The first North American entomological society was the (first) Entomological Society of Pennsylvania which, from 1842 to 1853, took as its only mission the taxonomic description of American insect species. It did not try to spread knowledge of insects to the general public, nor to encourage the study of economic (applied) entomology, nor to inves-
TABLE I Entomological Societies Founded in 1901 or Earlier, Still in Existence in 2001
Entomological Club (London), 1826
Société Entomologique de France, 1832
Royal Entomological Society (London), 1833
Nederlandsche Entomologische Vereeniging, 1845
Société Royale d'Entomologie de Belgique, 1855
American Entomological Society, 1859 (as Entomological Society of
Philadelphia) Russian Entomological Society, 1859 Entomological Society of Canada, 1863 Entomologisk Förening (Copenhagen), 1868 Società Entomologia Italiana, 1868
British Entomology and Natural History Society, 1872 (as South London
Entomological Society) Cambridge Entomological Club, 1874 Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society, 1877 Entomologiska Foreningen I Stockholm, 1879 Internationaler Entomologischer Verein, 1884 Entomological Society of Washington (Washington DC), 1884 Entomological Society of America, 1889 (as Association of Official
Economic Entomologists) New York Entomological Society, 1892 Union des Entomologistes Belges, 1896 Entomologischer Verein "Apollo" e.V., 1897 Association de Coleopteristes de la Region Parisienne, 1901 Pacific Coast Entomological Society, 1901 (as California Entomological Club)
tigate insect natural history. Although there were between 40 and 70 agricultural societies in the United States at this time (chiefly with the aim of county fair exhibitions), the first U.S. society's members feared that an association with this applied sphere of entomology would weaken the efforts of American entomologists to gain the respect of European entomologists. The Entomological Society of Pennsylvania had as its main project the publication of a catalog (a list of species with nomenclatural data, such as author names, dates of publication, synonyms, and taxonomic references) of American Coleoptera. It was defunct by 1853, when the Smithsonian Institution published the founding member and only president F. E. Melsheimer's Catalogue of the Described Coleoptera of the United States.
The oldest North American entomological society still in existence is the American Entomological Society, founded in 1859 as the Entomological Society of Philadelphia and renamed in 1867. For several years (1865-1867), this society published the first journal to be devoted to economic entomology, The Practical Entomologist. Its Transactions have been published since 1867, and it has published Entomological News since 1890.
The entomological societies of Canada began with the (first) Entomological Society of Canada, formed in Toronto in 1863 (an organizing meeting had been held the year before). Its journal, The Canadian Entomologist, has been published continuously since 1868. When support was obtained for this publication from the Council of Agriculture and Arts Association of Ontario, the society's name was changed to Entomological Society of Ontario in 1871 to reflect this support, but it still served as something of a national organization. Autonomous regional societies grew up across Canada (for example, in British Columbia in 1902, in Nova Scotia in 1914, and in Manitoba in 1945). A (second) Entomological Society of Canada emerged in 1950 to link the provincial societies into a truly national organization.
The current Entomological Society of America (ESA) was formed in 1953 from the union of the American Association of Economic Entomologists (AAEE) and the (first) Entomological Society of America. The AAEE was formed in 1889 (originally for state and federal entomologists, its first title was Association of Official Economic Entomologists; "Official" was soon dropped and "American" added in 1909). It grew out of the Entomological Club, a subsection of the Natural History Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which itself originated at an AAAS meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1874, the year when entomologist John L. LeConte was AAAS president.
Dissatisfaction with the applied emphasis of AAEE and need for a societal home for academic and noneconomic entomologists led to the formation of the (first) Entomological Society of America in 1906, with Professor J. H. Comstock of Cornell University as its president. In 1908, both societies began publishing journals that are still printed today: the Annals of the Entomological Society of America and the Journal of Economic Entomology. In addition, the merged ESA produces other journals, including (since 1972) Environmental Entomology and, since 1986, has owned and published the Journal of Medical Entomology (originally published by the Bishop Museum of Hawaii).
Throughout the period 1906 to 1953, the two U.S. national entomological societies often held joint annual meetings, so members of both (and there was considerable overlap in membership) could participate in each meeting. By the time of the 1953 merger, membership in the AAEE was triple that of the ESA, reflecting the expansion of the applied entomology field in the age of modern insecticides. The strong regional (branch) divisions of the reorganized ESA closely follow the premerger AAEE structure, as do most of the subject sections within the organization (for example, sections for Regulatory and Extension Entomology and Crop Protection Entomology). Today's ESA sponsors a unique program of board certification for professional entomologists. In the past, the ESA had been the institutional home of the American Registry of Professional Entomologists (about 15% of ESA members in 1989 were registered with ARPE). A code of ethics and education and experience requirements, plus testing and continuing education, are elements in the process of "professionalization" that have emerged in only a few scientific fields (medicine being the best example), but these are hallmarks of a technology-oriented profession (civil, structural, and geologic engineering, for example). Entomology's unique status as a technology and a science emerged in the late 20th century, resulting in some confusion over status and prestige, which a process of professional certification clarified for some ESA members.
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