Clarence Cottam

1 Jan 1899 - 30 Mar 1974


Clarence Cottam

1 Jan 1899 - 30 Mar 1974
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Clarence was born on January 1, 1899, in St. George, Utah, the son of pioneer Mormon farmers. He earned BS (1926) and MS (1927) degrees from Brigham Young University, and a PhD degree (1936) from George Washington University. After serving as instructor in biology at Brigham Young University (1927-2
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Life Information

Clarence Cottam


Orem Cemetery

770 Murdock Canal Trail
Orem, Utah, Utah
United States

Anne Ryan

May 31, 2011


May 30, 2011

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Contributor: Anne Ryan Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

COTTAM, CLARENCE (1899–1974). Clarence Cottam, biologist and conservationist, son of Thomas P. and Emmaline (Jarvis) Cottam, was born in St. George, Utah, on January 1, 1899. He was raised in this rural community and worked as a farm and ranch hand. His concern for wildlife led him to dedicate himself to wildlife research and conservation. He attended Dixie College in 1919–20 and the University of Utah in the summer of 1923; he graduated A.B. from Brigham Young University in 1926 and received a master's degree there in 1927. While there he was principal of the Alamo, Nevada, schools. From 1927 to 1929 he was instructor of biology at Brigham Young. In 1929 Cottam became a junior biologist on the research staff of the United States Biological Survey in Washington, and by 1934 he was senior biologist in charge of food-habits research. He earned his Ph.D. at George Washington University in 1936. In 1939 the United States Biological Survey became the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Cottam eventually served as chief of wildlife research in the agency. He became assistant director in 1945 and remained in that position for eight years. In 1954, after twenty-five years of government work, he returned to Brigham Young University as professor of biology and the dean of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences. A year later he agreed to help organize and to become the head of the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation and Refuge in Sinton, Texas, where he served as director until his death. Cottam was involved in conservational causes and affiliated with several conservational and humanitarian organizations. In 1969 he fought against the use of a highly toxic pesticide in Texas, arguing that it would harm the Gulf Coast bays. He also helped research the long-range effects of DDT and campaigned for the control of its use. He was involved in the establishment of the Island National Seashore on the Gulf of Mexico and the expansion of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. He was an advocate of the cause to save the whooping crane, bald eagle, brown pelican, and other endangered species. Among his many memberships, Cottam belonged to the Wildlife Society of America (president, 1949–50), the National Parks Association (president or chairman of the board, 1960–74), the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Ecological Society of America, the Soil Conservation Society of America, the American Forestry Association, the Society for Range Management, the National Academy of Sciences, the Texas Academy of Scienceqv, and the Texas Ornithological Society (president, 1957). His published works include Food Habits of North American Diving Ducks (1939), Insects: A Guide to Familiar American Insects (1951), Whitewings: The Life History, Status, and Management of the White-winged Dove (1968), and numerous magazine articles for such periodicals as Audubon Magazine, National Parks Magazine, and Living Wilderness. Cottam's honors include the National Audubon Society's Distinguished Service Award (1961) and a citation from the National Wildlife Federation in 1964 for his work in conservation. He also received similar recognition from the Audubon Naturalist Society, Brigham Young University, and the Department of the Interior. On May 20, 1920, Cottam married Margery Brown; they had four daughters. Cottam was a Mormon. He died on March 30, 1974, and was buried at Orem, Utah. Lauren Williams, "COTTAM, CLARENCE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed July 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


