Titian Ramsay Peale, from the Frontispiece of Entomological News Vol.24 1913.
Born Philosophical Hall, Philadelphia
Titian Peale was the youngest son of Charles Wilson Peale and Elizabeth dePeyster (2nd wife)March, 1810:
The Peale family moved into a country estate of 104 acres a half mile outside Germantown, six miles from Philadelphia (Germantown is now part of the city of Philadelphia).
Titian was schooled in Germantown and Montgomery County, PA., and apprenticed in 1812 to a spindle manufacturer.Early 1817:
Titian Peale elected into membership in The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadephia (ANSP)
Titian Peale joins expedition of ANSP to procure natural history specimens in the Sea Islands and adjacent coast of Georgia and in eastern Florida (then Spanish territory).
Other members of expedition were William Maclure, Thomas Say, and George Ord
Expedition shortened due to hostilities with Seminole and Creek IndiansMay 1819-Jan 1821:
Titian Peale participated in the Long Expedition (named for leader Major Stephen H. Long) from Pittsburgh to Rocky Mountains organized to explore the country between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, starting with the Missouri River and it's principal branches and in succession Red River; and Mississippi(above mouth of Missouri)
Peale was appointed assistant naturalist on expedition
Among collections on expedition: several thousand insects, mostly new; 500 species of plants, many new; 122 sketches by Peale. Collections went to Philadelphia Museum (Peale family museum).Aug 1821:
Peale seeks position on Commander Charles Stewart's expedition to the PacificApril 1822:
Peale engaged to marry Eliza LaforgueJune 1822:
Titian Peale curates new arrangement for shell collection at Philadelphia MuseumOct 1822:
Peale marries Eliza Laforgue.Jan 1823:
Titian Peale redesigns interior of Philadelphia Museum and quadruples space for exhibitsJuly 1824:
English naturalist Charles Waterton introduces Peale to new method of taxidermy
Peale draws illustrations for C.L. Bonaparte's American OrnithologyWinter 1824-1825:
Peale undertakes collecting trip to Florida for Bonaparte's American Ornithology1831:
Peale accompanied an expedition organized by Dr. Marmaduke Burrows to explore Magdelena River, (in now Colombia, South America). Collections went to Philadelphia Museum1833:
Peale issued prospectus for first part of his work on Lepidoptera Americana, illustrated with his colored plates.
Unfortunately, this project was never carried to completion
Peale was placed in charge of Philadelphia Museum
Titian Peale elected member of American Philosophical SocietyDec 1836:
Peale appointed to the Scientific Corps as one of two naturalists on Wilkes Expedition to South Seasc. 1838-1842:
Wilkes Expedition underway. Primary purpose to map the South Pacific
Small corps of scientists were charged with recording and observing natural phenomena and collecting specimens
Expedition included Madeira, Brazil, down coast of S.A., round Cape Horn, Chili, Islands of South Seas (among them the Navigator Islands and Fiji), areas of the Antarctic Sea, touched New Zealand, proceeded to N.W. coast of America stopping at Sandwich Islands, San Franciso to Japan, home via Philippine Islands, Singapore and Cape of Good Hope reaching New York in June, 1842
Many of Peale's specimen collections were lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Western U.S. in July 1841
This expedition necessitated a separation from his wife and four children for four years of the expedition.
Family museum failed (Philadelphia Museum)
Collections of the museum sold to P.T. Barnum at auction (including Titian Peale's Florida expedition collection)
Wife Eliza and daughter Florida, died1843-1848:
Peale spent time in Washington D.C. working on text and drawings for vol.8 of Wilkes Expedition reports, Mammalia and Ornithology
Peale's work criticized because all the species listed were not new; a replacement volume published in 1852 by another scientist made use of color plates based on Peale's drawings and field observationsAug 1848-1873:
Peale worked as Assistant Examiner in U.S. Patent Office, Washington, D.C., eventually became Principal Examiner in the Division Of Fine Arts and Photography.
