Eugene Eisenmann

Eugene “Gene” Eisenmann (19 February 1906 – 16 October 1981)[citation needed] was an American and Panamanian lawyer and amateur ornithologist of German-Jewish ancestry.[citation needed] He had a long association with the Linnaean Society of New York (LSNY) as well as with the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).[citation needed] He was an expert on Neotropical birds.[citation needed]


Eisenmann was born in Panama[citation needed] and, though he was based throughout his adult life in New York City, he returned to Panama almost annually in order to study the birdlife and visit his family.[citation needed] He was bilingual in English and Spanish.[1] He received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1930 and was a partner in the New York law firm of Proskauer Rose until 1956.[1][2]


Eisenmann served as President of the LSNY from 1947 to 1949, and was later elected a Fellow.[3] In 1956, he resigned from the legal profession to pursue his interest in studying the birds of Central America and the adjacent region. The following year, he became a Research Associate of the AMNH, a position he held until his death.[1][2] He was editor of the AOU's journal The Auk in 1958–59, vice president of the AOU in 1967–69, and chairman of the AOU's Check-list Committee from 1966 until his death. He was a member of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.[4] He published over 150 papers on ornithology, and his The Species of Middle American Birds is Volume 7 of the Transactions of the LSNY.[3] He also co-wrote The Species of Birds of South America with Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee.[2]


Following Eisenmann's death from a heart attack in 1981,[2] the LSNY established the Eisenmann Medal, an award to recognise ornithological excellence and encourage amateur ornithologists, with the inaugural award being made to Ernst Mayr in 1983.[3]

In 2000 the Fundación Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann (Eugene Eisenmann Bird Foundation) was established in Panama by a group of Panamanian and American bird lovers with the mission of protecting Panama's birds and their habitats. In 2003 it obtained a 20 ha concession at Pipeline Road in central Panama for the construction of the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center in the Soberanía National Park.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Vuilleumier, François (1995). "Five great Neotropical ornithologists: an appreciation of Eugene Eisenmann, Maria Koepcke, Claës Olrog, Rodulfo Philippi, and Helmut Sick" (PDF). Ornitologia Neotropical. 6 (2): 97–111.
  2. ^ a b c d "Eugene Eisenmann, 75, A Noted Ornithologist". New York Times. 17 October 1981. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "About Us". The Linnaean Society of New York. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  4. ^ Bull, John; Amadon, Dean (1983). "In memoriam: Eugene Eisenmann". The Auk. 100 (1): 188–191.
  5. ^ "Protecting Panama's Avifauna". Fundación Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann. Retrieved 2012-01-27.

Further readingEdit

  • "Eugene Eisenmann," in Tom Taylor and Michael Taylor, Aves: A Survey of the Literature of Neotropical Ornithology, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Libraries, 2011.

External linksEdit