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Oldest US entomological societies?

To: (contact address on entsocpa.org site)

The Entomological Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1842, yet the American Entomological Society says that the AES, founded 1859, is the “oldest continuously-operating entomological society in the Western Hemisphere.”

What is the explanation of the difference? Did Ent. Soc. of PA suspend operations at some point, or is AES wrong?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about early American entomological societies. A recent article at the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog says that the AES is the oldest entomological society in the U.S., without qualification. This is clearly wrong. (They also neglect the Cambridge Entomological Club, “operating continuously” since 1874, in claiming that NYES was perhaps number three.) I intend to send them a correction.

(I too was guilty at one point of giving out incorrect information about early entomological societies. I’m not sure even now that I know what the first four were.)

Jonathan Rees
former treasurer of the Cambridge Entomological Club

Click to access procesa1957.pdf

“The first truly entomological society in America was the
the Entomological Society of Pennsylvania formed in 1842”

“The American Entomological Society is the oldest
continuously-operating entomological society in the Western Hemisphere, founded on March 1, 1859.”

“Depending on how you count, the New York Entomological Society (NYES), founded in 1892, is either the second or third oldest entomological society in the U.S. The oldest is the American Entomological Society, founded in 1859 in Philadelphia; the Brooklyn Entomological Society was founded in 1872, but merged with the NYES in 1968.”

“Entomological societies which preceded ours and which have continued to publish regularly are: 1) The American Entomological Society, 1867, …”

[Update 2016-09-29: The ESP got back to me with the following: “The ESP was founded in 1842, but fizzled in 1844. After a brief 80 year hiatus, it was started back up again in 1924.”]

[Update 2019-04-16:BHL updated its article to reflect this correction.]

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