CLIFFORD H. POPE Salamanders

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Visitors, Scholars

CLIFFORD H. POPE, American Herpetologist, Conservationist; Visiting Scholar at PMSS, 1927

Limestone Creek, Pine Mountain Settlement School.  Photo by Helen Wykle. [P1130800.jpg]
Limestone Creek, Pine Mountain Settlement School. Photo by Helen Wykle. [P1130800.jpg]

TAGS: Clifford H. Pope ; Clifford Hillhouse Pope ; Clifford Pope ; herpetology ; salamanders; American Museum of Natural History ; China ; plethodontid salamanders ; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago ; reptiles ; amphibians ; Desmognathus fuscus fuscus ; Aneides aeneus ; Sarah H. Pope ; Boy Scouts of America ; Highlands Museum, N.C. ; Limestone Creek, PMSS; hemlocks; Dr. Witmer Stone; Katherine Pettit; Katherine Pettit Commonplace Book;


Clifford Hillhouse Pope (1899-1974), a well-known herpetologist, came to Pine Mountain in the summer of 1927. He was in search of Kentucky salamanders and made one of his most significant discoveries while visiting the Harlan County settlement school and surrounding area.

Katherine Pettit recorded in her Common Place Book, [p. 77, in the collections of Berea College, n.d.], items of interest to her. In what appears to be an excerpt from a letter to a friend she records Pope’s visit to Pine Mountain Settlement School

Mr. Clifford Pope of the Department of Herpetology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York has been here for about ten days, collecting specimens of every rare salamander which Dr. Witmer Stone found on Pine Mt. several years ago. Only eight examples of this kind had ever been found before, but Mr. Pope took home with him about fifty which he found here, and he also found the eggs, which were really what he came for. The name of this species, I believe, is “Aenasides Anaeas.” (I do not vouch for the spelling.) [It was actually, Aneides aeneus of the genus Aneides ]

Katherine Pettit, Common Place Book, p. 77. In the Berea College Collections.

In the same correspondence, Pettit also notes

Mr. Pope has written an article recently on Mongolian snakes in “Asia.” His account of his visit to Pine Mountain will be published in some pamphlet, I believe, and by writing him in New York I am sure you can get a copy. 

Katherine Pettit, Common Place Book, p. 77. In the Berea College Collections.

There are no dates on the correspondence but the year must have been around 1930, for the American Museum of Natural History’s Annual Report for 1930 published in 1931 describes the purchase of the following from Pine Mountain

104 Salamanders, 19 Adult Aneides aeneus, 15 Immature Aneides aeneus, from Pine Mountain, Ky.

The “immature Aneides aeneus” must refer also to the eggs that Pope was so keen to get. The 104 specimens suggest a large colony of salamanders in the area.

The Aneides aeneus is the only green salamander in the United States, hence its common name of “Green Salamander”. It is a “lungless” salamander and a member of the Plethodontidae family of salamanders — the largest of the salamander families. As a lungless salamander, it breathes through the skin, and the tissues lining the mouth. The little creature also has an unusual small vertical slit between the nostril and upper lip. This slit, known as the “nasolabial groove” is lined with glands that enhance the salamander’s chemoreception. The glands alert the salamander of toxins in the external environment as well as internally where the toxins can then be neutralized in its system.

As early as 1928 Pope is writing for the journal American Museum Novitates, where he published an article detailing his research in the Southern Appalachians, in which he refers to, “Some plethodontid salamanders from North Carolina and Kentucky with the description of a new race of Leurognathus.” (The journal Novitates means “new acquaintances.”) He notes the discovery of the new salamander at Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain, southeastern Kentucky, is inhabited by a gigantic local form of D. f. fuscus. Although Aneides aeneus (figure of embryo) is nearer to Plethodon than any other member of its genus, it shows still closer relationship to A. lugubris. Thus, its position in the genus Aneides is firmly established.

Clifford H. Pope, American Museum Novitates, 1928.
Brian Gratwicke [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green_salamanader_from_Breaks_Interstate_park.jpg

This early recording of the Aneides aeneus suggests that the Pine Mountain discovery may have helped shape Pope’s life-long interest in amphibians.

Pope was a native of Georgia, and was born in the small town called Washington. His parents, Mark Cooper Pope and Harriett Alexander (Hull) Pope were from the area. He was educated at the University of Virginia and following his graduation he sought out William Beebe, who was heading the Tropical Research Station in British Guiana. This was the beginning of his world wandering and a life-long fascination with the herpetology of remote locations.

In the 1930s his fascination with China led to his mastery of Chinese language and a knowledge of the many geographies of the country, including the Gobi desert where he investigated fossilized dinosaur eggs and gave the scientific name to the Kuatun Horned Toad. From 1921 to 1934 he was employed by the American Museum of Natural History. He rose in the ranks of his profession and in 1935 he was elected as president and editor of the lead journal for the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. He served as journal editor of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in 1935.

Following his departure from the American Museum of Natural History, he was hired by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, as Curator in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. At the Field Museum, he concentrated his field research and interest on plethodontid salamanders in Mexico, California, and the eastern United States. It was while Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians that he turned his attention to the Southern Appalachians which is well-known for the variety of amphibians and reptiles, particularly salamanders.

The 1946 Annual Report of the Director of the Field Museum in Chicago to the Board of Directors records that Pope was still working in the Southern Appalachians

A summer station was set up by Mr. Clifford H. Pope, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, at the Highlands Museum in Highlands, North Carolina. Mr. Pope served the museum at Highlands as Director for two months. This enabled him to make some twenty field excursions in the neighboring areas. The southern Appalachians are remarkable for their wealth of salamanders as well as for a great variety of reptiles and Mr. Pope hopes to establish a program of continued field collecting and study in this area.

