Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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TOWNSEND, John Kirk, naturalist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10 August, 1809 ; died in Washington, D. C., 16 February, 1851. He was educated at the Friends' school, and in the West Town boarding-school. When he grew older he developed a fondness for natural history, and was associated with John J. Audubon in the preparation of his "American Ornithology," in which many of the descriptions are from his pen. During 1833-'7 he made extensive journeys in the western states and across the Rocky mountains with Thomas NuHall. Subsequently he visited the Sandwich islands and South America, and then for some years had charge of the department of birds in the Smithsonian institution. While in Washington he practised dentistry, and so acquired the title of doctor. He was a member of the Philadelphia academy of natural sciences, and a contributor to its proceedings. Dr. Townsend was the author of "A Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River" (Boston, 1839), published in England under the title "Sporting Adventures in the Rocky Mountains" (London, 1840), and of " Ornithology of the United States," only the first part of which was issued (Philadelphia, 1839).
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