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Naming an Undescribed Dragonfly: Williamson’s Williamsonia and the Travails of R. Heber Howe Jr.
Harold B. White III and Mark F. O’Brien

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 24, Monograph 14 (2017): 1–43

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1 2017 NORTHEASTERN NATURALIST 24(Monograph 14):1–43 Naming an Undescribed Dragonfly: Williamson’s Williamsonia and the Travails of R. Heber Howe Jr. Harold B. White III1,* and Mark F. O’Brien2 Abstract - R. Heber Howe Jr. (1875–1932), a New England preparatory school teacher and natural historian, became interested in dragonflies after one of his students found the rare Williamsonia lintneri (Hagen) (Ringed Boghaunter) on school property. Subsequently, Howe quickly became a prominent regional authority on Odonata through his own studies and through his frequent correspondence with E.B. Williamson and other established dragonfly authorities. In 1922, while Howe was drafting an article on the history of W. lintneri, Williamson discovered a second species of Williamsonia, which Howe may have also recognized. Correspondence archived from this period reveals a dispute between Howe and Williamson about naming and describing the new species that peripherally involved Philip P. Calvert and Clarence H. Kennedy, other well-established dragonfly specialists, and Canadian entomologists James H. McDunnough and Edmund M. Walker. Howe’s position in the dispute that the new species had previously been named in the literature, though not formally described, did not prevent Williamson from describing and naming Williamsonia fletcheri (Ebony Boghaunter). Yet behind the scenes, expressed in letters, the saga reveals tensions that can develop, exposing personality traits, among specialists with competing interests. Introduction Williamsonia stands out as the least known and therefore among the most sought-after genera of North American dragonflies. Two species exist: W. lintneri (Hagen) (Ringed Boghaunter), found in New England and as far west as Wisconsin, and W. fletcheri Williamson (Ebony Boghaunter), found in northern states from Minnesota to Maine and across southern Canada from Nova Scotia to Manitoba (Fig. 1; Ross and O’Brien 1999). Both rarely encountered species inhabit acid bogs and have very early flight seasons (Paulson 2011). Dragonfly enthusiasts in Michigan named their newsletter Williamsonia and those in Vermont named theirs The Boghaunter after these elusive insects. The genus defied classification by authorities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hagen (1867) referred to 2 female specimens, from Manitoba, which he called Diplax vacua but did not describe. Later he described Cordulia lintneri based on specimens from New York (Hagen 1878). In 1890, Hagen gave a more thorough description, included a figure of the species, and indicated that the specimens from Manitoba (which he now referred to as Libellula vacua) were the same species as 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716. 2Insect Division, Museum of Zoology, The University of Michigan, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2228. *Corresponding author - Manuscript Editor: Bryan Pfeiffer Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 2 Figure 1. Two species of Williamsonia. Left: Williamsonia lintneri ♂, photographed eating a crane fly at Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area, Shiawassee County, MI, 31 May 2014. Photograph © M.F. O'Brien. Right: Williamsonia fletcheri ♂, Farmington, Strafford County, NH, 18 May 2012. Photograph © Scott A. Young, used with permission. the ones from New York. He noted similarities with what became Helocordulia. Calvert (1895) placed the species with Somatochlora. Needham and Betten (1901) had placed the species in Dorocordulia, and suggested affinities with Neurocordulia. Recognizing that the species did not easily fit into existing genera, Davis (1913) erected the new genus Williamsonia for the then-presumed monotypic W. lintneri in honor of E. (Edward) B. (Bruce) Williamson. Subsequently, Williamson (1923) himself had the distinction of describing W. fletcheri (i.e., Williamson’s Williamsonia). Several months later, R. (Reginald) Heber Howe Jr. (1923a), published a paper on W. lintneri that summarized the knowledge of that species. Behind the scenes of their 2 publications, Williamson and Howe were embroiled in a dispute over credit and naming rights versus historical correctness that peripherally involved several prominent odonatologists of the time (Philip P. Calvert, Clarence H. Kennedy, James H. McDunnough, and Edmund M. Walker; see Table 1) as revealed in the letters among them (Fig. 2). Archives in Philadelphia, PA, and Ann Arbor, MI, preserve many of these exchanges that display the alliances and their relationship to Howe, a relative newcomer to odonatology. Here we trace Howe’s interest in odonates, detail his interactions with well-established Odonata specialists of his time, recount the episode that generated strong feelings, and discuss the tensions that can exist between taxonomists such as Williamson and serious amateurs like Howe who have less formal training and experience. Northeastern Naturalist 3 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 R. Heber Howe Jr. R. Heber Howe Jr., the son and second child of a well-known Episcopalian minister, was born on 10 April 1875 in Quincy, MA. He spent most of his early years living in the neighborhood of Longwood in Brookline, MA, an area of stately mansions (World biographies 1899). He graduated from the Noble and Greenough Preparatory School in Boston after which he worked for several years at the Plymouth Cordage Company to earn money for college, before entering Harvard in 1897 (Duncan 1985, Howe 1998). He graduated from Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School in 1901 (Johnson 1932). By that time, he had published a number of articles, including ones focused on North American wood frogs (Howe 1899a), the descriptions of subspecies of birds (Howe 1900) and a mammal (Howe 1901), and details of the breeding behavior of the American Robin in eastern Massachusetts (Howe 1898). He also authored or co-authored 4 books on birds that documented each bird and showed he had a keen interest in biogeography (Howe 1896, 1899b; Figure 2. A map showing the locations of dragonfly authorities in 1922 when a dispute erupted between R. Heber Howe Jr. and E B. Williamson over the describing of Williamsonia fletcheri, a rare dragonfly (Williamson 1923). The arrows and numbers indicate archived correspondence among the various people involved in this disagreement and cited in this article that are preserved in the Bentley Historical Archives and Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library Archives at Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and the Ernst Mayr Library of Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. The circled numbers represent the number of referenced letters sent from one naturalist to another. For example, we cite 17 letters from Howe to Williamson and 4 from Williamson to Howe. Many letters to Howe were not preserved. The few that we have are carbon or hand-written copies retained by the writer. Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 4 Table 1. Thumbnail profiles of people associated with the discovery and c ontroversy over the description of Williamsonia fletcheri. Entomologist Position Editorships Society Presidencies R. Heber Howe, Jr., D.Sc. Preparatory school science (1875–1932) teacher, suburban Boston E.B. Williamson, B.S. President of Wells County Bank, Indiana Academy of Sciences (1918–1919) (1877–1933) Bluffton, IN C.H. Kennedy, Ph.D. Professor of Entomology, Annals of the Entomological Society Entomological Society of America (1935) (1879–1952) University of Ohio of America (1929–1945) P.P. Calvert, Ph.D. Professor of Zoology, Entomological News American Entomological Society (1900–1915) (1871–1961) University of Pennsylvania (1911–1943) Entomological Society of America (1914) E.M. Walker, M.D. Professor of Zoology, Canadian Entomologist Entomological Society of America (1939) (1877–1969) University of Toronto (1910–1921) J. McDunnough, Ph.D. Chief of Entomology, Canadian Entomologist (1877–1962) Canadian Department of (1921–1938) Agriculture, Ottawa Northeastern Naturalist 5 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Howe and Allen 1901; Howe and Sturtevant 1899). He continued to publish short notes on birds in The Auk. Following graduation from Harvard, Howe became an instructor at the newly founded Middlesex School, a boys preparatory school in Concord, MA (Fortmiller 2003), where he taught science for the next 20 years, established the Thoreau Museum of Natural History, and coached crew. In addition, he became an expert and published numerous articles on North American lichens, including a field guide with his wife (Howe and Howe 1906–1908).1 His work on lichens (Howe 1914a) served as his thesis for a Docteur de l’Université degree in natural science obtained from the Sorbonne in France during a sabbatical leave from July 1911 to September 1912 (Fortmiller 2003, Howe 1926). Circa 1913, Howe developed a passion for dragonflies initiated by learning from P.P. Calvert that the rare Williamsonia lintneri captured by one of his students, E.L. Pierson Jr., on the Middlesex School grounds in 1908 was only the second record of the species from New England (Pierson 1915, Skinner 1915). After his second sabbatical leave taken at the Entomological Laboratory of Harvard University’s Bussey Institution from 1921 to 1923, Howe became the founding Headmaster of the Belmont Hill School. He died of a heart attack on 28 January 1932 at the age of 56 (Duncan 1985, Howe 1998). The obituary published by the Boston Society of Natural History stated that “the community has lost a highly esteemed teacher and naturalist” (Johnson 1932). E.B. Williamson Two years after Howe was born, E.B. Williamson was born on 10 July 1877 in Marion, IN. For most of his life, he resided in Bluffton, IN, where his father, Lent A. Williamson, became president of the Wells County Bank, a position E.B. Williamson later held from 1918 until the bank folded in 1928 during the Depression. Growing up, Williamson’s father introduced him to various aspects of natural history, especially collecting dragonflies. Williamson entered Ohio State University in 1894 where he took a wide variety of science courses, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1898. In September 1898, shortly after he had become an assistant curator of insects at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, he initiated a long corresponding relationship with Philip P. Calvert, a dragonfly specialist in Philadelphia (Calvert 1935). Apparently, Williamson did not get along with his supervisor at the Carnegie Museum (Mallis 1971) and after a year left for a new job teaching high school in Salem, OH. In 1900, he held a fellowship at Vanderbilt University where he again specialized in zoology. In the summer of 1901, he and Clarence H. Kennedy were zoology instructors at the Winona Lake Field Station of the University of Indiana (Kennedy 1951). In 1902, after his marriage, Williamson began work as a cashier at his father’s bank (Gaige 1933). His association with the bank provided Williamson with the means to travel and collect Odonata in the tropics, beginning with a trip to Guatemala in 1905 and later visits to various Central and South American countries, often accompanied by his cousin Jesse Williamson (Gaige 1933). In addition to Odonata, Williamson had Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 6 strong interests in birds, having a collection of some 1200 eggs from 93 species, and in growing and breeding irises, a hobby that sustained him as a business during the Depression (Calvert 1935). Despite becoming president of the Wells County Bank in 1918 after the death of his father, having a demanding work load, and often being in poor health, he continued to be one of the leading dragonfly taxonomists in North America. In all, he described 14 new genera and 92 species of Odonata. In his final years, Williamson served as a curator at the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan. He died on 28 February 1933 at the age of 55 following a stroke. Williamson’s stature as an entomologist and natural historian was marked by a number of laudatory obituaries (Calvert 1935, Davis 1934, Gaige 1933), including one in Science (Payne 1933). Howe’s Rise as a Regional Dragonfly Authority (1915–1922) Howe’s first correspondence with Williamson, Calvert, and probably other odonatologists began in 1915 and showed his interest and the likely interest of Odonata authorities in Williamsonia lintneri. He wrote the following letter to E.B. Williamson on 27 July 1915 (Bentley, Williamson:Howe):2 Dear Sir:- Would you be willing to identify for me some local Odonata? I would appreciate it very much if you could find some time to do so of course you may keep the duplicate material that I send. One of my students secured Williamsonia lintneri Hagen here about our pond and since then we have become very much interested in making a local collection for the museum. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. This letter was followed by another to Williamson on 31 July 1915 relating to the identification of specimens he had caught and indicating an interest in identifying nymphs as well. Another prominent odonatologist of the time was Philip P. Calvert, Professor of Zoology at the University of Pennsylvania, president of the American Entomological Society, recent past president of the Entomological Society of America, and editor of Entomological News (Table 1). Howe’s earliest of many letters to Calvert (below) that we have, came on 5 September 1915, a little later than his to Williamson (ANSP, Calvert:Howe). Dear Sir:- Could you spare me a copy of your list of Odonata of Philadelphia and vicinity? I would be very grateful for a copy. During this past summer I have collected here in Concord 49 species of Odonata which have been determined through the kindness of Mr. Williamson and Dr. Muttkowski.3 Your kind aid to one of my pupils,—Pierson two years ago, when he secured Williamsonia lintneri, led me to collect during my first summer in Concord. I usually am in New Hampshire during the collecting months. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. In the ensuing years, Howe quickly became familiar with the Odonata of New England, publishing his first paper in 1916 on species found in Concord (Howe Northeastern Naturalist 7 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 1916). He sought information, and received help and identifications from Calvert and Williamson, and soon became a source of expertise for others in New England (White 2016). He continued to publish articles on Odonata from various locations in New England (Howe 1917, 1918, 1919a, 1919b, 1920). Although we have no letters from Calvert to Howe, the following excerpt from a letter from Howe to Calvert on 4 July 1917 seems to be responding to some reproval from Calvert. Howe’s respect for Calvert’s authority is evident in this letter (ANSP, Calvert:Howe): Dear Dr. Calvert:- … It certainly was presumptuous of me to send you for identification specimens that I could have named myself. My explanation is simply that a Mr. Little came with the specimens to me, and knowing that I had only a small knowledge of New England forms, “said where can I send these Florida specimens for determination.” I said at once that, though you were very busy, I thought you would be willing to look at the specimens from that region. Let me thank you heartily for your kindness, and thank you for Mr. Little as well … Sincerely yours- (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. Between 1917 and 1920, Howe privately published in 6 parts a Manual of the Odonata of New England (Howe 1917–1920), as a memoir of Middlesex School’s Thoreau Museum of Natural History that he had founded. Presumably at the request of Philip P. Calvert, editor of Entomological News, Clarence H. Kennedy, another prominent odonatologist (Table 1), reviewed the Manual favorably, with some criticisms.4 He described it as “the first manual of the Odonata in the United States that covers more than a single state” and “the first manual that seriously attempts to give adequate figures to all of the species listed” (Kennedy 1920). He also noted that the illustrated key was “the most valuable feature”. In his letter submitting the review to Calvert on 20 May 1920 (ANSP, Calvert:Kennedy), Kennedy wrote, “I said what nice things about it I could.” Calvert, Williamson, Kennedy, and others had provided specimens to study and figures to use in the Manual. Howe received permission from them to reproduce their illustrations and acknowledged their help in the manual. Subsequently, Howe went on to write 3 additional sections of his manual dealing with identification of Odonata nymphs (Howe 1921a, 1923b, 1927), as detailed in the next paragraph. In 1921, Howe took a sabbatical leave5 in the Entomological Laboratory at Harvard’s Bussey Institution to devote more time to completing the complementary portion of his manual dealing with the identification of Odonata nymphs in New England, for which he received an M.Sc. in Zoology (Posthumous … 1922). He published the section on Zygoptera (damselfly) nymphs (Howe 1921a) and was working on the Anisoptera (dragonfly) nymphs. In addition to his work at the Bussey Institution, Howe also served as director of physical education and supervisor of rowing at Harvard (Howe 1921c). He had been the coxswain on the Harvard crew as an undergraduate. He accompanied the crew team to Princeton in May 1921, which enabled Howe to travel on to Philadelphia and meet Calvert in person. Calvert, writing to Williamson on 5 May 1921, said the following of this meeting (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): “Today, I had a visit of about 2½ hrs from Dr. R. Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 8 Heber Howe, Jr., and was interested favorably in him. He had only a short time to stay as he is a coach on Harvard Freshman Crew, etc.” to which Williamson replied a bit snidely on 13 May 1921 (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): “I infer from your remarks that Dr. Howe is a more decent chap than the condition of his preserved Odonata would leave us to believe. This is true of most of us.” 6 On 23 and 27 September 1921, in brief hand-written postcards, Howe lamented to Williamson that he had been unable to collect any W. lintneri that year (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Apparently, Williamson had no specimens of the rare W. lintneri and had requested specimens from Howe. About the same time, a letter dated 28 September 1921 to Williamson from Edmund M. Walker, a prominent dragonfly expert at the University of Toronto (Table 1), expressed reservations with Howe’s work (Bentley, Williamson:Walker). Dear Williamson:- … I have just received a proof from Howe of his article on the Zygoptera of New England. [Howe 1921a] He seems to get everybody else to do his work but himself. His figures of the gill plates of Lestes and many of the Enallagmas are, in the absence of other characters, about useless for the determination of species. He does not seem to have consulted the literature carefully and has certainly ignored my papers on Zygopteran larvae. He has some good ideas in his paper on the distribution of New England Odonata, but I don’t think his division of the species into two groups, Boreal and Austral, is sound. If he had collected much in Canada, at any rate, I think his conclusions would be considerably different. He doesn’t give enough data to be convincing. … Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.M. Walker [Post Script] (Please drop this “L\r”) In 1922, Howe described a new dragonfly species, Gomphus alleni, based on a single male specimen from New Hampshire, after sending the specimen to both Calvert and Williamson, who also thought it was new (Howe 1922). It was the only dragonfly species Howe described. Much later, Westfall (1945) showed that it was a synonym of G. quadricolor Walsh (Rapids Clubtail). Perhaps through awareness generated by Howe, William J. Clench7 and others collected several specimens of W. lintneri in the Boston area in the spring of 1922 (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). These finds stimulated Howe to study the history of the species that had gotten him excited about dragonflies. In preparation of that historical review, he read the archived correspondence of Hermann Hagen8 who had described the species, and reexamined Hagen’s specimens including those from Manitoba in the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard. On 3 October 1922, Howe wrote the following in a letter to Clench, “Mr. Banks gave me the W. lintneri today—and I suppose this is the specimen that I asked for for Mr. Williamson?” (MCZ, Clench:Howe). Howe, now having a specimen of W. lintneri to distribute, sent Williamson 1 specimen (Fig. 3) collected in Massachusetts. Little did he know that fulfilling this standing request would initiate the unfortunate flare-up with Williamson who had a conflicting Williamsonia project of his own. Northeastern Naturalist 9 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Figure 3. Specimen of Williamsonia lintneri (Hagen) collected on 6 May 1922 by W.J. Clench at Stony Brook, West Roxbury, MA, and given to E.B. Williamson by R. Heber Howe Jr. The specimen now resides in the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology collection. Two Williamsonia Species Williamson’s project began innocently with a letter on 16 August 1922 from James H. McDunnough (Bentley, Williamson:McDunnough), Chief of the Division of Systematic Entomology Branch of the Canadian Department of Agriculture in Ottawa, ON, Canada, and editor of the Canadian Entomologist. He expressed his interest in exchanging dragonfly specimens, offering Williamsonia lintneri from Canada in exchange for Somatochloras. Williamson must have responded positively because less than 2 weeks later on 28 August 1922, McDunnough sent several specimens of rare Canadian Odonata including a pair collected in Ottawa and labelled as “Williamsonia lintneri” (Bentley, Williamson:McDunnough) (Fig. 4). After receiving the gift of a specimen of W. lintneri from Howe in early October, Williamson was able to compare it directly to the Williamsonia specimens from McDunnough, and concluded the Ottawa pair were of a different species, not lintneri. Thus, Howe provided the critical material (Fig. 3) that enabled Williamson to see that lintneri from Massachusetts was distinct from the Ottawa specimens (Fig. 4). Williamson wrote about his discovery to Kennedy, Calvert, McDunnough, Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 10 Figure 4. Pair of Williamsonia fletcheri Williamson. These specimens were collected by Mc- Dunnough at Mer Bleue (not Mer Blanc, an error by the person who typed the label). Sent to Williamson, these became paratypes and are now in the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology collection. and Howe. Before Williamson’s discovery, however, Howe may already have suspected 2 species of Williamsonia from his own research at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), where Hagen’s original specimens were located. Williamson’s letter on 16 October 1922 to his good friend Clarence H. Kennedy (Table 1), who had moved from Cornell University to Ohio State University in 1919, indicated he planned to describe the new species and was looking for more material for comparisons (Bentley, Williamson:Kennedy). Dear Pa,9 There are two spp. of Williamsonia masquerading under one name lintneri. My hopes are rising that I may name one good N. A. Corduline even after my pathetic efforts in Somatochlora. What material is available there at Cornell? It seems fairly certain that specimens Needham had before him for his NY paper (Adirondacks) [in the Cornell collection] are with the real lintneri. Is there anybody at Cornell whom I can write to obtain whatever material they may have? [next paragraph on another subject] (signed) E.B.W. His letter to Calvert on the same date conveyed similar information (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert). Dear Dr. Calvert, There are two species masquerading under the name W. lintneri I find. I don’t know how general the mix up is but it seems probable Needham in his Adirondack paper had the undescribed species before him. McDunnough has a good lot of this Northeastern Naturalist 11 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 dark one I think and I’m writing to him if I can get the series for study. I think Howe has a good lot of the true lintneri and I’m trying to borrow them too. Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. Williamson McDunnough’s response on 19 October 1922 to Williamson’s letter included the remaining specimens from Ottawa, provided more information about the specimens, and suggested the description could be published in The Canadian Entomologist (Bentley, Williamson:McDunnough). Dear Mr. Williamson: I was much interested to hear from your letter of October 16th that the species from Mer Bleue which we have been calling “W. lintneri”, is not the true species. The name was first given by Dr. Walker to a couple of specimens then taken years ago in this locality and checked it up with Hagen’s figures and it seemed to agree pretty well but of course I had no material at my disposal from the type locality. I am sending you all our material for study but in the event of it proving a new species which you would care to describe, I would call your attention to the fact that our regulations would call for the deposition of the type in the Canadian National Collection at Ottawa. Paratypes, of course, could be retained by yourself. I am sure you would be willing to observe these regulations. I had prepared a paper on some results obtained in collecting dragon-flies in the Ottawa region and had included this species under the old name. I will hold this for the present and hope that you will be able to publish the correct name very shortly. If you care to let me save your paper for The Canadian Entomologist, I, as editor, would guarantee speedy publication. Yours very truly, (Signed) J. McDunnough Meanwhile and before he had learned of Williamson’s independent discovery that there were 2 species of Williamsonia “masquerading” under the name lintneri, Howe had written a postcard to Calvert on 17 October 1922 in which he asked for data on the female W. lintneri collected in Concord 16 May 1908 by Pierson his student, that was in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia collection (Skinner 1915). On 18 October 1922 after he had received Williamson’s 16 October letter,10 Howe wrote to Williamson acknowledging the letter and announced he had nearly finished a complete history of W. lintneri. Howe’s statement below that Hagen’s type specimen of lintneri [from New York, not Manitoba] was the same as the specimens from Massachusetts inadvertently helped to sow the seeds for the ensuing dispute (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson:- Thank you for your letter. I am glad the specimen arrived safely—I have since written to ask its sex which I failed to record. As I am working now on a complete history of the species to be published shortly I am naturally interested in your requests. Certainly all the material I have seen represent but one species—and the type (paratype) here in Cambridge is the same. Emmons’ figure11 I am convinced is not lintneri, and is probably a Leucorrhinia. [Hagen (1890) mistakenly identified the unnamed figure by Emmons (1854) as lintneri.] I have seen now, of the twenty-two species [sic] extant, eighteen—and they are all alike. I do not want to “steal your Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 12 thunder” but as I am working on a complete history of the species I would very much like to know to what you refer. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. The next day, 19 October 1922, Howe followed with another hand-written letter to Williamson indicating that he (Howe) had previously examined the Manitoba specimens at MCZ and noted differences from W. lintneri. In this letter below, he concluded that Hagen’s Manitoba specimens “probably represent another species” which could be called vacua. Although that suggests that Howe recognized the possibility of 2 Williamsonia species, one can see how Williamson might think that Howe had not previously suspected 2 species and had been prompted to reinterpret earlier observations only after reading Williamson’s letter telling him there were 2 species. Also, it is unclear how Howe, without having seen the Ottawa specimens, could know that they are like the New England specimens (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson:- Since writing you last evening I have wondered whether your letter referred to the New England examples as differing from the two Manitoba females? Emmons’ plate is not the species at all for various reasons—wing venation, furcate abdominal markings—the females from Manitoba probably represent another species or variation which could bear the name vacua. They are smaller—abd 20 mm, wgs 22 mm, vertex and face is dark, yellow bands only on basal segments 1 & 2, sup. abdominal appendages with acute tips, ventral plate much longer. No male, however, exists for comparison. The Ottawa specimens are like the N. E. ones. As I wrote you I am writing the history of the species, and have unearthed a lot of interests in the Hagen– Lintner correspondences. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. On 24 October 1922, Williamson drafted a letter12 on scrap paper to respond to Howe’s letter and suggested that Howe can go ahead and publish his paper without problems so long as it does not mention a second species, and Williamson would wait to publish the description of the new species (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Dr. Howe, Your letters of Oct 18 and 19 were duly received. The specimen you sent me is a male, West Roxbury, May 6, 1922, W.J. Clench. (I am not sure of the collector’s name.) I am interested that you are working on a history of W. lintneri soon to be published. Prior to receipt of your letter I had agreed to publish on the material in my hands. What I have has really nothing to do with W. lintneri anyway and so far as I know is no reason not to go ahead and publish your paper as you have planned. From the study I have made of my material I believe however it is a Williamsonia, but I reserve the right to change my mind on this. Since you are working on lintneri, it seems to me I should await the publication of your paper before carrying my own study any farther. How soon do you expect to publish? I have plenty of Amazonian material to keep me interested just now as Jess has returned and is working in the bug room sorting material. So I can postpone this Corduline study without working any hardship, provided the postponing is not indefinite. Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. Williamson Northeastern Naturalist 13 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 On 26 October 1922, Howe wrote Williamson, “My history is now almost completed, and I shall send it within a week to some Entomological paper—they will publish it as soon as they can I suppose” (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). On the next day Howe wrote Calvert asking how soon he could publish an article about the species in Entomological News (ANSP, Calvert:Howe).13 This letter below is the first place where Howe states explicitly that he would reestablish the name vacua. This in effect would preempt Williamson’s plans. If Howe were to do this with a description, the species would be Williamsonia vacua Howe, although Howe may have thought it would be Williamsonia vacua (Hagen). Dear Dr. Calvert:- Thank you for your postal. I shall finish this week a historical note of Williamsonia lintneri including the discovery that the Manitoba Williamsonia is distinct from the Eastern species and should be known as Williamsonia vacua. In how early an issue of the News could you publish this short paper? Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. Howe had corresponded with McDunnough, and on 30 October 1922 Howe requested that Williamson send him specimens of the new species to see before he publishes his historical article on W. lintneri (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). At this point, Howe does not seem to sense any of Williamson’s mounting concerns soon to be expressed. Dear Mr. Williamson:- I have just received a letter from Dr. McDunnough in regard to the 8 specimens he captured this past season about which I had written him. He says he has sent you all this material and therefore cannot give me the sexes, etc. represented. He has promised to give me a pair of those when you are through with them. As I was anxious to see one of these Ottawa specimens before I published my history would you be willing to send me one typical specimen, a pair if possible, and then when you are through with the material this pair can be the ones sent me by Dr. McDunnough. I am writing Dr. McDunnough to this effect. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. Williamson vs. Howe Howe’s letters to Williamson reveal that Howe is in a position to report that there are 2 species of Williamsonia, one of which he will refer to as W. vacua based on Hagen’s original species name for the Manitoba specimens (Hagen 1867) residing in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Recognizing that Howe’s plans would preclude his own plan to describe the species as new, Williamson wrote to Calvert of his concerns and his aggravation with Howe on 28 October 1922 (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): Dear Dr. Calvert, [First two short paragraphs omitted here.] I recently detected that there were 2 spp. under Williamsonia, or that there was another spec. besides lintneri, belonging to W. or some closely related genus. Inadvertently, as it now appears, I mentioned the fact to Howe who wrote all he had seen (and he said he had seen all 18 of the 22 specimens) were the same and that he Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 14 was shortly publishing on a history of the species. I have reason to think he is now scurrying around to restudy his material. It is not a large matter but it happens that I have Dr. McDunnough’s specimens, both sexes, representing the new species and I agreed of course to make his material the type and send him my paper for the Can. Ent. If Howe slips in and desc. one of those Canadian females, which may well be the new species, after this tip I had given him (mind you, in his paper he never dreamed of more than one species) and this embarrasses me with Dr. McDunnough, I’m done with Howe forever.14 At any rate, I don’t like the way he is acting, but I’m not going to rush into print with the new species. I shall wait and see what he does. Sincerely, (Signed) E. B. Williamson [Postscript] I enclose 2 of Howe’s letters which please return to me in addressed env.15 Calvert is being contacted by both sides and advises Williamson on 31 October 1922 that he and Howe settle the matter directly with each other (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert). Dear Mr. Williamson, … I am only taking time now to return Dr. Howe’s letters and to enclose a card & a letter from him to me & to suggest that you take the matter of stealing your thunder directly up with him. I have just written him very briefly that you evidently consider that the matter should be straightened out between you two before any papers get into print. As to his card of Oct. 17 to me, I answered it by another that we had only the [badly broken] Concord female—no other specimens ... Please return the two communications from Dr. Howe. Yours truly, (Signed) Philip P. Calvert Williamson keeps his friend Calvert informed with the following letter dated 2 November 1922 (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): Dear Dr. Calvert, The plot thickens. It is interesting, quite independent of what the outcome may be. I’ve given Howe plenty of acknowledged help in the past and I’m not going to detect new species on my own account and turn them over to him to describe. Please return letters. (Signed) E.B.W. In early November, Williamson sent a letter to Howe in which he argues there is no immediate need for him to send Howe specimens of the material from Ottawa that he had requested (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). (Below is transcribed from a handwritten draft of the letter that was sent.) In light of the letter Williamson sent to Calvert about the same time, this letter to Howe is an apparent attempt to delay Howe’s publication and limit Howe’s work exclusively to W. lintneri. Dear Dr. Howe, In reply to your letters of Oct 26 and 30 (I have been out of town a few days), - Thank you for the name of the collector of W. lintneri. As to publishing your paper. If you have no particular preferences or obligations, Dr. McDunnough in loaning me material, asked that I publish in the Can. Ent. Northeastern Naturalist 15 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 and recently Kennedy told me that he understood the Can. Ent. was in a position to publish soon after receipt of MSS. As to the material received from McDunnough, with the understanding I should send him my paper and return the types, W. lintneri is not represented. At the same time I have no objection to sending this material to you, with Dr. McDunnough’s consent, with the understanding that it should be not be used directly or indirectly in any way to interfere with the carrying out of my own as to describing the species as I have promised Dr. McDunnough. Personally, since I state this sp. is not W. lintneri, I can see no reason why the material should be sent from me to you to be returned to me, before I return it to Dr. McDunnough and I should prefer to return all this material to Dr. McDunnough and let him select the specimens to be donated to you. I wish all Dr. McDunnough’s material before me when I prepare my paper, and I therefore see no reason for sending part of it to you unless it is with the understanding such specimens are to be returned to me. Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. Williamson Clearly Williamson is threatened by the prospect that Howe might describe the new species. The flurry of letters back and forth display emotions that continue to escalate in the following month. Calvert’s letter to Howe (summarized in Calvert’s 31 October 1922 letter to Williamson) elicited an indignant response from Howe on 2 November 1922 (ANSP, Calvert:Howe) that showed Howe may not have appreciated the implications of publishing before Williamson. Howe seems somewhat bewildered by Williamson’s strong reaction. Howe also hinted that he might publish the paper privately though his school’s museum. Dear Dr. Calvert:- Thank you for your kind letter. If Mr. Williamson feels that I am in anyway “stealing his thunder” and has so expressed himself to you or anyone else he is doing me a great injustice. I care nothing about describing new species at all—but I do care about “investigating the history of this or any other interesting species.” I have been writing the history of this species for months, and am directly responsible for unearthing the nearly 30 New England records that exist. I supplied Mr. Williamson with his first and only New England specimen as I have promised him I would do for some time. He has written me, I suppose sincerely, that he is perfectly willing I should describe the species and says his problem with the genus is another. He only asks that I publish soon, i.e., why I write you in regard to possible date of publication the facts of which I plan to acquaint him with. February seems the earliest date unless my museum does so. His friendship and the ethics of the case I care much about— this business of trying to out-guess or out publish another worker I despise. The dates of all my correspondence prove absolutely how independently we were working. I wish you would forward this letter to him as my answer to yours, and as an answer to anything implied against me in his to you. I shall do nothing about publication until I get an absolutely sincere expression of what he really desires me to do. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. P.S. Mr. Banks will tell you or Mr. Williamson that I expressly stated in view of Mr. Williamson’s letter I would only publish with his permission. Until I hear from you I shall not write Mr. Williamson. Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 16 On 5 November 1922 Calvert wrote Williamson, forwarding Howe’s letter above which Williamson then transcribed to have a copy for himself before returning it to Calvert (Fig. 5). In a portion of Calvert’s letter, he reiterated that the dispute needs to be settled between the two of them (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): “I enclose Howe’s latest letter, as he asks me to do so, but this isn’t my scrap & I don’t see any reason why your & his letters on the question should pass through me. Get at each other direct. I return also his letters of October 26 & 30 to you.” On 4 November 1922, Williamson, clearly miffed, had already written to Calvert exposing his built up annoyances with Howe (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): Dear Dr. Calvert, Thanks for your letter of Oct. 31. Prior to its arrival I had written Dr. Howe that, with Dr. McDunnough’s current consent, I’d loan him the material I had here with the understanding that he’d make no use of this, directly or indirectly to prevent me carrying with my promise to Dr. McDunnough, i.e., that I would make the material the type of the new species, and would send him the paper for the Can. Ent. I have had no reply to this letter. I infer from your letter that you recommended to him, as to me, that the matter should be straightened out between us before either publishes—a recommendation very satisfying to me. In fact, if he doesn’t see it my way, I should be glad to submit the entire matter to any fair-minded third party. If Howe writes you again and you reply to his letter, if you were so disposed, I think it would be a good idea to call his attention to the fact that dragonfly students don’t pull off such stunts as he is attempting in this case. I regret this matter has come up as it has. My promises to Dr. McDunnough complicate the matter for me. In the past I’ve always been willing to turn any problem over to another worker, if he so wished, as there was plenty for all of us to do. But I do not feel so disposed in this case, not only because of the merits of the case itself, but because I have detected for a number of years a tendency in Howe to use others knowledge and time for his own aggrandizement. I have found it in no other dragonfly student and I’ve regretted finding it in him. 16 Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. Williamson Upon receiving Calvert’s 5 November 1922 letter, Williamson wrote the following to Calvert on 9 November 1922, softening his assessment of Howe’s actions (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert): Dear Dr. Calvert, Your letter of Nov. 5 with enclosures received yesterday. As to the matter with Howe, I’m now inclined to think he did (or does) not appreciate the full significance of the effect on my proposed study of his announcement that W. vacua is a distinct species. This would account for his failure to mention it to me—his failure to appreciate what it meant to me in connection with carrying out my plans with Dr. McDunnough. As to his right to make such an announcement.