File B1979-0001 - Urquhart, Frederick Albert "Fred" (oral history)

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Reference code

UTA 5001-B1979-0001

Title

Urquhart, Frederick Albert "Fred" (oral history)

Date(s)

  • 8-12 Jan 1979 (Creation)

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File

Extent and medium

6 sound tape reels (290 mins.)

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Name of creator

(1911-2002)

Biographical history

Fredrick (Fred) Albert Urquhart was a professor of zoology at the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Scarborough. Born in Toronto in 1911, Urquhart studied biology at the University of Toronto, completing an MA in 1937 and a PhD in 1940. His first attempt at tagging monarchs, in 1937, met with limited success, but led to the development of the Alar Tagging Method in the 1940s. In 1945, he married Norah Patterson, who would become a partner in his research endeavours. He was appointed assistant director of zoology at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1945, becoming director in 1949; at the same time, he was appointed as an assistant professor in zoology at the University of Toronto. Urquhart took on full professorship in 1963. In 1966, he spearheaded a program in zoology at Scarborough College, a position that he held until his retirement in 1977. In 1975, two member of Urquhart’s extensive network of monarch trackers, Ken and Cathy Brugger, discovered millions of monarch butterflies in the Neovolcanic Plateau in Mexico, many of them tagged, proving that monarchs did indeed travel thousands of kilometres to breed. Urquhart and his wife were able to visit Mexico in 1976 to see the monarchs firsthand. An internationally renowned entomologist, Urquhart published both books and articles on the migratory patterns of monarch butterflies. He died in 2002.

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Oral history interview conducted by Paul A. Bator. Covers early childhood interest in natural history through post-retirement research ca. 1930-1978. Focusses on his undergraduate and graduate work in the Dept. of Biology, curricula, academic staff, the Royal Ontario Museum and its relations with University of Toronto and his ongoing research on the Monarch butterfly.

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Open

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Interviewer's topics available

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Oral history has been digitized. Contact Archives to download mp3 files.

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