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More on L.B. Woodruff

posted Aug 21, 2012, 6:55 AM by Katja Seltmann   [ updated Sep 12, 2013, 10:56 AM ]
During our digitizing work, one name that we come across quite often on specimen tags is L. B. Woodruff, or just the initials L.B.W. This is Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff, a prominent collector from the New York area. Woodruff was born in New York City on January 1, 1868 into a distinguished family of lawyers and politicians; his grandfather, with whom he shared a name, had been a U.S. Circuit Court judge nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant. Previous members of the Woodruff family founded towns in Farmington and Litchfield, Connecticut. Like his father and grandfather before him, Woodruff attended Columbia Law School, and received his degree from New York Law. After being admitted to the New York Bar in 1893, he joined the practice of Hornblower, Byrne, Miller & Potter, where he stayed until 1917. In the meantime, he married his wife, Helen, in 1904.

In 1919, Woodruff was able to concentrate fully on his natural science research and studies. He was considered an expert in both ornithology and entomology. His scientific memberships included the American Ornithological Union, the Entomological Society of Ontario, the New York Entomological Society (president in 1918, 1919, and 1920), the Academy of Science of the State of New York, and the Linnean Society of New York (treasurer 1902-1921). Much of his collection, which we are now encountering as part of the Tri-Trophic Thematic Collections project, focused on the fauna of the Atlantic seaboard. Woodruff was also sent by the AMNH on a three-month entomological survey to the Virgin Islands in 1925.

In addition to having a desk at the AMNH, Woodruff contributed to the Leng's Catalogue of the Coleoptera of North America and published numerous papers. He is listed in our TCN database as the author of over 15 species of treehoppers, mostly in the Cyrtolobus and Ophiderma genera. The New York State Museum holds the type specimen for Cyrtolobus parvulus, described in 1924 (Jour. N.Y. Ent. Soc. 32:31). One species, Cyrtolobus helena (now known as Atymna helena) was likely named after his wife.

Helen Woodruff died in 1924, and Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff died one year later at the age of 57. He left behind a body of work and a collection that is still being studied by entomologists today. A selection of his publications is listed below.

Many thanks to Dr. Lewis Deitz at North Carolina State University for the information on L.B. Woodruff.

Woodruff, L. B. 1915a    Woodruff, Louis Bartolomew.   1915.   A new membracid from New York. (Homop.).   Jour. New York Entomol. Soc.   23:44-47.   [Cyrtolobus helena n. sp.]  Special Collections call no.: MC 220.226 

Woodruff, L. B. 1919a    Woodruff, Lewis Bartolomew.   1919.   A review of our local species of the membracid genus Ophiderma Fairm. (Hemipt. -Homop.).   Jour. New York Entomol. Soc.   27:249-260.   Plate(s): 23.   [Key to species of this genus; several n. spp.]  Special Collections call no.: MC 220.226 

Woodruff, L. B. 1920a    Woodruff, Lewis Bartolomew.   1920.   Further notes on the membracid genus Ophiderma Fairm. (Hemip. -Homop.).   Jour. New York Entomol. Soc.   28:212-214.   [Describes the male of O. grisea.]  Special Collections call no.: MC 220.226 

Woodruff, L. B. 1923a    Woodruff, Lewis Bartolomew.   1923.   Supplementary notes on Ophiderma Fairm. (Hemip.-Homop.).   Jour. New York Entomol. Soc.   31:188-190.   Special Collections call no.: MC 220.226 

Woodruff, L. B. 1924a    Woodruff, Lewis Bartolomew.   1924.   Critical observations in the membracid genus Cyrtolobus Goding.