Biographies of Kansas Herpetologists

Kansas is exceptional in its history of noted herpetologists; many were born here, some lived in Kansas during formative periods of their lives, and others made significant discoveries while passing through. These biographies acknowledge their efforts and provide context to their lives and times. They also attempt, as possible, to put faces to the names listed repeatedly in the KHA. The list of biographies is not exhaustive; historical accounts are created and updated continually. Likewise, the list will grow as people add to Kansas herpetology.


E. Ross Allen ca. 1949.

ALLEN, E. ROSS
Ensil Ross Allen — 2 January 1908 - 17 May 1981

E. Ross Allen was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
From 1911 to 1922 the family moved several times including Mount Vernon, Ohio, Muncie, Indiana, Akron, Ohio, Middletown, Ohio, and from 1911 to 1913 they lived in Topeka, Kansas.
Ross Allen never published directly on the Kansas herpetofauna. He is featured because of the broad influence he had in herpetology.
In 1924 his family first moved to Florida (Winter Haven). From 1927-to 1929 he attended Stetson University. In 1929 he founded and directed the Ross Allen Reptile Institute in Silver Springs, Florida. The Ross Allen Reptile Institute facilitated research and education about alligators, crocodiles, and snakes, also sponsoring and conducting collection expeditions. During World War II the Institute milked nearly 74,000 venomous snakes to fill military contracts for antivenin.
Ross Allen's life at the time was biographed by C. J. Hylander in the book Adventures with Reptiles, the Story of Ross Allen in 1957.
Ross Allen passed away in Gainesville, Florida.
Last Updated: 3/28/2022 1:54:28 PM Travis W. Taggart
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