Happy Birthday William Beebe

July 29, 2014

William Beebe with the Bathysphere, in the year he set the world record for the deepest dive, traveling to 3,028 below the ocean's surface with the Bathysphere's creator, Otis Barton, 1934.

Charles William Beebe (known as William) was born July 29, 1877, in Brooklyn and grew up in East Orange, NJ, where he developed a deep love of the natural world. Although he was fascinated by all creatures, Beebe honed his early knowledge in the field of ornithology.

As a well-known and renowned ornithologist, he was sought out and hired as Assistant Curator of Ornithology when the Bronx Zoo opened in 1899. He quickly became the Zoo’s first Ornithology Curator.

Beyond birds, Beebe is probably best known for his pioneering deep-sea exploration. During the dives he took in the small submersible, known as the Bathysphere, he was able to observe underwater animals in their natural habitat — a first for scientists at the time.

On the surface, Beebe was popular and an engaging writer and he used his position to educate people on the world’s rapidly vanishing wildlife.