including Pt. Barrow, Alaska; much of Europe; three 
visits to Antarctica, and one expedition to the Galapagos Islands 
(producing one of the first essays on the intertidal life of the 
Galapagos), although he never took a formal sabbatical.  He was 
director of the extinct Pacific Marine Station (Dillon Beach, CA) and 
the OSU Marine Science Center (Newport, OR), served on innumerable 
panels and committees, received the Browning Medal in 1976 for 
environmental stewardship (often proudly pointing out how he had made 
the "EPA hit list"), wrote Seashore Life of the San Francisco Bay 
Area, and could speak knowledgeably about thousands of species of 
marine invertebrates and vertebrates around the world. He was honored 
in 1976 by a special symposium at the Linnean Society of London (a 
Hedgpeth festschrift resulting from that meeting was published in the 
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society in 1978).

He founded the Society for the Prevention of Progress, and wrote 
poetry under the pseudonym Jerome Tichenor (for whom he had special 
stationery printed, showing Joel's famous red squirrel logo, and with 
an extensive entry at the bottom on a "bardic tradition" that the 
first environmental impact report was submitted by a delegation of 
squirrels at the time of Elizabeth I: the stanzas are written in 
Welsh and English).  Joel had an abiding interest in poetry of the 
sea, and produced a 500-page unpublished manuscript on sea poetry.

Our last extensive conversations were in November 2000 (when Joel and 
I sat on his couch in Santa Rosa, and turned each page of Seashore 
Life, discussing the needed revisions), and December, 2001. I last 
saw him in 2005.  In 2001, at the age of 89, Joel still fluidly laced 
his conversations with phrases in Latin, German, Welsh, and Russian 
(and expected his listeners to keep up).  Joel Hedgpeth lead a long 
and distinguished career as a scientist, environmentalist, writer, 
poet, historian, traveler, critic, and philosopher, and represented 
the grand tradition of an earlier generation who took great pride in 
the depth of their knowledge of the natural world.

  -- Jim Carlton, August 1, 2006

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