John Lawrence LeConte Collection of Entomological Drawings by John Abbot and others


Date: n.d. | Size: 8 volume(s), 8 volumes, ca. 3,700 drawings


The approximately 3,700 color and black and white drawings were collected and drawn by John Lawrence LeConte, with two in the first volume are by Titian R. Peale, but most are likely by John Abbot. The previous description noted that there are some drawings by John Abbot, and that most were likely by John Lawrence Le Conte. However, John V. Calhoun has shown extensive evidence that most of the drawings are by John Abbot (John Abbot's "Lost" Drawings for John E. LeConte in the American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 60(4), 2006, 211-217). The contents of the collection: 1. Coleoptera. 654 figures. 2. Diptera, Hemiptera, and Lepidoptera. 564 figures. 3. Coleoptera. 698 figures. 4. Coleoptera and Hymenoptera. 228 figures. 5. Coleoptera. 657 figures. 6. Hymenoptera and Diptera. 234 figures 7. Diptera. 304 figures. 8. Hemiptera, Araneina, Myripoda. 356 figures

Background note

John Lawrence LeConte (1825-1883, APS 1853), entomologist was an active member of the American Philosophical Society and founding member of the American Entomological Society; a charter member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1863; surgeon and medical inspector for the U.S. Army medical corps, 1861-1865; president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1874; and Chief Clerk of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1878.

John Lawrence LeConte was the son of John Eatton LeConte (1784-1860, APS 1851) an army topographer and noted naturalist, and his wife Mary Ann Hampton. John Lawrence decided at an early age to follow in his father's footsteps, and began collecting natural specimens, showing a particular interest in insects, especially beetles. He matriculated at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, graduating in 1842. Three years later he enrolled at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and received a medical degree in 1846.

LeConte published two important monographs in entomology with the assistance of George Henry Horn (1840-1897, APS 1869). The first in 1876 was on the weevils or Rhynchophora of North America. In 1883 he finished his taxonomy of the Coleoptera of North America, begun in 1861. This 600-page work classified about 11,000 different beetles. Although LeConte contributed to other fields of natural history with dozens of articles on topics in geology, paleontology and ornithology, he devoted his greatest attention to the description and classification of beetles. His published studies of the distribution of insects in the American West also helped to promote zoogeography as a means of biological inquiry.

Collection Information

Physical description

Ca. 3,700 drawings in 8 volumes.

Early American History Note

These eight volumes of John LeConte's work contain thousands of entomological drawings, some in color and others in black and white. A couple of drawings have been attributed to Titian Peale.

Indexing Terms


  • Art
  • Drawings.
  • Scientific Data
  • Sketchbooks

Personal Name(s)

  • Abbot, John, 1751-1840
  • Le Conte, John L. (John Lawrence), 1825-1883
  • LeConte, John L. (John Lawrence), 1825-1883
  • Peale, Titian Ramsay, 1799-1885


  • Beetles.
  • Diptera.
  • Entomology.
  • Flies.
  • Hemiptera.
  • Hymenoptera.
  • Insects.
  • Lepidoptera.
  • Myriapoda.
  • Natural history.
  • Science and technology
  • Spiders.

Detailed Inventory

 Entomological drawings
n.d. 8 volume(s) volume 1-8
n.d. 1 volume(s) 654 figures volume 1
 Diptera, Hemiptera, and Lepidoptera
n.d. 1 volume(s) 564 figures volume 2
n.d. 1 volume(s) 698 figures volume 3
 Coleoptera and Hymenoptera
n.d. 1 volume(s) 228 figures volume 4
n.d. 1 volume(s) 657 figures volume 5
 Hymenoptera and Diptera
n.d. 1 volume(s) 234 figures volume 6
n.d. 1 volume(s) 304 figures volume 7
 Hemiptera, Araneina, Myripoda
n.d. 1 volume(s) 356 figures volume 8