Ashmead, William H. (Deceased)
William was born on September 19, 1855, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Elizabeth and Captain Albert Ashmead and attended public and private schools in Philadelphia. William began his work life at the publishing house of J. B. Lippincott Company. Later he and his brother moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and opened a printing firm of their own. They published agricultural books along with more typical books, and soon began an agricultural weekly and a daily newspaper. William became interested in insects when he began editing the scientific part of the weekly. In 1880, he published his own work called Orange Insects: A Treatise on the Injurious and Beneficial Insects Found on Orange Trees in Florida. In 1887, C. V. Riley recognized William’s talent for insects and appointed him as a special field entomologist in the Division of Entomology, U.S. National Museum. He specialized in injurious insects of Florida. In 1888, he worked as an entomologist in the State Agricultural College and Experiment Station at Lake City, Florida, writing another publication on insects. The following year he went back to the Division of Entomology as an assistant entomologist and investigator. He spent 1890-91 studying in Berlin, Germany. In 1895, he was appointed the assistant curator of the Division of Insects in the U.S. National Museum. Meanwhile he attended school, receiving an MS degree from Florida State Agricultural College (now the University of Florida) and a PhD degree in 1904 from the Western University of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh). Beyond his initial interest in insects on oranges, William studied Hemiptera, ladybird beetles, gall wasps, and parasitic chalcids as well as other parasitic insects. Throughout his life he described 3,100 new species and 607 new genera. He published over 250 papers. William was one of the most enthusiastic members of the Entomological Society. He often presented material and contributed papers to the group. He also was a committed member of the Cosmos Club. He was constantly encouraging younger entomologists. He is remembered by W. Dwight Pierce as needing only three or four hours of sleep each night, outlasting everyone when Cosmos members got together to play cards, and as using money and checks as bookmarks. Pierce also commented that William would not file anything, but kept it all in piles on his desk, and yet somehow knew exactly where everything was. William died in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 1908, after a long illness. William was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1901 and terminated membership in 1908.