GEORGE BROWN GOODE
DAVID STARR JORDAN,
OF LELAND STANFORD UNIVERSITY
untimely death of George Brown Goode has left a great break
in the ranks of the scientific men of America. One of the most
accurate and devoted of students, the ablest exponent of museum
methods, a man of the most exalted personal character, Doctor
Goode occupied a unique position in the development of American
Brown Goode was born in New Albany, Indiana, on February 13,
1851, and died of pneumonia at his home in Lanier Heights
in Washington City on September 6, 1896. According to Doctor
Marcus Benjamin, to whom I am indebted for many of the details
of this sketch:
Goode was of Colonial descent. His family lived in Virginia,
and he traced with pride his paternal line to John Goode,
who came to that colony prior to 1660, and settled four miles
from the present site of Richmond, on an estate named `Whitby.'
John Goode was one of the advisers of Bacon in 1676, in the
first armed uprising of the Americans against the oppression
of royal authority. On his mother's side he was descended
from Jasper Crane, who came to New England before 1630, and
afterwards settled near the present site of Newark, New Jersey.
Doctor Goode's father was Francis Collier Goode, who married,
in 1850, Sarah Woodruff Crane, and their distinguished son
was born at the home of his maternal grandmother."
Doctor Goode's parents moved to Amenia, in New York State,
where the boy passed his early youth, and where he was prepared
for college. In due time young Goode was matriculated in Wesleyan
University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he graduated
in 1870, at the too early age of nineteen.
curriculum of the college gave him little opportunity for
the studies in which he was chiefly interested, and his standing
in the conventional branches on which the higher education
was then supposed to depend was not unusually high. He was,
however, regarded as "a man exceptionally promising for work"
in natural history.
Goode spent part of the year of 1870 in graduate work in Harvard,
and there fell under the stimulating influence of the greatest
of teachers of science, Louis Agassiz. Before the year was
over he was recalled to Middletown to take charge of the Museum
of Natural Science then just erected by Orange Judd. His work
in Judd Hall was a prelude to his reorganization of the National
Museum in Washington, an institution which will always show
in its classification and arrangement the traces of his master
he first met Professor Baird in Eastport, Maine, and in 1873,
while at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, in Portland, Maine, he renewed his acquaintance.
Professor Baird, with his characteristic insight into the
ambitions and possibilities of promising young men, - one
of his notable qualities, - invited Doctor Goode to aid in
the work of the newly organized Fish Commission. At that time
Professor Baird was Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution in charge of the National Museum, and also United
States Fish Commissioner.
were managed in similar fashion and all their activities directed
to the same high ends. Very soon Doctor Goode was brought
into the service of them both. In the summer he was employed
by the Fish Commission in investigations and explorations
along the Atlantic Coast. In the winter he divided his time
between Wesleyan University and the National Museum, until
the former institution was reluctantly compelled in 1877 to
wholly give him up. Till that date his only compensation for
work done in Washington was found in duplicate specimens of
fishes and other animals, which in turn were presented by
him to the museum in Middletown.
he became Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
in charge of the National Museum. On the death of Professor
Baird, he became for a time United States Fish Commissioner,
holding the office without pay until a change in the law permitted
the appointment of a separate salaried head. In his later
years Mr. Goode devoted his whole energies to museum administration,
a kind of work for which no one in the world has ever shown
greater aptitude. Two important publications, 1 "Museums of
the Future" and "Principles of Museum Administration," admirably
embody his views and experiences in this regard. [1 "The Museums
of the Future." Report of the United States National Museum,
1889, page 427. This paper was originally delivered as a lecture
before the Brooklyn Institute, on February 28, 1889. "The
Principles of Museum Administration." Annual Report of the
Museums Association, 1895, reprinted as octavo pamphlet of
to the foregoing, Doctor Goode published the following papers
on Museum Administration: "Museum History and Museums of History,"
"Papers of the American Historical Association," Volume II,
1889, page 251 (495); "Genesis of the National Museum." Report
of the United States National Museum, 1891, page 273. In this
connection it is also proper to mention his "Annual Reports"
as director of the United States National Museum, beginning
with the year 1881.] His appreciation of the importance of
such work is characteristically shown in his dedication of
an interesting genus of deep-sea fishes to "Ulysses Aldrovandi,
of Bologna, the founder of the first natural history museum."
