About LSNY, Constitution, Funds & Awards, & Linnaeus


American Museum of Natural History © Sherry Felix
American Museum of Natural History © Sherry Felix

Beginnings of the Society

Founded in 1878 by amateurs who met to organize a local natural history society (among them H. B. Bailey, E. P. Bicknell, Ernest Ingersoll, C. Hart Merriam, and the already well-known John Burroughs), the Society has served amateurs and professionals alike. Meetings and membership are open to persons with an active interest in ornithology, natural science, and conservation. The Society’s programs and field trips offer its members opportunities for learning and enjoyment.

LSNY Publications

The Society publishes its News-Letter, containing articles, trip reports, book reviews, announcements, and other items of interest. The Proceedings, published occasionally, contains financial and other reports, articles, and notes. Published at longer intervals, the Transactions has lengthy papers and compilations, such as the natural history of New York City’s parks and Great Gull Island (Volume X, 2007).

The LSNY Constitution

In accordance with its Constitution, the Society is governed and administered by a Council comprising six officers, elected annually, and nine elective members, who serve three-year terms. Past presidents may participate in Council meetings.

The Society has been organized as an unincorporated not-for-profit association, and donations to the Society qualify, as permitted by law, as charitable contributions under the Federal tax code.

The Society Today

Our public lectures, meetings, and membership are open to persons with an active interest in ornithology, natural science, and conservation. The Society’s programs and field trips offer opportunities for learning and enjoyment.

The Linnaean Society of New York meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May, except March, in the Linder Theater on the first floor of the American Museum of Natural History (enter at West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue).

At each monthly meeting there are two presentations, one starting at 6 pm and the other beginning after the Society’s business at 7:30 pm. All meetings are open to the public and without charge. The Society’s annual meeting and dinner is held on the second Tuesday in March in a private venue, and is open only to members of the Society and their guests.

Regular meetings feature illustrated two talks on natural history topics (see the program schedule for exceptions). During the summer, the Society holds informal meetings on the third Tuesday of June, July, and August at times to be announced. All regular meetings (other than the Annual Dinner and Meeting, in March) are held at the American Museum of Natural History, located at Central Park West and 79th Street, unless otherwise announced, and are open to the public free of charge.

Funds and Awards

The Society maintains special funds, such as the Great Gull Island Fund, for the support of research on Great Gull Island (jointly with the American Museum of Natural History), and the Revolving Publications Fund, for support of the Society’s publications.

The Society occasionally grants awards, including the Eisenmann Medal, and elects Honorary Members, Benefactors, and Fellows.

Eugene Eisenmann and the Eisenmann Medal
Eisman AQward

Eugene Eisenmann was a model member of the Linnaean Society of New York—a lawyer by profession, he was an avid amateur ornithologist who became one of the most influential figures in mid-20th century American ornithology. He was editor of The Auk in 1958–59, vice president of the American Ornithologists’ Union in 1967–69, and chairman of the AOU’s Check-list Committee, preparing the sixth edition from 1966 until his death in 1981. During 1947–49 Eisenmann served as President of The Linnaean Society of New York and later he was elected a Fellow. He published more than 150 ornithological papers. His important The Species of Middle American Birds appeared as Volume VII of the Society’s Transactions.

John Bull and Dean Amadon described Eisenmann in a notice in The Auk in early 1983:

“Gregarious by nature, Eugene soon (after his retirement from the practice of law in 1956) became prominent in The Linnaean Society of New York and, later, its President.

“In those days, Ernst Mayr, Joseph Hickey, and others were injecting a strong dose of scientific vitality into the meetings of the Society.  Gene needed little encouragement to follow such leads, and began to spend more time at the American Museum of Natural History.  Because of his increasing involvement in ornithological circles and his publications, Gene was appointed a Research Associate of the Museum in 1957, a position he held until his death.”

François Vuilleumier, a colleague at the museum, wrote that “extraordinary generosity with his knowledge and time was one of Gene’s most remarkable traits.” Reviewing Neotropical Ornithology, prepared as a memorial to Eisenmann, Robert Raikow said that his influence in ornithology was far wider than indicated by his published works, “as he was a friend and advisor to many students, established scientists, and organizations.” Eisenmann’s office at the Museum became a center for students, scientists, and others interested in birds; he was never too busy to see them and he carried on a large correspondence with ornithologists, both amateur and professional.

After Eisenmann’s death, the Society established the Eisenmann Medal, awarded occasionally for excellence in ornithology and encouragement of the amateur.

Our past Eisenmann medalists

1984 – Ernest Mayr 1993 – G. Stuart Keith 2008 – Malcolm C. Coulter
1984 – Joseph J. Hickey 1995 – Guy Tudor 2009 – Kenneth V. Rosenberg
1985 – Olin S. Pettingill 1998 – Dean Amadon 2011 – Alvaro Jaramillo
1986 – Roger Tory Peterson 2001 – Robert S. Ridgely 2012 – Clive Minton
1987 – Chandler S. Robbins 2002 – William S. Clark 2013 – Kenn Kaufman
1988 – Frank B. Gill 2003 – F. Gary Stiles 2014 – Sophie Webb
1989 – Helen Hays 2004 – David J.T. Hussell and
            Erica H. Dunn
2016 – Tim Burkhead
1990 – C. Stuart Houston 2005 – John W. Fitzpatrick 2017 – Peter Harrison
1991 – David B. Wingate 2006 – David A. Sibley  

Carl Linnaeus, Carolus Linnaeus, or Carl von LinnÉ — 1707-1778

Carl Linnaeus
Image reproduced with permission of The Linnean Society of London

Carl Linnaeus: Swedish botanist and originator of the system of taxonomic classification.

References to the Life and Work of Carl Linnaeus

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The Linnaean Society of New York Logo

The logo of the Society depicts a Peregrine Falcon perched atop a city tower and was designed for the Society by Richard Edes Harrison, a cartographer and amateur ornithologist. City buildings resemble the native cliff habitat of the peregrine, and today there are a number of nesting pairs throughout the city.