Became pioneer amateur photographer
Worked on a number of oil paintings based on his explorations (in particular, the Long Expedition)
Continued to prepare text and drawings for proposed volume, "Butterflies of North America" (manuscript of this work presently resides in the Archives of the American Museum of Natural History, New York)Summer 1850:
Married Lucy MacMullen (from NJ).1859:
Peale requested by Smithsonian to write an essay concerning preservation and natural history displays. TRP declined due to disappointments and dissatisfaction with previous attempts to write on his expeditions.1861:
Kinematoscope patented (Peale and his nephew, Coleman Sellers, developed the instrument). Important forerunner of motion pictures.
Coleman Sellers (nephew) and Peale belonged to original group of enthusiasts who formed first photographic club in U.S. referred to as "Amateur Photographic Exchange Club".1863:
Wrote article appearing in the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution entitled Methods of Preserving Lepidoptera, 404-406, 18631870:
T.R. Peale figured as one of the founders of the Philosophical Society of Washington
Forced to retire from Patent Office due to age. Moved to Philadelphia.
Peale and wife, Lucy, due to an impoverished status, were forced to live with relatives (grandson Louis T., son of Francis Peale) in Philadelphia and occasionally in a boarding house.
Devoted much of his time on book The Butterflies of North America (started years earlier as Lepidoptera Americana). Parts had to be revised due to subsequent work of other naturalists. Continued to carefully execute illustrations of specimens in oil paint on cardboard and embellished many paintings with fine details of foliage and flowers. Felt passionate about importance of field observations which he wrote about in his introduction to the "Butterflies" book.
Curators at The Academy of Natural Sciences provided him a room to work and for his collections.Sept. 11 1873:
In letter to Herman Strecker, leading lepidopterist, Peale writes that his Lepidoptera collection was damaged when being transported by rail from Washington,D.C. to Holmesburg, Pennsylvania. He writes that he hopes to repair the damages.May 15, 1874:
Letter to Strecker, Peale writes that he has repaired the broken glass and fixed the wings of his collection and the damage was not as bad as he had feared.April 26, 1875:
Letter to Strecker indicates that Peale received some specimens from Strecker that were added to his boxed collections. He also indicates in this letter that he puzzles over "their (the butterflies) God-like names which are fast becoming modernized."Sept. 23, 1876:
Letter to Strecker indicates that TRP was sent three specimens Argynnis diana (Diana Fritillary butterfly) to draw. Returned specimens in Oct. 1876 to Strecker in letter thanking him for the loan and said he will give him credit in his book (Butterflies of North America).
Due to his high standards for illustration and printing and lack of funds due to impoverished situation, the publication of the book became impossible. (Manuscript remains at the American Museum of Natural History)March 13, 1885:
Titian Ramsay Peale died in Philadelphia after an illness of one day (pneumonia, according to A. Peale, 1901). He was buried in an unmarked grave in a plot belonging to estate of brother Franklin in Philadelphia's Laurel Hill cemetery. Peale willed much of his valued possessions to his grandson, Louis T. Peale.1899:
Peale's entire collection of butterflies and insects was bequeathed to The Academy of Natural Sciences.
This timeline was compiled by Jon Gelhaus in 2004.
Haifley, Julia Ann Link. "Capital Images: The Photography of Titian Ramsey Peale, 1855- 1885." Master's thesis, The George Washington University, 1976
Haifley, Julia Ann Link. "Capital Images: The Photography of Titian Ramsay Peale, 1855-1885." Records of the Columbia Historical Society . The Fiftieth Volume, 1978.
Poesch, Jessie. Titian Ramsey Peale,1799-1885, and His Journal of the Wilkes Expedition. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1961.
Porter, Charlotte M. "Bibliography and Natural History: New Sources for the Contribution of the American Naturalist, Titian Ramsey Peale." In Contributions to the History of North American Natural History, edited by Alwyne Wheeler. London: Society for the Bibliography of Natural History, 1983.
Porter, Charlotte, M. "The Lifework of Titian Ramsay Peale." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129:3 (September 1985): 300-312.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. "Peale's Museum and 'The New Museum Idea.'" Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 23 (1980): 25-34.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Mr. Peale's Museum: Charles Wilson Peale and the First Popular Museum of Natural Science and Art. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1980.
Yochelson, Ellis L. "Mr. Peale and His Mammoth Museum." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 136 (1992): 487-506.