in museum administration caused a large amount of "exposition
work" to be entrusted to his hands. An exposition is a temporary
museum with a distinctly educational purpose. It can be made
a mere public fair on a large scale, or it can be made a source
of public education. In Doctor Goode's hands an exhibition
of material was always made to teach some lesson. He had charge,
under Professor Baird, of the Smithsonian exhibits in the
Centennial Exhibition of 1876, in Philadelphia. He served
as United States Commissioner in the Fisheries Exhibition
held in Berlin in 1880, and in London in 1883. He was a member
of the Board of Management of the government exhibit in the
World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and also prepared the
general plan of classification adopted for the exhibition.
1["First Draft of a System of Classification for the World's
Columbian Exposition," submitted to the President of the World's
Columbian Commission. Report of the United States National
Museum, 1891, page 649.] He was equally active in minor expositions
held in New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Atlanta, and
elsewhere. He was also concerned in the Columbian Historical
Exposition held in Madrid 1892-'93, and for part of the time
acted as Commissioner-General for the United States. 2 ["The
Report of the United States Commission to the Columbian Historical
Exposition at Madrid, 1892-'93, with Special Papers," Washington,
1895, was prepared under Doctor Goode's direction.] His services
in that connection were recognized by the conferment of the
order of Isabella th Catholic, with the rank of Commander.
From the Fisheries Exposition in London he received a medal
in honor of his services to the science of ichthyology.
Goode was always deeply interested in the historical and biographical
side of science, and in the personality, the hopes, and the
sorrows of those who had preceded him in the study of fishes
and other animals. This showed itself in sympathetic sketches
of those who had to do with the beginnings of American science
as well as with the dedication of new genera to those who
had done honor to themselves by honest work in times when
good work was not easy, and was not valued by the world. Among
those thus recognized by him was Thomas Harriot, of Roanoke
(an associate of Raleigh), who published the first work in
English on American natural history.
in the biographical side of science led him to the scientific
side of biography. From boyhood he was interested in genealogy.
His only family records were published by him under the title
of "Virginia Cousins." 1 ["Virginia Cousins. A study of the
ancestry and posterity of John Goode, of Whitby, a Virginia
colonist of the Seventeenth Century, with notes upon related
families. A key to Southern Genealogy, and a history of the
English surname Gode, Goud, Goode, or Good, from 1148 to 1887.
Brown Goode, with a preface by R. A. Brock, secretary of the
Virginia and Southern Historical Societies." Richmond, Virginia:
J. W. Randolph & English, MDCCCLXXXVII. Quarto, XXXVI + 526
pages, 54 plates.] This has been regarded as a model genealogical
monograph. Doctor Goode believed that the way to do any piece
of work is to do it thoroughly. Nothing crude or incoherent
ever left his pen.
goode was one of the founders of the American Historical Association,
and a member of its executive council from 1889 until his
death. He contributed to its proceedings in 1889 his valuable
paper on the "Origin of the National Scientific and Educational
Institutions of the United States." He was also a member of
the "Southern Historical Society," organized in 1896. Much
of his leisure during his last two summers was given to the
preparation of the material that is used in the present volume,
which was his project, and which when published will be a
monument to his knowledge of science in this country during
the first half-century of the existence of the Smithsonian
Goode was one of the founders of the Society of the Sons of
the American Revolution in the District of Columbia, and after
filling various offices was, in 1894, made President. He was
also Vice-President of the Society of the Sons of the Revolution,
and Lieutenant-Governor of the Society of Colonial Wars in
the District of Columbia.
very prominent in the organization and conduct of scientific
societies, which he regarded as valuable agencies in the spread
of scientific knowledge. He had been President both of the
Philosophical Society and the Biological Society of Washington.
