The Tales of a Blair Family    

Henry Baldwin WardDr. Henry Baldwin Ward was born into a family of highly regarded scientists.  His father, Richard Halsted Ward, was a noted Microscopist who made many advances and inventions in his field.  His Aunt, Anna Lydia Ward, in 1886, traveled farther North than, any other American woman to that date.  Her study of the Eskimos in Northern Labrador formed the basis of an illustrated lecture tour that she gave throughout the country.  She was also the author of a number of books on poetry and prose.  With this kind of background it is no wonder that Henry became a scientist of note himself.  Today, the highest award given in the field of parasitology is the "Henry Baldwin Ward" medal.  Henry may also be thought of as one of America's first conservationists.

The following biography is a reprint from "The Dictionary of American Biography," Supplement Three, 1941-1945; pages 802-803; Charles Scribner's Sons, Inc. New York, 1973; Edward T. Jones, Editor.

WARD, HENRY BALDWIN (Mar. 4, 1865-Nov. 30, 1945), zoologist and parasitologist, was born in Troy, N. Y., one of four children and the older of the two sons of Richard Halsted Ward, physician and microscopist, and Charlotte Allen (Baldwin) Ward. Both parents were natives of Bloomfield, N. J. Henry B. Ward attended the public schools of Troy and Williams College (his father's alma mater), from which he graduated, A. B., in 1885.  After three years of teaching science in the Troy high school, he went to Europe in 1888 for graduate study in zoology, and for two years attended the universities of Göttengen, Freiburg, and Leipzig, spending the vacation periods at the marine laboratories of Naples, Ville-Franche-sur-Mer, and Helgoland. He was particularly influenced by Prof. Rudolgh Leuckart of Leipzig, an authority on the invertebrates and founder of the celebrated laboratory of parasitology.  At Leipzig, Ward conceived the ambition to found a similar laboratory in the United States.  Upon his return in 1890, he entered the graduate school of Harvard University, where he received the Ph. D. degree in 1892, with a dissertation on the marine nematomorph Nectomnema agile, Verrill, a species he had observed at Naples.

Ward was appointed instructor in zoology at the University of Michigan in 1892 but moved after a year to the University of Nebraska, at first as associate professor, from 1896 as professor.  While at Nebraska he published a series of papers on the parasites of man and discovered the presence in the United States of the human lung fluke, Paragonimus.  He played a major role in developing a two-year premedical course and in 1902 became the first dean of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, newly established at Lincoln in affiliation with the Omaha Medical College.  In 1909, however, plans were made to move the Lincoln unit to the Omaha campus.  When it became clear that, because of rivalries between the two medical faculties, Ward would not be retained as dean after the move, he resigned.Henry Baldwin Ward

That fall he went to the University of Illinois as head of the department of zoology, a position he was to occupy with distinction until his retirement in 1933.  In addition to teaching zoology at the undergraduate level, he established one of the first research laboratories in the United States to offer graduate work in parasitology.  The large number of students who received the Ph. D. under his supervision later made significant contributions to the growth of this science.  To provide an outlet for publishing the results of such research, he inaugurated in 1914, with the assistance of his colleagues Stephen A. Forbes and William Trelease, the series of Illinois Biological Monographs.  That same year he also founded the Journal of Parasitology, the first American publication devoted to the field; he continued to edit the journal until 1932, when he presented it to the American Society of Parasitologists to become its official organ.

Ward's research reflected in part his love of the outdoors.  He early began biological research on the Great Lakes, at first for the Michigan Fish Commission.  For many years, beginning in 1906, he conducted summer field investigations of the Alaska and Pacific salmon.  Besides his papers on parasites, which dealt with such subjects as parasites of the human eye, the relations of animal parasites to disease, and the spread of fish tapeworm, he was the co-author, with George Chandler Whipple, of Fresh-Water Biology (1918), long a standard work.  An active member of the Izaak Walton League of America, of which he was president, 1928-30, and of the National Wild Life Federation, Ward was deeply concerned with national problems of wildlife conservation and the pollution of streams.

Ward belonged to a large number of scientific societies and was a leader of many, including the American Microscopical Society (president, 1905), the American Society of Zoologists (president 1912-1914), and the American Society of Parasitologists, of which he was the first president when it was founded in 1925.  He contributed significantly to the development of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as the secretary of Section F (zoology) in 1900, general secretary (1902), vice-president (1905), and permanent secretary (1933-37); and the scientific honor society, Sigma Xi, as secretary (1904-1921) and president (1922-23). Ward was influential also in university affairs.  At Illinois he worked closely with President Edmund J. James; articulate and well-spoken, he was particularly effective on faculty committees.  He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Cincinnati (1920), Oregon (1932), and Nebraska (1945) and from Williams College (1921).

Ward was a handsome, vigorous man, somewhat above average height; Aristocratic, autocratic, ambitious, and enthusiastic, he demanded excellence of himself and of others.  On Sept. 11, 1894, he married Harriet Cecilia Blair of Chicago, who was teaching at the music school of the University of Nebraska.  They had two daughters, Cecilia Blair and Charlotte Baldwin.  Ward was a member of the Presbyterian Church.  He died in Urbana, Ill., of a heart attack in his eighty-first year, and was buried there in Mount Hope Cemetery.  Sometimes called the "Father of American Parasitology," he was to America what Leuckart had been to Germany.


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