Hurd, Paul D., Jr. (Deceased)
Paul was born on April 2, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois, to Paul David Hurd and Ruth Dorothea Bick. He grew up in a small home in the Mojave Desert in California. He attended Colton High School in Colton, California, and then Newport Harbor Union High School in Newport Beach, California. With the guidance and interest of one of his teachers, he became very interested in science and began to collect insects and plants and study birds. He met the mother of well-known entomologist Charles D. Michener, Josephine R. Michener, at meetings of the Western Bird-banding Association. She had a great influence on him and encouraged him to continue studying nature and biology. He published his first paper in 1941 in Audubon Magazine, on a bird census of Newport Upper Bay. He entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1940, but he had to take leave from his studies from 1942 to 1946 to serve as chief pharmacist’s mate in the U.S. Navy. He was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. He returned to the University of California at Berkeley to earn a BS degree, an MS degree in 1948, and a PhD degree in 1950. During this time he held several teaching and research assistantships. In 1950, he was promoted to the position of senior museum entomologist. During the summers of 1952 and 1953 he worked under Frank A. Pitelka on a biological expedition in Barrow, Alaska. He had an unusual experience due to the use of an aspirator to do much of his sampling. He became sick after returning from the trip and it was discovered that he had living Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, and Hymenoptera in his sinus. Paul was appointed to be junior entomologist in the California Agricultural Experiment Station, in charge of a Berkeley project titled The California Insect Survey. He also was promoted to various other research and teaching positions to become a professor of entomology and entomologist of the experiment station in 1965. In 1956, he made several trips to Chiapas, Mexico, to help with a study of fossiliferous amber. At Berkeley Paul taught a wide variety of classes, with a particular affinity for field classes and field trips. He also worked with graduate students and was the supervisor of six successful PhD students. Another important aspect of his work at the school was serving as chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Landscape Planning. He took a sabbatical from 1959 to 1960 and went to Curitiba, Brazil, working with Padre J. S. Moure. Other travel projects took him to various parts of Mexico and Central and South America, often with funding by the National Science Foundation. Paul took leave from Berkeley for two years from 1967 to 1969 to work as associate program director of systematic biology within the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences of the National Science Foundation. He is remembered as having adjusted very easily and was almost immediately accepted by the staff. After one year back in Berkeley he left to serve as curator of Apoidea in the Department of Entomology of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. In July 1971, he started a five-year term as chairman of the Department of Entomology. He continued to work vigorously to make administration effective and the department efficient, and to do as much research as possible. He introduced an insect zoo to the Museum, which Terry Erwin developed into a permanent display. Later, in 1978, the Smithsonian honored him by promoting him to supergrade status in the Federal Civil Service, only the third entomologist on staff to receive this promotion, and in 1980, he was appointed to be a senior scientist, of which there are only five in the Museum. Serving an important role in many organizations, he was editor of the Pan-Pacific Entolomologist for the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, was on the Governing Board and chaired the Advisory Committee for Systematics Resources in Entomology, was president of the Association for Tropical Biology from 1969 to 1970, and received the Congressional Medal for his work as co-chairman of the Program Committee for the First International Congress of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology. He also belonged to Sigma Xi, the Friday Morning Cheese Group of the Cosmos Club, as well as being a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the California Academy of Sciences. He also served as Hymenoptera Section editor for Biological Abstracts. Paul’s early research interests focused on wasps; his doctorate was on the California species of Pepsis. Gradually his main focus became bees, however. He published 14 papers on California carpenter bees, and collaborated with Padre Moure to write A Classification of the Large Carpenter Bees in 1963. He also was particularly interested in the interactions of bees and flowers, doing a study on squash and gourd bees with support from the National Science Foundation. Other flower/pollinator projects involved the creosote bush and sunflowers. He became a pioneer in using computers to store and organize biological data when working with Karl Krombein, B. D. Burks, and later D. R. Smith to create a computerized synoptic catalog of Hymenoptera in the United States and Canada. This catalog received much praise. He then set out to create a series of annotated catalogs on New World bees, but unfortunately only got through two before his death. Paul died on March 12, 1982, of a heart attack within the Museum of Natural History. He was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1971.