He was elected to the American Association for the Advancement
of Science in 873, and to the National Academy of Sciences
in 1888. He was also a member of the Zoological Society of
London. His work in science was recognized in 1886 by the
degree of Ph. D. From the University of Indiana, his native
State. It was the fortune of the present writer to accept
as a thesis from him the "Catalogue of the Fishes of the Bermudas,"
and to move the granting of this degree. His relation to general
culture and executive work was recognized by the Wesleyan
University by the degree of LL.D conferred in 1888.
first met Doctor Goode in 1874, while he was engaged in work
for the United States Fish Commission in Noank, Connecticut.
He was then a young man of scholarly appearance, winning manners,
and a very enthusiastic student of fishes. In body he was
of medium height, rather slender, and very active. His countenance
was intellectual, and he seemed always to have a very definite
idea of what he wished to do.
meeting was in connection with an effort on his part to find
the difference between the two genera of fishes called Ceratacanthus
and Alutera. At this time I was greatly impressed with the
accuracy and neatness of his work, and especially with his
love of what may be called the literary side of science, -
a side too often neglected by scientific men. He detested
an inaccuracy, a misspelled name, or a slovenly record, as
he would have despised any other vice. Indeed, in all his
work and relations moral purity and scientific accuracy were
one and the same thing.
inherited or acquired "the Puritan conscience," and applied
it not only to lapses of personal integrity, but to weaknesses
and slovenliness of all sorts. Hence he became in Washington
not only a power in scientific matters, but a source of moral
strength to the community. His influence is felt in the Museum
not only in the wisdom of its organization, but in the personal
character of its body of curators. The irresponsible life
of Bohemia is not favorable to good work in science, and the
men he chose as associates belong to another order.
Doctor Goode's moral influence and youthful characteristics,
the following extracts from a private letter of Professor
Otis T. Mason, Curator of Ethnology in the United States National
Museum, will be found valuable:
of the man fixed themselves upon my mind indelibly: I found
him to be intensely conscientious, and I could see that he
was a young man who not only wished to live a correct life
himself, but abhorred the association of evil men.
characteristic which forced itself upon me was his devotion
to the museum side of scientific investigation. He wrote a
beautiful hand, and on one occasion he told me that it was
just as much the duty of a scientific investigator to write
a good hand and spell his names correctly, so that there would
be no mistake in the label, as it was for him to make his
investigations accurately. You will find, if you will look
over some of the specimens which he marked at that time, beautiful
numerals, clear and distinct, so that there is no mistaking
one from the other.
I discovered the pedagogic feeling to be very strong in him,
and the interests of the public no less that of the investigator
were constantly before his mind. Indeed, there was nothing
about Doctor Goode in his admirable management of the Museum
in later years that did not make its appearance to some extent
when he had the work to do with his own hands. The germ of
our present discipline manifested itself in the discipline
which he exerted over his own conduct when he was junior assistant
instead of director.
the time that Doctor Goode came to the Museum, I undertook
to arrange the ethnological collections. I can remember the
delight which it gave him to consider a classification in
which the activities of mankind were divided into genera and
species subject to the laws of natural history, of evolution,
and geographic surroundings. The development of the Department
of Arts and Industries has been the result of these early
Goode had a wonderful power of analyzing the relations or
contents of any group of activities, or of any objects of
study. This showed itself notably in his two catalogues 1
[1"Classification of the Collection to Illustrate the Animal
Resources of the United States. A list of substances derived
from the animal kingdom, with synopsis of the useful and injurious
animals and a classification of the methods of capture and
utilization." Washington, 1876. "Bulletin Number 6, United
States National Museum." "Catalogue of the Collection to Illustrate
the Animal Resources and the Fisheries of the United States,
exhibited at Philadelphia in 1876 by the Smithsonian Institution
and the United States Fish Commission, and forming a part
of the United States National Museum." Washington, 1879. "Bulletin
No. 14, United States National Museum."] of collections illustrating
the animal resources of the United States. These catalogues
were written with reference to the arrangement of materials
for the exhibits of the Smithsonian Institution and the United
States Fish Commission at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia.
