Notables: John D. Haseman

In 1906, Professor J.C. Branner invited Dr. C.H. Eigenmann to join him on an expedition to collect fish in Brazil. Eigenmann was a professor at Indiana University and Curator of Fishes at Carnegie Museum. Eigenmann was unable to go on the expedition; however, a student of his, John D. Haseman, was willing to participate. With the approval of W.J. Holland, Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Haseman was given the authority to represent the museum on the expedition. Haseman left for South America on October 5, 1907, and reached Bahia, Brazil on October 19. Unfortunately, Dr. Branner's expedition was just about to leave. Haseman was not able to leave with Branner; however, Haseman received a great deal of useful information from him. Haseman received permission from Holland to proceed with an expedition of his own. Haseman undertook this expedition—ten individual trips—with only the assistance of native laborers. These individual trips lasted from one to eight months.

Haseman originally expected to be in South America for only a year, but eventually ended up staying for two and a half years. Haseman's collecting took him to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. While Haseman was mainly interested in collecting fish, he also collected other freshwater animals including freshwater mussels. A. E. Ortmann used this collection in the preparation of the study South American Naiads. This paper was published in 1921. In it, thirteen new taxa are described from the Haseman Collection.

Haseman never finished his academic degree under Eigenmann's tutelage. He did continue to pursue field studies in the scientific discipline of ichthyology. Of his travels through the wilds of South America, Haseman said, "After the noises of the day the hush which comes at night-fall causes even the hardened traveler at times to shudder. No man over fifty years of age should attempt to enter this region. A hard heart and cold blood are useful to him who invades it."