Richardson, Sir John

Sir John Richardson, arctic explorer, naturalist (b at Dumfries, Scot 5 Nov 1787; d at "Lancrigg," Eng 5 June 1865). After qualifying as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1807, Richardson enlisted in the Royal Navy. He was retired on half pay in 1815, and he studied mineralogy under Robert Jameson, professor of natural history, U of Edinburgh, and obtained his MD in 1816.

He joined both overland Franklin expeditions (1819-22 and 1825-27) as surgeon and naturalist, and commanded a search party looking for Sir John FRANKLIN (1848-49). Richardson's 1851 book on his own arctic searching expedition contains a summary of his previous work on the physical geography of present northwestern Canada as well as a geological map. His reputation as an accomplished naturalist rests largely on his contributions to the Flora Boreali-Americana and the 4-volume Fauna Boreali-Americana. Richardson presented what probably was the first geology course in British North America to Franklin's officers at Great Bear Lake in the winter of 1825-26.