a word on Gustav Eisen

There is no Wikipedia entry for Gustav Eisen. There really ought to be.

When he came to California from Sweden in 1873 he improved grape cultivation (had his first vintage in 1875), introduced the Smyrna fig and the avocado. In the 1880s he started campaigning to save the giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevadas, and his work contributed to the establishment of Sequoia National Park, where there is now a Mt. Eisen peak.

Throughout the 1890s he served in various positions at the California Academy of Sciences working on mosquitos and worms(he had previously corresponded with Charles Darwin whose last book is about worms). There is a genus of worms, like Eisenia fetida and Eisenia andrei, named after him.

He also wrote books about the Holy Grail, the portraits of George Washington, on the subject of glass, and apparently was interested in Mayan culture, beads and textiles. Sounds like someone I’d love to have a conversation with.

When he died in 1940, his ashes were buried on Mt. Eisen.

(link to a short bio that opens as pdf)


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