"It was," says Doctor Gill, in his admirable biographical
sketch, 2 [2 Science, New Series, Volume IV, 1896,
page 665.] "the ability that was manifested in these catalogues
and the work incidental to their preparation that especially
arrested the attention of Professor Baird and marked the author
as one well adapted for the direction of a great museum. For
signal success in such direction special qualifications are
requisite. Only some of them are a mind well trained in analytical
as well as synthetic methods, an artistic sense, critical
ability, and multifarious knowledge, but above all the knowledge
of men and how to deal with them. Perhaps no one has ever
combined, in more harmonious proportions, such qualifications
than G. Brown Goode. In him the National Museum of the United
States, and the world at large have lost one of the greatest
of museum administrators."
striking character of Doctor Goode's scientific papers was
perhaps their scholarly accuracy and good taste. He never
wrote a paper carelessly. He was never engaged in any controversy,
and he rarely made a statement which had later to be withdrawn.
Yet no one was more ready to acknowledge an error, if one
were made, and none showed greater willingness to recognize
the good work of others. The literature even of the most out-of-the-way
branch of zoological research had a great fascination for
him, and he found in bibliography and in the records of the
past workers in science a charm scarcely inferior to that
of original observation and research. In his later years administrative
duties occupied more and more of his time, restricting the
opportunities for his own studies. He seemed, however, to
have as great delight in the encouragement he could give to
the work of others.
work of his life - "Oceanic Ichthyology" - was, however, written
during the period of his directorship of the National Museum,
and was published but a month before his death. Almost simultaneous
with this were other important publications of the National
Museum, which were his also in a sense, for they would never
have been undertaken except for his urgent wish and encouragement.
If a personal word may be pardoned, "The Fishes of North and
Middle America," which closely followed "Oceanic Ichthyology,"
would never have been written except for my friend's repeated
insistence and generous help.
earlier days of the scientific activities of the Smithsonian
Institution, there was scarcely a young naturalist of serious
purposes in the land who had not in some way received help
and encouragement from Professor Baird. With equally unselfish
effectiveness and lack of ostentation, Doctor Goode was also
in different ways a source of aid and inspiration to all of
his scientific contemporaries. The influence of the National
Museum for good in the United States has been great in a degree
far out of proportion to the sums of money it has had to expend.
It has not been a Washington institution, but its influence
has been national.
recorded scientific paper of Doctor Goode is a note 1 [1 The
American Naturalist, Volume V, page 487.] on the occurrence
of the bill-fish in fresh water in the Connecticut River.
The next is a critical discussion of the answers to the question
"Do snakes swallow their young?" In this paper he shows that
there is good reason to believe that in certain viviparous
snakes, the young seek refuge in the stomach of the mother
when frightened, and that they come out when the reason for
their retreat has passed.
of many technical and descriptive papers on fishes was the
"Catalogue of the Fishes of the Bermudas," 2 [2 Bulletin Number
5, United States National Museum."] published in 1876. This
is a model record of field observations and is one of the
best of local catalogues. Doctor Goode retained his interest
in this outpost of the great West Indian fauna, and from time
to time recorded the various additions made to his first Bermudan
this followed a large number of papers on fishes, chiefly
descriptions of species or monographs of groups. The descriptive
papers were nearly all written in association with his excellent
friend, Doctor Tarleton H. Bean, then Curator of Fishes in
the National Museum.
