Ditmars, Raymond Lee (dĭtˈmärz) [key], 1876–1942, American naturalist and author, b. Newark, N.J., grad. Barnard Military Academy, 1891. His early skill in preparing insect collections led to his first position in the division of entomology at the American Museum of Natural History; he remained at the museum for about five years and became assistant curator. While serving (1898–99) as a reporter on the New York Times he met W. T. Hornaday, who asked him to join the staff of the New York Zoological Park; Ditmars served as curator of reptiles from 1899 and as curator of mammals from 1910. He became a world authority on snakes and through his research, collecting expeditions, and writings contributed greatly to knowledge of reptiles and other animals. His works include The Reptile Book (1907), Reptiles of the World (1909, rev. ed. 1933), Snakes of the World (1931), Strange Animals I Have Known (1931), The Making of a Scientist (1937), The Book of Insect Oddities (1938), and Field Book of North American Snakes (1939).
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