In The American Cockerell: A Naturalist's Life, 1866-1948, botanist William A. Weber pulls together pieces of the life of T.D.A. "Theo" Cockerell, a man who was an internationally known scientist, a prolific writer, and a highly regarded teacher at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The elder brother of the noted scholar Sir Sydney Cockerell, Theo labored in relative obscurity in America while his brothers and their families were basking in the limelight of smart British society.
Despite his alienation from his elite background, he nevertheless became a great teacher, a mentor, a kindly artist and writer of rhymes for children, and the greatest specialist on bees in the world. His contribution to the understanding of wild bees is monumental—he catalogued over 900 species in Colorado alone, and he assiduously collected them wherever he traveled. By 1938 he had published the names and descriptions of 5,480 new species and subspecies. Despite his accomplishments in entomology, however, T.D.A. Cockerell resisted specialization. He was also an early supporter of women's rights, a Morrisian socialist, an avid reader, and author of almost 4,000 published scientific papers, book reviews, and discussions of social issues.
Pieced together from T.D.A.'s little-known autobiographical writings, demonstrates this extraordinary individual's tremendous breadth of interest, competence, and talent. It will be of interest to scientists and lay readers alike.