Search
  • José H. Leal

Clench, Cecelia, Tucker, and the Cat!

In a 1974 photo, Shell Museum Founding Director and renowned shell-book author R. Tucker Abbott (holding the cat) is accompanied by his wife Cecelia and Harvard’s renowned shell scientist William J. Clench (holding the cat’s right paw!). In the mid-20th century, Bill Clench was a mentor and graduate studies advisor at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology to an entire generation of American malacologists, including Tucker. In the summer of 1921, as a graduation present from his father, a young Bill Clench came on a collecting trip to Sanibel, at that time a little-known island off the southwest coast of Florida. His trip resulted in the first formal listing of mollusks from Sanibel*, published in 1923 in The Nautilus (the journal currently published by the Shell Museum)! The photo was taken outside of Tucker and Cecelia Abbott’s home in Melbourne, Florida, and was recently donated to the Shell Museum archives by their daughter Erika von Zoog.


Bill Clench, Cecelia and R. Tucker Abbott, and the couple's cat.


*Clench, W.J. 1923. The marine shells of Sanibel, Florida. The Nautilus 37: 52–56.