Thure Kumlien

Date in History: 1843 to 1888

The naturalist Thure Kumlien was born to a Swedish aristocratic family. He migrated to this country in 1843. He was drawn to the Koshkonong area by letters he read from a minister of a Koshkonong parish. When he came to the county to buy land, he bypassed farmland and purchased woodland probably because of his love of nature .

Kumlien failed miserably as a farmer as he was often distracted by the passing wildlife and surrounding plants. He supplemented his farm income by collecting specimens for museums and other scientists throughout the country and Europe. A modest man he was more widely known by fellow scientists than by his neighbors.

In 1883 Kumlien became the conservator for the Milwaukee Public Museum enabling him to pursue his naturalist studies year round. In 1888, while working with feathers from South America he died after inhaling poisonous gas emitted from perservatives used on the specimens. His work can still be viewed at museums throughout Europe and at the Hoard Museum.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 01/23/2006.

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