John Xantus de Vesey

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John Xantus de Vesey (October 5, 1825 - December 13, 1894) was a Hungarian-born exile and American zoologist. Trained as a lawyer, John Xantus (the aristocratic title de Vesey was an affectation, of which he had several variations) served as an officer in the nationalist uprisings of 1848 in the Hungarian Army. He was captured and exiled to Prague, arrested again, and escaped to the United States via England. In the US he pursued a variety of occupations, including bookseller, druggist, teacher and, hospital steward in the US Army. In the army he met the surgeon Dr W.A. Hammond, who was a collector for the noted zoologist Spencer Fullerton Baird. Working under Hammond as an assistant surgeon, he soon developed an interest in natural history and became gifted collector himself. He managed to use the support of Baird and the soon to be Surgeon General Hammond, getting them to write letters of recommendation on his behalf. On the basis of these he was given a consular position in Mexico, a position he promptly lost after embarrassing the State Department by recognising a local rebelling war lord. Soon after this he returned to Hungary. For thirty years until his death in 1894 he served as the Director of the Zoological Garden of Budapest and as Curator of Ethnography at the National Museum, as well as undertaking collecting expeditions in Asia. In ornithology he is remembered as having given his name to the Xanthus's Murrelet, he also left his name to several fish species.fr:John Xantus de Vesey

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