Source: 1946 Annual Report of the Director of the Field Museum in Chicago to the Board of Directors

Pope retired from the Field Museum, Chicago in 1954, ending a long and important career in the sciences.

Pope was also an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and was made an Honorary Scout, a designation created the same year he was honored. The distinction of Honorary Scout was to honor “American citizens whose achievements in outdoor activity, exploration and worthwhile adventure are of such an exceptional character as to capture the imagination of boys … .” Following his interest in the education of youth he also wrote for Boy’s Life, the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. In one of his stories, “Bandits,” he revisits one of his adventures searching for snakes in Mongolia where he encounters a group of bandits. Comparing snakes to the bandits, he remarked of snakes that they are “first cowards, then bluffers, and last of all warriors. ”

He was honored when a large viper snake was named for him and for his wife, Sarah H. Pope, his life companion. It is known as Pope’s Tree Viper [Trimeresurus popeorum ]. It is a remarkably beautiful but lethal serpent.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trimeresurus_popeorum_adult_male.jpg



Title

Clifford H. Pope

Alt. Title

Clifford Hillhouse Pope ; Clifford Pope ; 

Identifier

CLIFFORD H. POPE

Creator

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Clifford H. Pope ; Clifford Hillhouse Pope ; Clifford Pope ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; herpetology ;  plethodontid salamanders ; Aneides aeneus ; American Museum of Natural History ; American Museum Novitates ; Field Museum ; Highlands Museum ; Boy Scouts of America ; Boy’s Life magazine ; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists ; Sarah H. Pope ; frogs ; snakes ; University of Virginia ;

Subject LCSH

Pope, Clifford Hillhouse, — 1899–1974.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Salamanders — Kentucky.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.

Date

2014-10-27

Publisher

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Contributor

n/a

Type

Collections ; text ; image ;

Format

Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet

Source

Series 09: Biography – VIsitors, Scholars

Language

English

Relation

Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography – VIsitors, Scholars.

Coverage Temporal

1899 – 1974

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; New York, NY ; Washington, GA ; British Guiana ; China ; Chicago, IL ; Mexico ; California ; Eastern U.S. ; Southern Appalachians ; Highlands, NC ; Mongolia ; Gobi desert ; Charlottesville, VA ; 

Rights

Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Donor

n/a

Description

Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Clifford H. Pope ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Clifford H. Pope ;

Acquisition

n/d

Citation

“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed by

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2014-10-27 hhw ; 2015-09-20 aae ; 2017-03-03 hhw ; 2017-04-05 hhw ; 2019-07-25 aae ; 2020-01-13 hhw;

Bibliography

Source(s)
“Clifford H. Pope.” Series 09: Visitors, Scholars. WELLS RECORD 17 PMSS Contributions to the Outside World 1913-1928. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Selected Bibliography

Pope, Clifford H. “Bandits” Boy’s Life, January 1928.


Pope, C. H. (1924). Notes on North Carolina salamanders with especial reference to the egg-laying habits of Leurognathus and Desmognathus. New York City: American Museum of Natural History.


Pope, C. H. (1928). Some plethodontid salamanders from North Carolina and Kentucky, with the description of a new race of Leurognathus. New York City: American Museum of Natural History. Distribution of Leurognathus, a southern Appalachian genus of salamanders [by] Clifford H. Pope and Nelson G. Hairston. (1947). Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified.


Pope, C. H. (1946). Snakes of the northeastern United States. New York, N.Y: New York Zoological Society.


Pope, C. H. (1961). The giant snakes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Pope, C. H., & Chicago Academy of Sciences. (1950). A statistical and ecological study of the salamander Plethodon yonahlossee. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Academy of Sciences.


Pope, C. H., & Chicago Academy of Sciences. (1949). The Salamander Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucus reduced to synonymy. Chicago: Chicago Academy of Sciences.

Pope, C. H. (1971). Turtles of the United States & Canada. New York, London: A.A. Knopf.

Pope, C. H. (1966). Snakes alive and how they live. New York: Viking Press.

Pope, C. H. (1958). Reptiles round the world: A simplified natural history of the snakes, lizards, turtles & crocodilians. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Pope, C. H. (1980). Copulatory adjustment in snakes. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.

Bibliography of Clifford H. Pope. (1967). Escondido, Calif: Printed by Custom Printery.

Notes on growth and reproduction of the slimy salamander Plethodon glutinosus [by] Clifford H. Pope and Sarah H. Pope. (1949). Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified.

Pope, C. H. (1974). The reptile world: A natural history of the snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodilians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Pope, C. H., Fowler, J. A., & Chicago Academy of Sciences. (1949). A new species of salamander (Plethodon) from Southwestern Virginia. Chicago: Chicago Academy of Sciences.

Pope, C. H., & New York Zoological Society. (1944). The poisonous snakes of the new world. New York, N.Y: New York Zoological Society.


New ranid frog (Staurois) from the colony of Hongkong [by] Clifford H. Pope and J.D. Romer. (1951). Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified.


Pope, C. H. (1947). The distribution of Leurognathus: A southern Appalachian genus of salamanders. Chicago: Chicago Natural History Museum. Pope, C. H.,


Pope, S. H., & Chicago Academy of Sciences. (1951). A study of the salamander Plethodon ouachitae and the description of an allied form. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Academy of Sciences. West, James E. (1931). The Boy Scouts Book of True Adventure. New York: Putnam. OCLC 8484128. http://research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/about-department


Around the World.” Time (magazine). 29 August 1927. Retrieved 2007-10-24.

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