—Against it is the fact that about the middle of Oct. (at which date he had “been studying writing the history of the species for months”—see letter 11/2/22), I wrote him stating that “two species are masquerading under the name W. lintneri” and asked for loan of material. In reply to this he wrote Oct. 18 “Certainly all the material I have seen represent but one species. I have seen now of the twenty-two specimens extant eighteen and they are all alike,” and Oct. 19, “The Ottawa specimens are like the N. E. ones.” Northeastern Naturalist 17 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Figure 5. Howe’s 2 November 1922 letter to Calvert was forwarded to Williamson on 5 November, as Howe had requested. Williamson copied the letter in his own handwriting (above), wrote comments on it in red, and returned the original to Calvert on 9 November. Howe’s original handwritten letter is in the Archives of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP, Calvert:Howe). Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 18 Really Howe didn’t get very far straightening out the matter in his several months of independent work, from the time I told him there were two spp., that the Ottawa specimens were none of them lintneri, etc. But, let it go, I didn’t mean to discuss it all in this letter, and as I say I believe now it is a mistake in understanding rather than in ethics on his part. [Several pages on other topics follow ending with a short paragraph.] Speaking of wishing to name new species (see Howe’s letter) I don’t suppose you recall an article years ago in Science by Nutting on these modest scientists?17 Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. Williamson [postscript written at the top of the letter] I have mentioned this Howe business to nobody but yourself. Howe clearly did not appreciate the full effect of his manuscript on Williamson’s plans, and other than reviving the nomen nudum, vacua, probably had no intention of literally describing the new species. His hand-written letter to Williamson on 7 November 1922 accompanied by a copy of his manuscript expressed his feelings about the current episode (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson:- Thank you for your letter. I received a letter from Dr. Calvert the other day in answer to one written him to ascertain at your request about how soon I could publish my paper. I wrote him that I would be glad if he would forward my letter to you. I am enclosing herewith the Ms. of my article which is still to be verified in several respects. I will leave out all actual naming of species if you desire as I care nothing what so ever about this aspect of the case. In your letter of last July you said “my mind is clear of N. Am. stuff and my dragonfly thinking is all in terms of Neotropical problems”, it was therefore, you will see, quite a surprise to me after I learned and sent you the long promised W. lintneri that you should be interested in No. American subjects. You will also see that in any event I cannot intelligently complete my history until I see an Ottawa specimen. I would therefore be very much obliged if you would send me a pair which I will return at once. I am enclosing a letter from Dr. McDunnough in reply to one of mine in which I told him I had written you for loan of a pair of his specimens. Psyche or Ent. News cannot publish my paper until February but the Boston Soc. of Nat. History or the Thoreau Museum can do so at once. Kindly return at once Dr. McDunnough’s letters. I want you to absolutely understand that I shall do nothing whatever to jeopardize our friendship. I am perfectly frank and want you to be the same. I cannot understand the point of view of anyone who [lots?] on describing new species—I gladly waive all interest, but to unravel a distributional problem and to publish the history of this species interests me intensely. Kindly return the Ms. As soon as possible. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. [Postscript] I shall submit my final MS, or a proof, for your co mplete approval. In the meantime on 9 November 1922, Edmond M. Walker responded to Williamson’s request for specimens of Williamsonia from Canada and provided information about their habitat. He alluded to his plans to visit Williamson and wrote [not shown] that he has decided not to attend the AAAS meetings in Boston, which enters this story later. There is no evidence that Walker knew about the spat between Williamson and Howe (Bentley, Williamson:Walker). Northeastern Naturalist 19 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Dear Williamson:- … As to Williamsonia I have just one specimen, a male, taken with another specimen at Mer Bleue, near Ottawa, Ont., by C.H. Young. The other specimen is in the National Collection, Entomological Branch, Ottawa. Several specimens were taken this spring at the same locality by Dr. McDunnough, including both sexes. I should be glad to answer any questions concerning the specimen and, if you prefer, could bring it with me when I come, or if necessary send it to you. I have hopes of visiting Mer Bleue next year, as it seems to be a most interesting place. There are a group of ponds in a large peat bog and many things are taken there, including several Somatochloras … Yours sincerely, (Signed) E. M. Walker In response to Howe’s 7 November 1922 letter, Williamson apparently wanted to make his claim to priority in describing the new Williamsonia and wrote the following long and somewhat conciliatory letter to Howe on 10 November 1922 (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). He acknowledged receiving Howe’s manuscript in which Howe apparently referred to the new species as vacua. Dear Dr. Howe, Your letter of November 7th just received and I welcome its freshness and shall be equally frank. First let me state that I have discussed this matter only with Dr. Calvert, and in a recent letter to him I expressed the opinion that I was sure that when you proposed naming W. vacua you were acting without full understanding of what that meant to my proposed study rather than from any unethical wish to “beat me to it.” My “thunder” in this proposed paper isn’t very loud anyway and with vacua named, it is quite silenced. So I do object to your naming vacua and the whole matter hinges on whether I have any right to such objection. If I haven’t I assure you that I shall withdraw entirely from the matter and you are welcome, with McDunnough’s consent, to all the material. If you feel you cannot decide on the matter yourself, I’d be pleased to have you refer my statement of facts to Mr. Banks18 for his decision. If you do not agree with my statement of the facts, let us get in agreement of that before the case is submitted to Mr. Banks. I realize you may wish to draw a very different bill of particulars. Thanks for sending me the MS. of your proposed article.19 So far as we know all our U.S. records of W. are lintneri and all Canadian records are something else, so I do not see why your proposed paper on W. lintneri necessarily involves referring to the other. The title (Williamsonia lintneri – its history and distribution) gives no intimation that a new species is described. As I see it, if you describe vacua you certainly should have McDunnough’s material—not part but all. If your paper is as the title purports and nothing else, then you do not need this material. So I shall await your decision as to publishing before I send any. It really seems to me that the new species might well be described first and then you can discuss any features of distribution, etc. you like without continually sidestepping the other. Why not let Mr. Banks pass on priority rights in the new species and go ahead on that basis? I am not generally so insistent on priority rights but I detected an undescribed species and borrowed material from Dr. McDunnough with the promise to publish in his Journal and make his material the type. Just how shall I go about it to explain to him why I should give up this study and turn it over to you? Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 20 At the same time I realize I am seeing things from my standpoint. You may have better reasons why you should have priority over me in the matter. If we do not agree, call in any body there and discuss the matter with him and if it seems I’m wrong or too insistent, I’ll drop out, and the same friendly and cooperative spirit which has marked our relationship in the past will continue in the future so far as I am concerned. Yours sincerely, (Signed) E. B. Williamson [Postscript] Thank you for your promise to not publish until we have all matters settled. I of course shall do the same. In rereading your letter I find you ask for a pair of the new sp. to be sent you at once. In view of what I’ve written above, if you still wish them let me know and I’ll get them out at once. But I should like to make one package of this borrowed material, for all the time in packing and mailing is just so much clipped off a very scanty leisure. (How would you like a job with no vacations and only night time for scientific work?) Statement of facts: 1. Sometime prior to October 18 (October 16, possibly), I wrote you that “Two species are masquerading under the name W. lintneri. 2. October 18 and 19 you replied to me that you were working on a complete history of lintneri to be published shortly and were interested in my remarks. (In your letter of November 2nd to Dr. Calvert, you “have been writing the history of this species for months.”) And I quote from your letters: “Certainly all of the material I have seen represent but one species, and the type (paratype) here in Cambridge is the same.” “I have seen now, of twenty-two specimens extant, eighteen and they are all alike.” “The Ottawa specimens are like the New England ones.” “I do not want to ‘steal your thunder’ but as I am working on a complete history of the species I would very much like to know to what you refer.” 3. To all of which I replied that as long as you stuck to lintneri you wouldn’t interfere with the carrying out of my agreement with Dr. McDunnough and go ahead, and I also told you that the Ottawa specimens had nothing to do with lintneri. At whatever date you may have decided Hagen confused two species, it seems to me it was obviously after I had written that there were two species under one name lintneri and probably after you learned that Dr. McDunnough’s material was in my hands for description, and certainly after your history of the species had been in preparation for several months, and probably the study of the material completed, as shown by the fact a specimen was sent me. (Signed) E.B. Williamson Howe responded with an equally long typed letter on 13 November 1922 explaining the situation from his perspective and makes it clear that Williamson can describe the species and that he (Howe) will delay publication of his manuscript. He reserved judgment on whether the Ottawa specimens are in fact a new species until he can examine them (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson:- Thank you for your full and frank letter. In the first place Mr. Banks already knows exactly how I feel about your rights to this new species for although I discussed the possibility of two species many times, especially last year when I was working out the distribution in connection with my already published paper, I told Northeastern Naturalist 21 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 him at once on receiving your letter of October 16th that out of common courtesy I would not do so without writing you. My points are just these: my familiarity with the species and particular interest in it dates from 1908. Since last June I have been investigating its history because of ten new records turned up in one year. Your sole familiarity with the species dated, did it not, from the specimen I sent you for you wrote me “I have never seen the species”. I had written Dr. Walker in regard to the McDunnough material and to Dr. Felt20 before your letter of Oct. 16th arrived. Mc- Dunnough’s letter answering mine was dated Oct 26th as you saw. My statement that all the material I had seen studied represents one species, including the type true (paratype). I had seen the New England specimens, and had not seen the two Young specimens nor the specimens (one pair I understood) that McDunnough had taken. Mr. Banks and I agreed for distributional reasons that the McDunnough-Young specimens would be like the N.E. ones for in questions of distribution there are many parallels. The two Manitoba specimens as I have said were queer, I had not seen them for careful study at all this autumn until your letter came when I went and examined them anew. A year ago I had examined them, and noted certain peculiarities I then attributed to age. Now, though I do not doubt in the least your statement that the Ottawa specimens are not W. lintneri, I shall not publish until I see them, preferring, as you no doubt would, to make your own judgement when publication is in view. For that reason as McDunnough has given his permission, I do not see why if you are willing I should not see a pair as soon as possible. Your assumption that “the study of material was completed” is wrong as clearly proved by the fact that previous to Oct. 16th, I had written to Dr. Walker in regard to the Mer Bleue material which even as yet I have not seen. I also wrote you about the exact data of the Clench specimen which I had not taken down as I forwarded it to you. If it actually had ever been my specimen I would have studied it or retained it for study. It was left at the M.C.Z. by Mr. Clench for you to be forwarded by me. I can see no need for further discussion. I do not care to describe the species, particularly under the circumstances would not describe the species. To be again frank the whole matter seems to me to be “small potatoes”. Friendships, problems of distribution, generosity of point of view, advancement of science no matter by whom, all interest me more than the credit of reviving a name for what would appear to be only a variety at best—hence the title of my paper, and its reference to the species which you have read. I must only ask one thing that I wish to make up my own mind on whether the Ottawa material is lintneri or not. Send it now or after you have published your paper—my paper as I have said will not appear until you have seen it in its final form. I enclose a postal that you may be aware of the fact that I am talking on the specimens more or less in public. The club members21 know my interest in the species which began anew last spring when Clench and other members turned up a number of records. It was then I secured your specimen for you as I wrote you. You see I feel differently about these matters than the average worker. If for example you knew or did not know I was working as I am on the genus Gomphus, and wrote you and asked me about a particular point I would not reply as a worker recently replied to me: “I am working on this genus and do not care to give out unpublished facts”. I would send you all the facts I had worked out to date—just as I have sent you my present MS. You in your letter of Oct. 16th spoke of the two species being known as one. I asked: “I would very much like to know to what you refer”. You have never answered this question, and yet I cannot believe that you with-hold the answer because you lack confidence in me as a gentleman not to publish them without your permission! Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 22 Have I made myself clear? You must describe the species or variety—I won’t. I must see the Ottawa material for purpose of scientific accuracy, and will not publish until I do, and not until you have seen the article even if is to post date yours. I shall speak on the distribution and history of this species at a scientific meeting, and shall protect your interests at that time. I hope you will not read into this letter any other spirit than one of open friendliness and broadmindedness. Mr. Banks has read it. I await your pleasure. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. On 18 November 1922, Williamson responded in detail to Howe’s letter and explained why Howe’s manuscript, if published first, would invalidate any description Williamson could publish. He also seems annoyed that Howe considers the Ottawa specimens to be a geographic variety and not a full species (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Dr. Howe, Your letter of November 13th received yesterday and I sent you express this morning a male and female of the new species of W. from Dr. McDunnough. Please return these to me rather than to Dr. McDunnough as I have not checked the series for individual variation. You may rest assured however that only one species is represented in the series. As you write in your letter, my sole first hand knowledge of material of W. lintneri is based on the single male received from you, except that years ago you will see I helped Davis when he described his new genus. But what has that got to do with the new species which I detected before I knew you were interested in the genus and which species you have not yet recognized as you write that certain other things “All interest me more than credit of reviving a name for what would appear to be only a variety at best”? As a matter of scientific accuracy, you were not “reviving” a name, you were describing a species. And on inadequate material at that, as you should have had something more definite than Hagen had before him or some definite reason for your opinion if you were going to base a new species on Hagen’s material. There is no excuse in naming new North American dragonflies on the basis of female material only. You know how I feel about that from former letters. As to your M.S. which you kindly submitted to me and which I returned in a former letter, the title was “W. lintneri its history and distribution”. But, as I objected, you described therein another species, not the single one indicated in the title. Now suppose this paper had been published just as it had been prepared, in your discussion of W. vacua you said nothing about having overlooked it, about examining Hagen’s specimens after our correspondence, and of your final decision in the matter. Do you think this would have been quite fair? I’m not writing this in a carping way but one should be careful in such matters for though in the final analysis it makes no difference who makes the discovery, yet, while we are living and working, you will find each and every real worker proud of his work and of its volume and more or less insistent that the children of his own mind should be properly labeled as to their parenthood. Soon enough will the compilers and text book makers steal his glory from him anyway. You write “You in your letter of October 16th, spoke of the two species being known as one. I asked: ‘I would very much like to know to what you refer’. You have never answered this question”. This is an unintentional oversight on my part, as I Northeastern Naturalist 23 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 thought from my letters you understood that I did not question your determination, as shown by the Clench male sent me, and the second and undescribed species was represented by the series from Dr. McDunnough. I am sorry if I did not make this plain. Well I believe we have all matters ironed out, so let’s get back to studying dragonflies. You have those Celithemis to think about, you know. Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.B. W [Handwritten postscript] As I stated once before, I think I can publish my paper without detracting any from yours if I publish first, and you could then discuss the distribution of the genus, which is really what your paper does anyway. I should of course submit my paper to you before publishing. (Signed) E.B.W. Before Howe received the above letter, he had written on 20 November 1922 to Williamson to thank him for sending Ottawa Williamsonia specimens and in return sending Williamson several specimens of W. lintneri. He now argued that the Ottawa specimens are a variety of W. lintneri (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). He enclosed his revised manuscript for Williamson’s final approval. Dear Mr. Williamson:- Many thanks for the specimens of supposed W. lintneri. They are certainly not typical of W. lintneri but neither are they (the female) exactly similar to the Manitoba (female) specimens. They represent an intermediate form nearer the Manitoba material than the New England—exactly the same species but a climatic distributional variety—at least that’s my opinion. I am ready to return them at once, but I am holding them to know if you wish me to compare them in any particular respects with the Manitoba specimen. I also send you the other specimens I have for your examination— 2 from Concord, 1 from Hopkinton, and 1 from R.I. I am enclosing my Ms for your final approval—make any changes or suggestions you wish in connection with your paper. You can also see where all the other specimens of the typical W. lintneri are so that you can send for them if you wish. My paper will appear in the Feb – Psyche or in the Boston Soc. of Nat. History Proceedings within a few weeks. If you prefer to antedate it, do so of course using any or all parts of my work that you wish or that will be of help. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. [It is now known that the geographic distributions of W. lintneri and fletcheri overlap. Documentation of this includes a photograph of a male fletcheri in tandem with a female lintneri from Wisconsin (Carpenter and Legler 1998), which could indicate hybridization or subspecies status as Howe might have argued.] After receiving Williamson’s 18 November letter, Howe replied on 22 November 1922 proposing to end the dispute, basically agreeing to disagree (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson, Thank you for your letter. I can see no further use in discussing the case. Mr. Banks and I compared today the Ottawa material with the Manitoba and without doubt the former are almost exactly intermediate in every particular—a northern variety of the southern lintneri.22 I am returning Ris’23 postal—I agree that “questions of priority etc. appear to me quite of secondary importance”—that is why I concede all to you—not because I did not deserve a very large consideration under Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 24 the existing circumstances. Friendships and science entirely out weigh stickling over personal rights. One can be I think “as proud” of a generous spirit as of work. Still as I said idle is further discussion—I too have no desire to carp. I am awaiting word from you in regard to the return of the material. I hope you can help me on the Gomphus larvae. I shall not get to the Cape Cod Celithemis for a long time. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. Issue Resolved but Williamson Retains Hard Feelings Although the dispute has been dropped by Howe, Williamson retains his animosity and suspicion toward Howe. In breaking his silence to other than Calvert, he initiates a new dimension to the dispute. In a letter to Kennedy on 18 November 1922, he instructs Kennedy how to interact with Howe when they meet in late December at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston (Bentley, Williamson:Kennedy). Dear Pa, Who besides Howe is working on Gomphus in US? On the q.t., Howe wrote me another worker refused him information on the genus. I am sending you, in strict confidence, a bunch of correspondence which please read in the order pinned together, draw your own conclusions, and, when you are in Boston24 say nothing about it. If Banks or Howe brings it up, you are ignorant but interested. Correct no wrong impressions Banks may have, but let me know and, believe me Mabel, he’ll get all the correspondence. (Signed) E.B. W. [postscript]If Dr. Calvert says anything about this W. lintneri, be ignorant there too, but if you can, see if Howe or Banks have attempted to give it any angle other than the straight one. I’m not afraid of Banks, but I have no means of knowing what Howe has told him. Evidently Howe did not refer my statement of facts to him, to judge by Howe’s letter. Working independently on the next installment of his manual, Howe wrote Kennedy a single sentence letter on 19 November 1922 asking for exuviae of several Gomphid species (UMMZ, Kennedy:Howe). Kennedy received Howe’s letter the day after he received Williamson’s letter. On the bottom of the letter from Howe, Kennedy wrote: “Refused. Advised to do more close field work.” Kennedy’s response to Williamson’s letter on 24 November 1922 described the rather critical letter he had written to Howe (Bentley, Williamson:Kennedy). Dear E.B.W.: I returned the Howe correspondence; and the next day received a letter from him requesting from him the loan of Gomphine exuviae. I wrote him that I had none to loan. I also gave him some fatherly advice on his opportunities for collecting such in New England, if he would get out and put the painstaking work into fieldwork that Walker, you or I have done. I told him how I spent four solid days looking for the exuviae of Mac. magnifica before I found it. How in the West I have literally examined every linear foot of a stream edge for miles for some particular exuvium. How I got the young stages of every Gomphine and Aeshnine that I took in the West. But it took days of extra work. I told him also that anyone could catch imagoes. Northeastern Naturalist 25 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 [Remainder of the letter is on other subjects.] Sincerely, (Signed) C.H. Kennedy We have Howe’s 23 November 1922 gracious, but hurt, response to Kennedy’s letter that includes an invitation to meet and dine during the AAAS meeting in Boston (UMMZ, Kennedy-Howe). Dear Dr. Kennedy:- Thank you for your letter. I have spent many, many hours collecting exuviae, and have gathered a great many—discovering for the first time five species. I do not know on what source of information you should think my field work lacking? If you desire to borrow any of my nymphs or exuviae, I shall always be most happy to loan them. Mr. Williamson and Dr. Walker have been exceedingly kind in loaning material the latter and I have exchanged larvae and imagoes. I am sorry you have gained this unfair impression of my work, and I hope you are here at Xmas. I can show you how far wrong you are. If there is anything I can do about hotel accommodations or if I can put you up at the Harvard Club I would of course be delighted to do so. At least I must have the pleasure of seeing you at my house. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. On 25 November 25 1922, Howe extended to Calvert the same invitation to meet in Boston (ANSP, Calvert:Howe). Dear Dr. Calvert:- It will give me great pleasure to have you dine with me on Thursday evening, December 28 at the Harvard Club if you are to be in Boston at that time. I am inviting several other odonatologists. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. In a handwritten letter to Williamson on 25 November 1922, Howe confirmed he will let Williamson publish first. With it, he sent a female W. lintneri and returned the 2 Ottawa specimens. He also extended an invitation to Williamson to join the dinner gathering of odonatologists in Boston (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). Dear Mr. Williamson, Thank you for the kind letter. I am sending you with the two Ottawa specimens a female as you request. I shall await the publication of your paper before doing anything further about mine. I shall be very glad indeed to get the exuviae you mention for study. I am asking several odonatologists to dine with me at the Harvard Club on Thursday evening, Dec 28, and if you decide to come to the Boston meeting, I hope you will join us. Sincerely yours, (Signed) R. Heber Howe, Jr. This was followed up on 9 December 1922 in a short handwritten note from Howe to Williamson (Bentley, Williamson:Howe): “Did you receive W. lintneri and W. ? safely -? Have you sent exuviae? I am anxious with the X-mas mail conditions.” Meanwhile on 19 November 1922, Calvert wrote to Williamson about other topics but in the first paragraph keeps Williamson informed about his correspondence with Howe (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert). Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 26 Dear Mr. Williamson, Yours of the 9th inst. duly arrived. I haven’t yet written Howe since receipt of his letter of Nov. 2 which you returned; I shall do so soon … Yours truly, (Signed) Philip P. Calvert On 21 November 1922, Walker, who does not know about the dispute with Howe, responds to a 13 November 1922 letter from Williamson. It deals with a variety of subjects, among them the fact that Walker synonymized two Corduline species, Somatochlora charadraea and S. macrotona, that Williamson had described.25 Walker, who was working on a major revision of the genus Somatochlora (Walker 1925), reassures Williamson that these were legitimate mistakes and that his work is very good. The letter also indicates that Walker plans to visit Williamson in Bluffton in late December, a time that reveals that neither of them had plans to attend the AAAS meeting in Boston. In the third paragraph of that letter, Walker makes the following comments about Williamsonia and openly admits to making identification errors based on a cursory examination (Bentley, Williamson:Walker). Dear Williamson:- … I was really surprised and interested to learn that there are two Williamsonias. The Ottawa specimens I determined in a rather offhand way, I remember, because I never supposed there might be two species of such an oddity as Williamsonia, and so rare at that. I shall bring my specimens along, but as it was taken at the same time and place as the others there can scarcely be doubt that it is the same. I have had this kind of experience so often that I should have learned by this time never to take anything for granted, but I have little doubt I shall do it again. I wonder whether Dr. Howe’s Williamsonias are lintneri or not … Yours sincerely, (Signed) E.M. Walker On 24 November 1922 McDunnough, writing to Williamson, suggests a name for the new Williamsonia species and provides more information about the species. (Bentley, Willamson:McDunnough). (Although Howe had suggested that reviving Hagen’s nodum nudum, vacua, for the species would be appropriate, there was never any hint that Williamson had considered that name.) Dear Mr. Williamson: I was glad to hear from your letter of November 21st that the Ottawa Williamsonia is a new species and not lintneri and I am very glad that you will soon have your paper describing this species ready for publication. In reply to your query regarding the name for thus new species, the only Canadian entomologist I could suggest who would be comparable to Dr. Lintner would be the Late Dr. James Fletcher, first Dominion Entomologist, who was a keen collector in all orders and to whom, in my opinion, it would be very appropriate to dedicate this species. With regard to the two specimens you loaned Dr. Howe, it would be alright to allow him to retain these sending him paratype labels. Dr. Howe had written me in the matter and I am only too pleased to be able to let him have specimens of this interesting species. Of course I expect that you, yourself, will retain paratypes for your own collection and I hope next year to be able to collect a long series for general distribution among those interested. Northeastern Naturalist 27 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 I am afraid I can give you no very exact data on life habitats. This species is one of the earliest to occur in our locality and nearly all specimens I took were more or less teneral and were taken in a small spruce grove close to a sphagnum bog which contained several open pools of water in which I presume the nymphs lived. I did not attempt at the time to secure any of these later. When fully mature this insect is very difficult to catch owing to its small size and the rough nature of the locality which it frequents. Writing as editor of the “Canadian Entomologist”, I trust that you will see fit to publish your description of the new species in this journal. Yours very truly, (Signed) J. McDunnough While Walker visited Williamson in Indiana,26 Howe’s dinner gathering of odonatologists during the AAAS meetings in Boston took place as planned. Howe acknowledged Calvert’s attendance with a postcard dated 30 December 1922 (ANSP, Calvert:Howe) writing, “It was a great pleasure to see you this past week.” Kennedy also attended the gathering and had a decidedly derogatory impression of Howe which he shared in caustic terms in a letter to Williamson on 15 January 1923. It certainly seems that any future help Howe might seek from Kennedy and possibly Williamson would be for naught (Bentley, Williamson:Kennedy). Dear E.B.W., [First two short paragraphs omitted here.] I was very sorry to miss Walker. I have several things that he would be interested in. I had lunch with Howe, C.B. Wilson27, Calvert, Whedon28, S.W. Bromley29, and Garman30 at the Harvard Club. I spent the evening getting acquainted with Wilson. I saw enough of Howe to know that he is a superficial nut and a real problem in Odonatology. He assured me that he was almost ready to monograph the American Gomphidae. He said that you suggested it to him some years ago, so he had been slowly getting the material together. Can you beat it? It has already gotten so far along that I am afraid that he is out of bounds to stay. Vernon Kellogg31 spoke of Howe to me as a recent worker who has been doing so much on Odonata!!!!!!! Somebody collared Kellogg at that point so that I did not get a chance to correct his impression. Howe is building a rep like Needham built his.32 Accidentally I introduced Howe to Prof. A.H. Wright, the frogologist of Cornell. After Howe had left he gave me some of his history. Howe is a Harvard man about right. He tried to work on some low plant form, mosses or lichens, and after balling things up decided his eyes were not standing the work. He next tried to work on birds but the bird men left him cold so that he got peeved because he was not elected into the A.O.U. Then he went to England and got some ideas about rowing and came back and somehow got to be a coach of the rowing crew, but there he had no luck so that the crew lost everything. He quietly retired from active athletics. Now he has found an easy and soft opening and has gone into Odonata. I think that we had better begin to protect ourselves. [Final three paragraphs omitted here.] Sincerely, (Signed) C.H. Kennedy The facts and chronology which Kennedy reports are erroneous. Howe was a member of the American Ornithological Union (World biographies 1899), studied birds (i.e., Howe 1896, 1898, 1899b) before studying lichens (Howe 1914b, Johnson 1932), was involved as coxswain of the Harvard varsity crew in college and Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 28 later as a coach at Middlesex School long before coaching the Harvard freshman crew (Howe 1926), and didn’t start studying Odonata as an easy thing to do. On 23 January 1923, Kennedy wrote to Calvert talking about the influenza epidemic and other things and comments on Howe in the fourth paragraph (ANSP, Calvert:Kennedy). Dear Dr. Calvert, … Did you find out any more from Howe as to his ambitions on the monographing of North American Gomphinae? I had intended to talk with him more about it but did not get a chance. I know the news will make Williamson weep. I think that he respects the Gomphine dragonflies more than he respects his bank or family. He would be perfectly satisfied to see you or Ris work on them, but Howe! It is one of those conditions that always seem to come after a great war has upset people’s ideas of comparative values. After having seen a few Harvard men though I can understand it. Their polished crust is wonderful. Sincerely, (Signed) C.H. Kennedy By this time, Williamson had finished his manuscript describing Williamsonia fletcheri, sent it off to the Canadian Entomologist, and returned the type specimens to Canada as indicated in the following excerpts from McDunnough’s letter to Williamson on 15 January 1923 (Bentley, Williamson:McDunnough). Apparently, Williamson never asked to see the Manitoba Williamsonia specimens in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard that Howe could have provided and that were undoubtedly fletcheri. Dear Mr. Williamson: The types of the new dragonfly, Williamsonia fletcheri, reached me in excellent condition last week. It is perfectly all right that you have retained the specimens mentioned. In fact I think you were entitled to even more than you kept for your trouble. However, I will try and secure further specimens this season. The manuscript you mention has not yet reached me but I suppose it will appear within a few days and I shall be glad to publish it as soon as possible in “The Canadian Entomologist”. [Two paragraphs on other matters omitted here.] Yours very truly, (Signed) J. McDunnough P.S. Just received word from the express office that your manuscript has arrived. Howe obviously had not been kept informed about the status of Williamson’s manuscript, because on 10 February 1923 the following postscript appeared on a short cordial handwritten letter from Howe to Williamson, perhaps the last communication between the two (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). “When does the description of W. fletcheri appear? I must postpone my paper I fear from the Feb., Psyche if it does not come out soon.” (In Williamson’s 18 November 1922 letter to Howe, he had ended his letter with, “I should of course submit my paper to you before publishing”, but there is no evidence that Williamson ever sent a copy of his manuscript to Howe, nor informed Howe when it was submitted, accepted, and published.) Howe did delay publication of his paper in Psyche. Williamson published his description of W. fletcheri in the Canadian Entomologist in April 1923. Howe’s article on W. lintneri appeared in the December 1923 Psyche. In deference to Williamson, Northeastern Naturalist 29 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Howe had delayed publication of his paper. In it, Howe also discussed W. fletcheri and questioned Williamson’s choice of types and choice of the species name. “… the two specimens collected by Mr. C.H. Young at Mer Bleue, near Ottawa [1915], Canada, and specimens collected last May at the same location are also Williamsonia fletcheri though somewhat intermediate and less distinct from W. lintneri than the Manitoba specimens, which would have been more characteristic type material. In my opinion it would have been more appropriate to revive the nomen nudum vacua already applied to the species rather than propose a new name” (Howe 1923a). [If Williamson had done this, we might have Williamsonia vacua Williamson and not Williamsonia fletcheri Williamson, but it would still be “Williamson’s Williamsonia.”] After the publication of the 2 articles, there is no mention of the dispute in any known subsequent correspondence except for one sentence near the end of a letter dated 16 February 1924 from Frederick Gaige, curator of insects at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, to Williamson: “I see your friend R Heber Howe has broken forth on Williamsonia lintneri again in the last Psyche” (Bentley, Williamson:Gaige).This indicates that Williamson had shared his feelings about the incident with Gaige. Howe Moves On The years 1922 and 1923 proved to be a turning point in Howe’s career. He finished his extended sabbatical in September 1923 and became the founder and first headmaster of the Belmont Hill School, in Belmont, MA (Duncan 1985, Prenatt 1998). He was busy hiring teachers, designing curricula for the school, recruiting students, dealing with building and grounds issues, arranging financing, and moving his family into the single building on the school grounds, i.e., creating a new prep school from scratch. On 12 April 1924, Kennedy wrote to Howe acknowledging their meeting more than a year before (UMMZ, Kennedy:Howe). Given Kennedy’s scathing impression of Howe in Kennedy’s letter to Williamson on 15 January 1923, his belated letter to Howe seems insincere, or perhaps he regretted his previous actions. Dear Dr. Howe: I find looking over my address cards that I have not written nor received a letter for over a year. I wish to apologize for not having acknowledged your very pleasant dinner and kind entertainment when I was in Boston a year ago. I enjoyed meeting Wilson and other men interested in Odonata very much. All of us were very grateful to you for getting the bunch together. [Two paragraphs follow in which Kennedy says he will be mailing some of his recent publications and wonders what Howe has been working on during the same time. He also notes that he will be meeting up with Williamson in May.] Yours truly, C.H.K. On the same date, 12 April 1924, Kennedy wrote a letter to Charles B. Wilson, who attended the meeting Howe organized in December 1922. In it, he sent his recent reprints and repeated his now positive assessment of the 1922 meeting: “I have Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 30 often recalled with much pleasure the very pleasant evening that we had together in the Harvard group at Dr. Howe’s party” (Smithsonian, Wilson:Kennedy). It was in December 1924 that a dragonfly, Ophiogomphus howei Bromley (Pygmy Snaketail), was described from a female found near the Connecticut River in Massachusetts (Bromley 1924).33 S.W. Bromley, who had attended the dinner at the Harvard Club with Howe, Kennedy, Calvert, and others in December 1922, named the species “in honor of Dr. R. Heber Howe, Jr., whose writings on the Odonate fauna of New England have done much to encourage the study of this interesting order in this region.” The description was immediately followed in the same issue by a description by Calvert (1924) of the male collected not far from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Only 2 of the 62 existing letters from Howe to Calvert were written after 1923. Both indicated Howe was heavily involved in setting up and running the Belmont Hill School. On 18 August 1924, he states (ANSP, Calvert:Howe): “I have been so desperately busy for the past year establishing a new school that I have had very little time for Odonata.” In the last letter by Howe to Calvert in the file, 6 April 1926, Howe apologized to Calvert for not working on Odonata due to setting up his new school (ANSP, Calvert:Howe). He wrote that it would be unlikely he would be able to deal with several questions asked by Calvert in the near future. While at Belmont Hill School, Howe did, however, publish on education issues, particularly on those related to sports. He was committed to the beneficial role of athletics in education and had prescient concerns about troubling trends in sports (Howe 1925). He clearly had a strong sense of honesty and fairness and an interest in developing character in all participants. Given these views, one can understand why Howe found the dispute with Williamson so distasteful. It appears that other than his paper on Williamsonia (Howe 1923a) and publication by the school’s new museum of the eleven-page Part III section of his Manual of the Odonata of New England dealing with two