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Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

(1783—1840)


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(1783–1840), European naturalist, first visited the U.S. in 1802 for a three-year stay that included work in a countinghouse, study of the Osage language, and the collection of botanical specimens. He returned in 1815 to remain for the rest of his life, serving as professor of botany, natural history, and modern languages (1818–26) at Transylvania University, Kentucky. During these latter years his publications included A History of Kentucky (1824) and A Life of Travels and Researchers in North America and South Europe (1836), along with works on banking, botany, the Bible, ichthyology, Indian culture and language, and many other topics, as well as original verse, so that a modern bibliography lists 939 items, ranging from books to circulars, that came from his pen. Among these is a translation of the Walam Olum in his The American Nations (1836), a work on Indian tribes.

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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