Joseph Bridgham


'I have always considered my work worth $6.00 per day, above my expenses, as I make at home anywhere from $6.00 to $10.00. I hope you will consider the matter, if there is much more to be done with you - as I wish to have a satisfactory arrangement and not be obliged to pay out more money than I make.

Letter from Joseph Bridgham to William Gilson Farlow June 5, 1889






Joseph Bridgham achieved recognition in the scientific world as an entomologist and a nature artist. He was born in New York October 15, 1845 and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown in 1867 and continued his education in the study of architecture, working as an architect for several years.

The study of entomology was a pastime he shared with his mother, Eliza Ann (Fales) Bridgham. At the time of his death in 1915 Bridgham was said to have one of the most complete collections of butterflies in the world. His interest in natural history grew and eventually he abandoned the practice of architecture all together to become an artist of natural history. Bridgham developed a repution as a very proficient illustrator and was especially known for his rendering of microscopic images.

Much of Bridgham's work was commissioned by the United States government. In addition Bridgham worked for colleges and institutions throughout the United States as well as other countries. He worked with Professor William Farlow from 1889-1899 on the fungi of North America. During this period he also produced a set of illustrations of North America flowers for Columbia College in New York.

Bridgham died on April 12, 1915 at his home in East Providence, Rhode Island.