Alfred Henry Sturtevant

November 21, 1891—April 5, 1970


STURTEVANT WAS THE youngest of six children of Alfred Henry Sturtevant and Harriet Evelyn Morse. His grandfather Julian M. Sturtevant graduated from Yale Divinity School and was a founder and later president of Illinois College. Sturtevant's father taught mathematics for a time at Illinois College but subsequently turned to farming, first in Illinois and later in southern Alabama, where the family moved when Sturtevant was seven. His early education was in Alabama in a one-room country school, but for the last three years of high school he went to a public school in Mobile.

In the fall of 1908 Sturtevant entered Columbia University. The choice, a crucial one, was made because Sturtevant's oldest brother, Edgar, was then teaching Latin and Greek at Barnard College; Edgar and his wife made it possible for Sturtevant to attend the university by taking him into their home. Sturtevant was greatly influenced by Edgar, from whom he learned the aims and standards of scholarship and research.

As a boy Sturtevant had drawn up the pedigrees of his father's horses and of his own family. He pursued this interest

Reprinted with permission from Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 13, pp. 133–38. New York: Chas. Scribner's Sons, 1976.

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