Jacques Gerard Milbert

Birth: 1766


Jacques Gerard Milbert (1766-1840) was a French naturalist and author. He was born in Paris on 18 November of 1766. He showed early in life a disposition for art. In 1795 he became professor of drawing in the Paris school of mines, and two years later was ordered to the Pyrenees to make sketches. During the following years, he was employed on similar missions in the Alps and along the river Rhone, and also accompanied as geographer the expedition of 1800 to the Antarctic ocean.

In 1815 he left France with Hyde de Neuville, the French consul-general at New York, and, receiving from the latter a mission to study the natural history of the United States, explored for nine years the eastern and southern parts of the country, living for eighteen months alone in a hut in the Alleghany and Rocky mountains, and studying their flora. He sent to the Paris museum of natural history specimens of every animal in North America, and discovered also many new plants, and corrected the erroneous ideas that were current in Europe about the flora of the United States.

Many scientific societies of the United States elected him to membership. But he had to bear most of the expenses of his explorations, his allowance from the French consulate being small and insufficient, and he was compelled to abandon his labors in 1825 and return to Paris, where he served again as professor of drawing in the School of mines almost till his death. He died in Paris on 5 June, 1840.

His principal works are " Voyage pittoresque a I'lle de France, au Cap de Bonne Esperance et a I'ile de Tenerife "' (2 vols., Paris, 1812); "Itineraire pittoresque du fleuve Hudson et des parties laterales de I'Amerique du Nord, d'apres des dessins originaux pris sur les lieux " 2 vols., 1828-'9) ; and " Memoires au museum d'histoire naturelle sur I'histoire naturelle de I'Amerique du Nord" (7 vols., 1817-83).

Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1900) Volume 4 pgs. 356-357.

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