Charles Russell Orcutt
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Charles Russell Orcutt

Charles Russell Orcutt was born on 27 April 1864 in Hartland, Vermont. His father, Heman Chandler Orcutt (1825-1892), was a farmer with a keen interest in natural history. His mother, Eliza Eastin (Gray) Orcutt (1825-1909), was a poet born of a literary family. As a boy, Charles collected specimens of shells, minerals, and plants, which he displayed in a case built by his father, who was also a carpenter. Along with his parents and his older brother John Heman Orcutt (1856-1928), Charles moved to San Diego in 1879. He worked with his father on the family farm and nursery, collecting plant specimens in the San Diego area. In 1882, Charles and his father accompanied Charles Christopher Parry and Cyrus Pringle on a collecting expedition to Baja California. From these men, Charles learned to properly catalog, collect, and preserve specimens.

Orcutt’s primary biological interests were malacology and botany, but he also had an interest in minerals and mining. He also dabbled in real estate. He married Olive Lucy Eddy (1857-1952) in 1892. Olive had earned a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Michigan’s Homeopathic Medical College at Ann Arbor. She, along with her younger sister Clara, was the editor of the Southwest News and later the Alhambra Review, both Los Angeles weekly newspapers. Charles and Olive had four children: Charles Eddy Orcutt (1893-1952), Mary Orcutt Bisbee (1895-1977), Eunice Orcutt Ivec (1897-1973), and Heman Cortis Orcutt (1899-1981).

Charles Russell Orcutt published a number of journals and wrote articles for newspapers and scientific and popular periodicals. He spent most of his years away from his family in San Diego on collecting excursions to Texas, Baja California, Mexico, and the Caribbean. From 1927 until his death, Orcutt collected for the United States National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) in Jamaica and Haiti. He died of Malaria in Jrmie, Haiti on 25 August 1929.

Although Orcutt never realized his grand ambitions, his name is immortalized in scores of botanical and mollusca specie names, and his archives are held by many colleges and institutions. The purpose of this website is to make accessible his published works. Most are available online in .pdf format from Google Books, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and The Internet Archive and Open Library. But most of the journals, notably West American Scientist are out of sequence or incomplete. They are presented here in the most complete form available, in sequence, with bookmarks indicating journal numbers.

was books periodicals

West American Scientist

Books and Pamphlets


catalogs articles newspaper



Newspaper Features



This website is maintained by Larry Orcutt. I can be contacted by e-mail at Victory followed by the Roman numeral 4, no space and all lower case, at earthlink, which is not a dot com, but rather a dot net. Apologies for my indirectness, but it is necessary in order to avoid robots trolling for e-mail addresses.