families of Anisopteran nymphs (Howe 1927), Howe devoted full time to his demanding position as headmaster of the Belmont Hill School and never published the final Part IV of his manual dealing with Libellulid nymphs. Although Howe’s scholarly work on Odonata ended in 1927, we know that his interest in dragonflies continued as indicated by his son’s recollection of his father during the early years of the Belmont Hill School. “When I was a boy, it was seldom we went anywhere during, spring, summer, and early fall without having a couple of butterfly nets and a formaldehyde mason jar with a screw top in the car. On any country road near swamp, wetlands, or open water or stagnant pools, we were likely to stop to hunt dragonflies” (Howe 1998). Retrospective The seeds of the dispute between Williamson and Howe had their origins in Hagen’s 1867 paper when he named, but did not describe, Diplax vacua, represented by 2 female specimens sent to him from Manitoba that he recognized as a new species. Later, after he had moved from Germany to the United States with his Northeastern Naturalist 31 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 collection, Hagen (1878) described Cordulia lintneri in French based on specimens from New York and subsequently described it in more detail in English (Hagen 1890), noting he considered it to be the same as his Diplax vacua (the specimens from Manitoba), which he now called Libellula vacua. Hagen therefore had synonymized Libellula vacua with Cordulia lintneri. Hagen himself for some reason did not retain the name vacua in his paper describing Cordulia lintneri, thus contributing to the confusion. The 2 female specimens from Manitoba in the Museum of Comparative Zoology were in retrospect the same new species that Williamson went on to describe using the McDunnough specimens from Ottawa. Even Hagen himself (1890) noted “it is very interesting that the apparent arctic species is found in eastern New York”, but still synonymized Libellulia vacua with his Cordulia lintneri. Howe, in his scholarly approach and with access to the Museum of Comparative Zoology nearby, reexamined the Manitoba specimens he had looked at the year before, after Williamson indicated he suspected the Ottawa specimens from McDunnough were a second Williamsonia species. Howe felt, in deference to Hagen, that the nomen nudum, vacua, should be retained in the description of the new Williamsonia species. Williamson felt fully justified in naming and describing Williamsonia fletcheri. Williamson, being the first to see the specimens from McDunnough, had no reason to use Hagen’s name for something that had never been described, and was within his rights to describe the species and provide a name of his choosing. Of course, had Howe given the briefest description of the Manitoba specimen at the Museum of Comparative Zoology and how it differed from W. lintneri, and had he published it first in his paper on W. lintneri, he would have had priority under the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (de la Torre-Bueno 1913, Nutting 1912). It would have been known as Williamsonia vacua Howe, and that certainly would have “stolen Willamson’s thunder”, and there would be no Williamson’s Williamsonia. What probably upset Williamson the most was it appeared that only after he made it known about the McDunnough specimens from Ottawa did Howe go and reexamine the Manitoba specimens at Museum of Comparative Zoology. It is clear that Williamson was agitated by what he perceived as opportunistic behavior by Howe, who also had less published experience in insect systematics. Furthermore, if Howe had gone on to describe the new species based on Hagen’s Manitoba specimens, Howe would have been basing such a description without a male specimen for genitalic comparison, certainly something that Williamson thought was poor taxonomic practice. In the year before the recognition of a second species of Williamsonia, Williamson’s comments in a postcard to Calvert (13 May 1921) and Walker’s concerns in a letter to Williamson (28 September 1921) suggested that these established odonatologists had reservations about Howe’s work. When Williamson became aware of Howe’s historical manuscript on W. lintneri and realized it could jeopardize his plans to describe the second species, he solicited the help of Calvert to delay or avert Howe’s efforts to publish. But Calvert refused to take sides. Even after Howe wrote Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 32 that he would defer to Williamson’s wishes to name and describe the new species and withdrew from challenging Williamson any further, Williamson, apparently distrustful of Howe, involved Kennedy who proved to be a willing ally with antipathy for the “Harvard elite”. Kennedy, having just received the 18 November 1922 letter from Williamson, resisted Howe’s requests for specimens and directly disparaged Howe’s field efforts, giving “fatherly advice” to someone 4 years his elder. When Kennedy finally met Howe in person after being carefully instructed by Williamson on what to do and not say, he wrote back a scathing description of Howe with many untruthful and erroneous statements (15 January 1923 letter). One can wonder about the sources of animosity and whether they were fair. Howe was perfectly correct that the Williamsonia being described by Williamson had been given a name by Hagen, but never described. It was clear to Williamson that a proper description needed to be done and that he had the requisite background to do it well. However, would Williamson have been so irritated if it hadn’t looked like Howe would deprive him of the opportunity to name a species in a genus that was named for him (Williamson’s Williamsonia)? In addition, perhaps as a source of pride, Williamson wanted to describe a new North American Corduliid. His Somatochlora charadrea turned out to be a synonym of a previously described species, Somatochlora ensigera Martin (Plains Emerald), and his Somatochlora monotona, a synomym of Somatochlora franklini (De Selys) (Delicate Emerald).34 In fact, his 16 October 1922 letter to Kennedy (“My hopes are rising that I may name one good N. A. Corduline even after my pathetic efforts in Somatochlora”) certainly affirms this. Howe must have included some description of Hagen’s Manitoba specimens at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and how they differed from W. lintneri, in his initial manuscript he had sent to Williamson on 7 November 1922, otherwise Williamson would not have seen the threat to his own plans to describe the new species and become so upset as shown in his 10 November 1922 letter. It is possible that Howe did not fully understand the consequences of those presumed comments about the Manitoba specimens in his “History of W. lintneri” manuscript, and how it would keep Williamson from doing a full description of the Ottawa specimens with his own species name and getting credit. That is, maybe Howe didn’t understand the “Principle of Priority” (de la Torre-Bueno 1913, Nutting 1912). Williamson wrote to Howe in his 18 November 1922 letter, “As a matter of scientific accuracy, you were not ‘reviving a name’ you were describing a species …”, in effect lecturing Howe on the “Principle of Priority”. Howe must have wanted to be the first to note that there was a second Williamsonia species—that Hagen’s Manitoba specimens that he reexamined were not lintneri after all, as Hagen had thought. Nevertheless, Howe’s inclusion of the Manitoba specimens in his manuscript seems justified, in contrast to Williamson’s criticisms of Howe for doing so. After all, the Manitoba specimens had been considered the same species as lintneri in Hagen’s (1890) paper. Therefore, differentiating the two for further study seemed justified. It is notable that in his Canadian Entomologist paper describing W. fletcheri, Williamson never mentioned the existence of Hagen’s 55-years-old Manitoba Northeastern Naturalist 33 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 specimens at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, even though they were surely the same species that Williamson was now describing. It was clear that Williamson was well aware of Hagen’s work. Williamson himself realized that Hagen’s Manitoba specimens might be the same species as the McDunnough specimens he was describing: in a letter to Calvert on 28 October 1922, Williamson wrote: “If Howe steps in and describes one of those Canada females, which may well be the new species …”. Furthermore, Williamson never asked to have one of Hagen’s Manitoba specimens or a photo or drawing sent to him. And on 20 November 1922, when Howe wrote to Williamson ready to return the McDunnough specimens he had just received from Williamson, he said, “I am ready to return them at once, but I am holding them to know if you wish me to compare them in any particular respects with the Manitoba specimen”, Williamson never responded to this offer. The lack of mention of Hagen’s Manitoba specimens by Williamson in his Canadian Entomologist paper on W. fletcheri seems to be a purposeful omission and may somehow stem from his irritation with Howe, though for Williamson to mention the Hagen Manitoba specimens in his paper would not have detracted from his own work. In his Canadian Entomologist paper, Williamson did give proper credit to Howe for supplying the specimens of W. lintneri for comparison: “… and as Dr. Howe had promised me a specimen [of W. lintneri], the specimens sent by Dr. McDunnough were set aside for later study. In October, Dr. Howe kindly complied with his earlier promise and sent me a male of lintneri … and later I obtained a female from Dr. Howe.” (Williamson 1923) Williamson’s sudden animosity toward Howe seems uncharacteristic, as Williamson was a well-liked and generous person (Gaige 1933). Kennedy, on the other hand, frequently seems mean-spirited and caustic in his letters. In contrast, throughout the episode, Howe was gracious even when attacked or criticized. Both Williamson and Kennedy labored under health problems that disabled them for significant periods (Mallis 1971) that may have affected their behavior at the time. In the dispute surrounding the description of W. fletcheri, Calvert maintained neutrality. He was diplomatic and did not say negative things about Howe. Prior to the December 1922 AAAS meeting in Boston, when Kennedy met Howe in person for the first time, Calvert had previously met Howe and then he had a good impression (5 May 1921 letter). He refrained from attacking Howe and shortly after the episode over Williamsonia, collaborated with Bromley on describing a new dragonfly named for Howe (Bromley 1924, Calvert 1924). The backgrounds, interests, and careers of Williamson (Calvert 1935, Donnelly 1998), Calvert (Rehn 1962, White 1984), Kennedy (Emtomologist Kennedy 1949, Donnelly 1999, Osborne 1952), and Walker (Walker 1966) were similar to Howe’s in ways that might have led to cooperation rather than conflict. The 5 men were fairly similar in age: Calvert was 4 years older than Howe, who was 2 years older than Williamson and Walker and 4 years older than Kennedy (Table 1). Williamson, Kennedy, Calvert, Walker, and Howe all came from educated families. They all enjoyed being field naturalists, and all had strong grounding in the biological sciences in college. Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 34 Calvert completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and spent a year doing postdoctoral work in Germany. Walker received an M.D. at the University of Toronto but did not practice. Rather, like Calvert, he pursued postdoctoral training in Germany in biology where he first met and became friends with fellow Canadian, James McDunnough. Due to illness, Kennedy delayed graduate work and did not complete his Ph.D. at Cornell University until 1919 after having received an M.A. from Stanford. Howe’s D.Sc. degree from the Sorbonne in France during a sabbatical year was based on his previous lichen studies in North America. Williamson did not have an advanced degree and was a high school teacher only briefly but had relevant professional experience. Calvert, Kennedy, and Walker were university professors, and Howe was a fulltime prep-school teacher, although he had a nominal teaching position at Harvard in 1922 while on sabbatical leave working on a Master’s Degree at Harvard’s Bussey Institution. While each displayed early interest in natural history, Howe’s pursuits differed from the others in certain ways. With the exception of Howe, the others had published papers on Odonata or other insects by their late teens or early twenties. While Williamson and Kennedy had early interests in birds and had several publications on them, ornithology was Howe’s overriding interest in his early years with no focused interest in dragonflies until he was almost 40 years old. Unlike Williamson, Kennedy, Walker, and Calvert, Howe had not done any classical taxonomic work on any group of Odonata. However, he was well versed and broadly experienced in natural history and had done some taxonomic work. Howe sought the help of odonatologists with years of experience but had not developed the professional relationships that come from years of interaction. Williamson, Kennedy, Calvert, and Walker corresponded frequently and respected each other as evidenced by the number of Odonata described among them in which the species name honored another in that group (Table 2). Williamson and Kennedy, both from Indiana, were good friends who had known each other personally from 1901 (Kennedy 1951) and perhaps earlier (Kennedy 1916). Williamson had partly financed Kennedy’s field work in the west (Kennedy 1917). Their friendship is revealed in the non-odonatological portions of letters between them. The interactions among all 4 were mostly through letters. Calvert met Williamson only once, in December 1912 (Calvert 1935), but they corresponded frequently and had a great respect for each other. All 4 of these odonatologists published in scientific, peerreviewed journals and were highly regarded experts in the field. Calvert, Kennedy, and Walker became presidents of the Entomological Society of America and were editors of prestigious entomological journals (Table 1). By contrast, Howe often published independently via his school museums, though he did submit printers’ proofs of sections of his manual for Walker and Calvert, and perhaps Williamson and Kennedy, to review. Whether because Howe was not of the “Odonata establishment” or was viewed as one of the Harvard elite or an outsider by Williamson and Kennedy, it’s apparent that to varying degrees they did not take him to be an experienced odonatologist despite his Manual on the Odonata of New England and other odonatological work, Northeastern Naturalist 35 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Table 2. Species named by prominent North American odonatologists in honor of each other. Species named for Species named by Williamson Calvert Kennedy Walker Williamson Protoneura calverti (1915) Acanthagrion kennedii (1916) Somatochlora calverti (1933) A Calvert Aeshna williamsoniana (1905) Palaemnema brucei (1931) Kennedy Palaemnema brucelli (1938)B Somatochlora walkeri (1917)C Aeshna walkeri (1917) Walker Somatochlora williamsoni (1907) Somatochlora kennedyi (1918) ANamed after Williamson’s death by coauthor Leonora K. Gloyd in consultation with Fredrick M. Gaige to recognize the close relationship Williamson had with Calvert, as noted in a 1 May 1933 letter from Gaige to Calvert (ANSP, Calvert:Gaige). BNamed for Kennedy’s son “Bruce Hamilton Kennedy, god-son of Edward Bruce Williamson and in reference to the fact that brucelli is a close relative of brucei Calvert.” CSynonym of Somatochlora sahlbergi Trybom, 1889. Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 36 and his considerable taxonomic experience with birds, mammals, frogs, and lichens. He lacked the entomological apprenticeship others had and may have not been considered a credentialed taxonomist, although he quickly became well connected and respected by distinguished entomologists in the Boston area, as evidenced by his election as vice president of the Cambridge Entomological Club in 1923 and 1924 (Emerton 1924, Proceedings ... 1923). In his manual, Howe compiled information on all dragonflies and damselflies for a geographical area (New England) for use by non-experts in the region for identification purposes, which necessitated Howe’s drawing upon the knowledge and illustrations of “career systematists” in the field. He may have been perceived as pursuing personal recognition for work done by others, as expressed or implied by Walker, Williamson, and Kennedy. It is true that Howe sought frequent help from many experts and used their illustrations and information in his work, with permission and acknowledgment. Perhaps Howe’s role as a school science teacher directed his efforts more towards making knowledge of the natural world accessible to the interested public, as evidenced by his several guides to birds and lichens. The fact that he quickly turned his interest in dragonflies into writing a manual on New England Odonata reflected his desire to take a body of knowledge and make it available to non-experts; making science accessible to a broader audience was not something that interested the professional odonatologists at that time. Today, someone with Howe’s approach would be lauded as bridging the gap between the academic and citizen-science worlds. While Howe’s name is little known in this regard, anyone now interested in natural history knows about Peterson Field Guides. In retrospect, the dispute between Williamson and Howe might have been averted if Williamson had agreed to use the nomen nudum, as Howe seemed to want, creating Williamsonia vacua Williamson, and still give a proper description without creating Williamsonia fletcheri Williamson. Alternatively, recognizing Howe’s contributions, Williamson in a gesture of conciliation could have offered Howe coauthorship on a taxonomic description creating Williamsonia fletcheri Williamson & Howe. In the end, Williamson’s stature in the field and the friendships and alliances he had developed over the years gave him the confidence to assert his position and ultimately prevail in his dispute with Howe. Acknowledgments This manuscript would have been impossible without the excellent archives housed at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library Archives at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Harvard University’s Ernst Mayr Library at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives. We also appreciate the assistance of the Middlesex School, Belmont Hill School, and the AAAS Archives. We thank Jean S. White for meticulous proofreading and fact checking. We also thank reviewers for their helpful suggestions. Northeastern Naturalist 37 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 Literature Cited Abbott, R.T. 1984. Farewell to Bill Clench. The Nautilus 98(2):55–58. 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Also a lichen, Vermilacinia howei Spjut, was named much later (1996) in Howe’s honor. 2Letters archived at the Bentley Historical Archives (Bentley) and Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) at the University of Michigan, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library Archives at Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (ANSP), and Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology Archives at the Ernst Mayr Library (MCZ) are referenced to the archive where they are located followed by the letter file name, then separated by a colon, the correspondent within that file. For example, this letter from Howe to Williamson is in the Bentley Archives in the Williamson letter file, and Howe is the correspondent. Most of the correspondence quoted in this article was transcribed by H.B.White III from hand-written letters. 3Richard Anthony Muttkowski (1887–1943), Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Milwaukee Public Museum, was a prominent odonatologist of the early 1900s who published a Catalogue of the Odonata of North America in 1910. 4Howe responded to Kennedy’s biogeographical criticisms of his manual in a separate article (Howe 1921b). 5Howe later extended his leave from the Middlesex School for a second year. 6Williamson himself was noted for the high quality of his preserved specimens, careful observations, and attention to detail (Gaige 1933). 7William James Clench (1897–1984), received his M.Sc. degree in entomology in 1923 at Harvard under William Morton Wheeler. Later, as a malacologist, he became curator of mollusks at the Museum of Comparative Zoology and professor at Harvard (Abbott 1984). 8Hermann August Hagen (1817–1893) was a German dragonfly specialist who moved to become head of the entomology department at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1867 at the invitation of Louis Agassiz (Mallis 1971). 9Williamson addressed Kennedy as “Pa” in his letters for reasons unknown. Likewise, Kennedy often addressed Williamson as “Ma” early in their correspondence. 10It is notable that, almost a century ago, letters sent over considerable distances (Fig. 2) were often received within 2 days. 11Ebenezer Emmons (1799–1863) was the New York State Geologist who named the Adirondacks and first climbed and named Mt. Marcy, the highest mountain in New York. His son, Ebenezer Emmons Jr., magnificently illustrated insects for a New York agricultural report (Emmons 1854). We agree with Howe that Figure 1 on Plate 15 is not Cordulia (now Williamsonia) lintneri as claimed by Hagen (1890) and is a Leucorrhinia as Howe had thought. Likely, it is the common Leucorrhinia intacta (Hagen) (Dot-tailed Whiteface) based on the white face and cross veins in the forewing triangles, though lacking twin yellow abdominal spots. E.P. Felt previously recognized that Emmons’ figure was not W. lintneri, as quoted in a paper by Davis (1913). 12All letters to Howe from Williamson and one from Kennedy are drafts or carbon copies, not originals. 13Howe’s interest in publishing quickly in Entomological News is curious, because in a letter a few weeks earlier on October 3rd to William Clench at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Howe had said he was planning to submit the note on Williamsonia lintneri to Psyche (MCZ Archives). He did eventually publish in Psyche, but it appears that correspondence with Williamson had elicited the urgency. 14It should be noted that Howe is not proposing to formally describe a new species, rather he was recognizing that a species name (vacua) already existed for the species. However, if Northeastern Naturalist H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 42 Howe were to indicate any of the differences between vacua and lintneri, the effect would be to preempt Williamson’s ability to describe the Ottawa specimens as a new species with different name. 15The letters from Williamson to Calvert that appeared to be missing from the ANSP Archives in Philadelphia (footnote 3 in White and Calhoun 2009) exist and are in the Williamson archives at the University of Michigan. Calvert had donated them to the University of Michigan after Williamson’s death as described in his letter to F.M. Gaige on 28 February 1935 (ANSP, Calvert:Gaige). The letters Howe wrote to Williamson on 18, 19, 26, and 30 October and on 2 November, that were shared with Calvert and Kennedy later, were recently found in a separate file at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and have been moved to the Bentley Historical Library (Bentley, Williamson:Howe). 16In a confidential letter to Calvert 3 months earlier on 8 August 1922, Williamson expressed his negative feelings about another Odonata specialist, Robin J. Tillyard, who had a disregard for specimen care and had asked Williamson to do the equivalent of a couple of months work that would be used by Tillyard for a monograph (Bentley, Williamson:Calvert). Robert “Robin” John Tillyard FRS (1881–1937) was a Britishtrained biologist who lived in Australia, specialized in fossil odonates, and wrote The Biology of Dragonflies (1917) (Imms 1938). 17In this speech published in Science, Nutting (1912) complains about rigid enforcement of the Commission on Zoological Nomenclature rules about priority of binomials associated with a first description. 18Nathan Banks (1868–1953) was a systematic entomologist and curator of insects at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Carpenter and Darlington 1954). He was a close associate of Howe’s while Howe was at the Bussey Institution. 19Williamson’s handwritten comment on his typed carbon copy of this letter that he forwarded to Calvert states: “This Ms. shows no hint of any correspondence between us. Howe announces his discovery without any qualifications.” 20Ephraim Porter Felt (1868–1943) was State Entomologist of New York and Editor of the Journal of Economic Entomology (Mallis 1971). 21Cambridge Entomological Club. 22In Howe’s subsequent publication (Howe 1923a), he does not mention that he had looked at Hagen’s specimens at this time and earlier as well. However, this letter and his letter of 13 November 1922 show that Howe had seen the Manitoba specimens in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, as later suspected by Montgomery (1943). Interestingly, Williamson’s description of Williamsonia fletcheri (Williamson 1923) does not mention Hagen’s work, and there is no evidence that he asked to see Hagen’s Manitoba specimens even though he was aware of them through correspondence with Howe. 23Friedrich Ris (1867–1931) was a Swiss physician and entomologist who specialized in Odonata from around the world. 24The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was held in Boston on 26–30 December 1922. Both Kennedy and Calvert presented papers at the conference in a symposium on Adaptations of Insects to Special Environments. 25This certainly must be referring to Williamson’s self-critical feelings expressed in his 16 October 1922 letter to Kennedy. 26Walker, writing to Calvert on 23 January 1923, mentions his meeting with Williamson. “I had a wonderful time with Williamson during New Year’s weekend and did a fine week’s work. He is really a most remarkable man and what he has done through the last few years is almost incredible, very few men could have pulled through the illness he has suffered Northeastern Naturalist 43 H.B. White III and M.F. O’Brien 2017 Vol. 24, Monograph 14 from. I hope you had a good time at the Boston Meetings. I was sorry to miss them, but felt the necessity of getting on with my paper” (ANSP, Calvert:Walker). 27Charles Branch Wilson (1861–1941) was head of the science department at Westfield State Teachers College in Massachusetts and a world authority on marine copepods who had written articles on the dragonflies of Jamaica, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 28Arthur Dewitt Whedon (1879–1969) was Instructor of Zoology at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate of Calvert’s who later taught at North Dakota State University. His M.Sc. thesis was on the Odonata of Iowa and he continued to publish authoritative articles on the anatomy and morphology of dragonflies, the area of his doctoral research. 29Stanley W. Bromley (1899–1954) was a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts in 1922 who later described Ophiogomphus howei. He worked in Connecticut as an economic entomologist, and published many articles on robber fli es on the side. 30Philip Garman (1891–1972) was author of treatises on the damselflies of Illinois and the dragonflies of Connecticut who worked for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, specializing in orchard pests. 31Vernon Kellogg (1867–1937) was an eminent entomologist, administrator, and humanitarian (Mallis 1971) who was Kennedy’s M.A. advisor at Stanford. 32James G. Needham (1867–1957) was a prominent odonatologist at Cornell University at the time who was interested in education and popularizing the study of odonates. He made quite a few errors and was thought by some to be sloppy in his work. However, he is famous for his 1929 book with Heywood on North American dragonflies (Donnelly 1998). It turns out that many figures drawn by Kennedy appear in that book without acknowledgement (Kennedy Archives at the University of Michigan). On 1 June 1920, Kennedy advised Calvert not to recommend a collection of Odonata go to Cornell because “I would hate to see a good collection go to the Dermestids there. J.G.N. has immediate charge of the Odonata there so they are sadly neglected.” (ANSP, Calvert:Kennedy). Still, Needham was highly thought of by many (Mallis 1971). 33Bromley and Calvert both attended the 28 December 1922 gathering in Boston organized by Howe. Correspondence about describing Ophiogomphus howei began within weeks of that meeting (ANSP, Calvert:Bromley). 34It was not until much later that Williamson (1932) was able to describe Somatochlora hineana (Hine’s Emerald) as new to science. Currently S. hineana is listed as an endangered species by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.