Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Journal of Parasitology (September 1923) 10(1): 1-21.


Public domain material.


A biographical overview of American parasitologist Joseph Leidy and his work. bron September 9, 1823, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - died 1891.


A detailed study of his writing justifies the statement that no one has yet adequately presented or fully elucidated Leidy's contributions to helminthology and his writing will furnish rich lead to many future workers in this field. How monumental the task of preparing a record of the full life work of this extraordinary man who in the same breath as it were, in a single letter records discoveries of far reaching import on bacteria, amoebae, worms, and fossil elephants.

Many biographical sketches, especially those written by his associates in the Philadelphia Academy, show that in the later years of his life Leidy had in mind the publication of an extensive work on parasitology and the articles he published in those years dealt preeminently with that topic. All must regret that this project remained unrealized for he left a vast amount of unpublished data in this field and of this only a small part, that on Gregarinida, has been in shape for later publication. Fortunately his nephew brought together all of his writings on parasitology and they were reprinted in 1904 by the Smithsonian Institution under the title of Researches in Helminthology and Parasitology. One must regret that these notes had not been rewritten by the master mind and his later studies incorporated. But even though the earlier items have an archaic cast and the work suffers from its natural discontinuity, yet it is a mine of information on American parasitology which even yet is far from worked out and will always be indispensable to investigators in this field. Despite all the defects incident to such a compilation it is a monument to the industry and ability of the author and foreshadows the monograph he had in mind but was not able to complete.

Included in

Parasitology Commons