work Doctor Goode took the deepest interest, and he delighted
especially in the collection of historic data concerning groups
of species. The quaint or poetical features of such work were
never overlooked by him. Notable among these monographs are
those of the Menhaden, the Trunk-fishes, and the Sword-fishes.
side of science also interested him more and more. That scientific
knowledge could add to human wealth or comfort was no reproach
in his eyes. In his notable monograph of the Menhaden, 1[1
"The Natural and Economical History of the Menhaden." Contained
in Appendix A of Part 5 of "Report of United States Commission
of Fish and Fisheries," for 1877, Washington, 1879.] the economic
value as food or manure of this plebeian fish received the
careful attention which he had given to the problems of pure
Goode's power in organizing and coordinating practical investigations
was shown in his monumental work 2 [2 "The Fisheries and Fishery
Industry of the United States." Prepared through the cooperation
of the Commissioner of Fisheries and the Superintendent of
the Tenth Census, Washington, 1884.] on the American fisheries
for the tenth Census in 1880. The preparation of the record
of the fisheries and associated aquatic industries was placed
in his hands by Francis A. Walker, Superintendent of the Census.
Under Doctor Goode's direction skilled investigators were
sent to every part of the coast and inland waters of the country.
A general survey of the aquatic resources, actual and possible,
of the United States, was attempted, and statistics of every
kind were secured on a grand scale. His directions to field
agents, still unpublished, were models in their way, and no
possible source of information was neglected by him. The results
of all these special reports were received and condensed by
Doctor Goode into seven large quarto volumes, with a great
number of plates. The first section of the "Natural History
of Aquatic Animals" was a contribution of the greatest value.
Although the information it gives was obtained from many sources,
through various hands, it was so coordinated and unified that
it forms a harmonious treatise , while at the same time the
individual helpers are fully recognized.
works, according to Doctor Goode , belong to Lamb's category
of "books which are not books." His expressed ambition to
write a book not of this kind, one that people would buy and
read, found actuality at last. In 1888 appeared his "American
Fishes," a popular treatise on the game and food fishes of
North America, 1 [1 "American Fishes." A popular treatise
upon the Game and Food Fishes of North America, with especial
reference to habits and methods of capture. With numerous
illustrations including a colored frontispiece. New York,
1888.] a work without a rival because of its readableness,
its scientific accuracy, and the excellence of its text. The
work is notable for its quotations, which include almost all
the bright things which have been said about fishes by poets
and anglers and philosophers from the time of Aristotle to
that of Izaak Walton and Thoreau. In this book more than in
any other Doctor Goode shows himself a literary artist. The
love of fine expression which might have made a poet of him
was developed rather in the collection of the bright words
and charming verse of others than in the production of poetry
of his own. While limiting himself in this volume to fragments
of prose and verse in praise of fishes and their haunts, it
is evident that these treasures were brought forth from a
mind well stored with riches of many fields of literature.
important of Doctor Goode's scientific studies have relation
to the fishes of the deep sea. In all this work he was associated
with Doctor Bean, and the studies of many years were brought
together in the splendid summary of all that is known of the
fishes of the ocean depths and the open sea. This forms two
large quarto volumes, - text and atlas, - published shortly
before Doctor Goode's death under the name of "Oceanic Ichthyology."
