Clarence Cottam

1 Jan 1899 - 30 Mar 1974

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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

Life Information

Clarence Cottam

Married: 20 May 1920

Orem Cemetery

770 Murdock Canal Trail
Orem, Utah, Utah
United States


Married in St George Temple

Anne Ryan

May 31, 2011


April 19, 2020


April 9, 2020


April 6, 2020


April 17, 2020


May 30, 2011

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Contributor: Anne Ryan Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years 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: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years 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 5 years old when The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American aviators, engineers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904–05 the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
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.
Clarence Cottam was 22 years old when The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women's suffrage in America. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. It was adopted on August 18, 1920.
Clarence Cottam was 32 years old when Great Depression: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposes a $150 million (equivalent to $2,197,000,000 in 2017) public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world's economy can decline.
Clarence Cottam was 47 years old when World War II: Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bomb, Fat Man, is dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar. Thirty-five thousand people are killed outright, including 23,200-28,200 Japanese war workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers. Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. The city's name, 長崎, means "long cape" in Japanese. Nagasaki became a centre of colonial Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region have been recognized and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.
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.
Clarence Cottam was 65 years old when John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas; hours later, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One as the 36th President of the United States. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. As a member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate prior to becoming president.
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