Butterflies at the Field Museum

Herman Strecker: The Sculptor Who Collected Butterflies

Herman Strecker was a sculptor who lived in Pennsylvania from 1836 to 1901. Starting as a teenager, he collected and studied butterflies and moths, corresponding and exchanging specimens with other specialists around the world, including Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. Herman Strecker first named and described 251 different species of butterflies and moths, mostly in a book he illustrated and published in parts from 1872 to 1900.

Although Herman Strecker was an “amateur” in today’s terms, when he died his was the largest and most important collection of butterflies and moths in the Americas, containing more than 50,000 specimens. The Field Museum purchased this important collection in 1908. It also acquired several thousand letters between Strecker and other leading naturalists of the day.

Click here to learn more about butterflies and The Field Museum’s worldwide butterfly collection and to see some of Strecker's correspondence from the museum archives.