Contributor: Anne Ryan Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

Clarence was born on January 1, 1899, in St. George, Utah, the son of pioneer Mormon farmers. He earned BS (1926) and MS (1927) degrees from Brigham Young University, and a PhD degree (1936) from George Washington University. After serving as instructor in biology at Brigham Young University (1927-29), Clarence was junior biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey (1929-31), assistant biologist (1931-35), and senior biologist in charge of food habits, Division of Wildlife Research (1935-40). He also held the latter position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1940-42) and was in charge of economic wildlife investigations, Division of Wildlife Research (1942-44). In 1944, he became assistant to the Service director, and served as chief of the Division of Wildlife Research, 1944-46, and again as assistant director, 1946-54. Upon retirement from federal service in 1954, Cottam became dean of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences at Brigham Young University. A year later, Clarence became the first director of the Welder Wildlife Foundation in Sinton, Texas. Nearly 150 students from 39 North American universities attained graduate degrees studying on Foundation property and elsewhere under the Foundation’s sponsorship and Clarence’s administration. Clarence’s many awards include an honorary award of Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (1948), the Laval University Medal (1952), Aldo Leopold Award of The Wildlife Society (1955), Distinguished Service Award in Conservation and Forestry of Utah State University (1957), National Audubon Conservation Distinguished Service Medal (1961), Poage Humanitarian Award, Society of Animal Protection (1962), Frances K. Hutchinson Medal of the Garden Club of America (1962), Paul Bartsch Award of the Audubon Naturalist Society (1962), Conservation Service Award of the Department of the Interior (1965), and the Talmadege Scientific Achievement Award form Brigham Young University (1971). Author or co-author of approximately 250 scientific papers, Clarence is possibly best known for his book Food Habits of American Diving Ducks (1939) and his consummate skill and effectiveness in championing environmental needs and wise use of natural resources. His foremost professional passions were birdlife, wetlands, fighting against pesticide abuses, and pursuing the study or defense of each with peerless dedication. He was a man of great energy, wit, intellect, conviction, and integrity. He was a true scientist. Clarence had an extraordinary number of professional affiliations, and many benefited directly from his leadership. Those for which he served as president included The Wildlife Society (1949-50), Texas Ornithological Society (1957-58), National Parks Association (1960-63), and Council of Southwest Foundations (1962-63). He also was a trustee of the J. N. (“Ding”) Darling Foundation and the Rachel Carson Trust. Clarence was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1934. He died on March 30, 1974, in Corpus Christi, Texas. "Clarence Cottom". United States Geological Survey. Accessed on July 22, 2014 at

Life timeline of Clarence Cottam

Clarence Cottam was born on 1 Jan 1899
Clarence Cottam was 7 years old when Albert Einstein publishes his first paper on the special theory of relativity. Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.
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Clarence Cottam was 18 years old when Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was forced to abdicate in the February Revolution, ending three centuries of Romanov rule. Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. He was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the executions of political opponents, and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Soviet historians portray Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects.
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Clarence Cottam was 31 years old when The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of '29 or "Black Tuesday", ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression. The New York Stock Exchange, is an American stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at US$21.3 trillion as of June 2017. The average daily trading value was approximately US$169 billion in 2013. The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of 21 rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building and the 11 Wall Street building were designated National Historic Landmarks in 1978.
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Clarence Cottam was 41 years old when Adolf Hitler signs an order to begin the systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and disabled people. Adolf Hitler was a German politician, demagogue, and Pan-German revolutionary, who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As dictator, Hitler initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and was central to the Holocaust.
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Clarence Cottam was 47 years old when World War II: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
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Clarence Cottam was 54 years old when Jonas Salk announced the successful test of his polio vaccine on a small group of adults and children (vaccination pictured). Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Born in New York City, he attended New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. In 1939, after earning his medical degree, Salk began an internship as a physician scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital. Two years later he was granted a fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he would study flu viruses with his mentor Thomas Francis, Jr.
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Clarence Cottam was 65 years old when The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a "record-busting" audience of 73 million viewers across the USA. The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania"; as the group's music grew in sophistication, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band were integral to pop music's evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s.
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Clarence Cottam died on 30 Mar 1974 at the age of 75
Grave record for Clarence Cottam (1 Jan 1899 - 30 Mar 1974), BillionGraves Record 5927 Orem, Utah, Utah, United States