1 [1 Oceanic Ichthyology. A treatise on Deep-Sea and Pelagic
Fishes of the World, based chiefly upon the collections made
by the steamers Blake, Albatross, and Fish Hawk
in the Northwestern Atlantic, with an Atlas containing
417 figures." 2 volumes, I., 553 pages, II., 123 plates, Washington,
1895.] The exploration of the deep sea has been mostly undertaken
within the last twenty years. The monumental work of the Challenger,
under the direction of the British government, has laid the
foundation of our knowledge of its fauna. The Travailleur
and the Talisman, under French auspices, and the Investigator,
under direction of the government of India, have added greatly
added to our stock of information. The great work of Goode
and Bean includes the results of these and various minor expeditions,
while through the collections of the Albatross, the
Blake, and the Fish Hawk they have made great
additions to the knowledge of the subject. Indeed, the work
of the Albatross in deep-sea exploration is second in importance
only to that of the Challenger. In the work of the
exact discrimination of genera and species, this work shows
a distinct advance over all other treatises on the abyssal
fishes. The fact of the existence of definite though large
faunal areas in the deep seas was first recognized by Doctor
Goode, and has been carefully worked out in a memoir still
unpublished. In "Oceanic Ichthyology" and the minor papers
preceding it, Goode and Bean have made known numerous new
forms of deep-sea fishes, naming in the last-mentioned work
alone one hundred and fifty-six new species and fifty-five
new general belonging to the abyssal fauna of the Atlantic.
Goode's interest and sympathy were not confined to the branch
of science in which he was a master. He had a broad acquantaince
with general natural history, with crustaceans, reptiles,
birds, and mammals. On all these groups he published occasional
notes. Doctor Gill tells us that "the flowering plants also
enlisted much of his attention, and his excursions into the
fields and woods were enlivened by a knowledge of the objects
he met with." "Anthropology," Doctor Gill continues, "naturally
secured a due proportion of his regards, and, indeed, his
catalogues trulyembraced the outlines of a system of the science."
Goode was, as already stated, always very greatly interested
in bibliography. No work to him was ever tedious, if it were
possible to make it accurate. He had well under way the catalogues
of the writings of many American naturalists among others
those of Doctor Gill and the present writer. Two of these
are already published under the Smithsonian Institution as
Bulletins of the United States Nationa Museum, being numbers
of a series of "Bibliographies of American Naturalists." The
first contains the writings of Spencer Fullerton Baird (1883).
Another is devoted to Charles Girard (1891), who was an associate
of Professor Baird, though for his later years resident in
Paris. A bibliography of the English ornithologist, Philip
Lutley Sclater (1896), has been issued since Doctor Goode's
Gill tells us that "a gigantic work in the same line had been
projected by him and most of the material collected; it was
no less than a complete bibliography of Ichthyology, including
the name of all genera and species published as new. Whether
this can be completed by another hand remains to be seen.
While the work is a great desideratum very few would be willing
to undertake it or even arrange the matter already collected
for publication. In no way may Ichthyology, at least, more
feel the loss of Goode than in the loss of the complete bibliography."
Goode was married on November 27, 1877, to Sarah Lamson Ford
Judd, daughter of Orange Judd, the well-known publisher, and
the founder of Orange Judd Hall at Wesleyan University in
which Doctor Goode's career as a museum administrator began.
The married life of Doctor and Mrs. Goode was a very happy
one. The wife and four children are still living.
the personal qualities of Doctor Goode, I cannot do better
than to quote the following words of two of his warmest friends.
Doctor S. P. Langley wrote: "I have never known a more perfectly
true, sincere, and loyal character than Doctor Goode's; or
a man who with a better judgment of other men, or greater
ability in moulding their purposes to his own, used these
powers to such uniformly disinterested ends, so that he could
maintain the discipline of a great establishment like the
National Museum, while retaining the personal affection of
says Doctor Theodore Gill, " was a bright and sunny one, and
he ingratiated himself in the affections of his friends in
a marked degree. He had a hearty way of meeting intimates,
and a caressing cast of the arm over the shoulder of such
an one often followed sympathetic intercourse. But in spite
of his gentleness, firmness and vigor in action became manifest
when occasion called for them."
American naturalists Doctor Goode was the most methodical,
the most conscientious and the most artistic. And of them
all no one was more beloved by his fellows. Neither in his
life nor after his death was ever an unkind word said of him.
George Brown, 1897. "The Smithsonian Institution 1846-1896.
The History of Its First Half Century." Pp. 501-515. City