Wayne, Arthur Trezevant

January 1, 1863–May 5, 1930

Ornithologist. Wayne was born in Blackville on January 1, 1863, where his parents, Daniel Gabriel Wayne and Harriott Ward, had moved from Charleston with hopes of escaping the dangers of the Civil War. Shortly after the war his family returned to Charleston, where Wayne attended private school for several years and then entered high school, graduating with honors in 1880. He married Maria L. Porcher on June 6, 1889.

Around 1874 Wayne began visiting the Charleston Museum regularly after school, displaying great interest in birds. Gabriel Manigault, museum curator, introduced him to John Dancer, a local taxidermist, who taught Wayne how to prepare bird skins. Soon he was collecting birds, nests, and eggs, and at age fifteen he donated the first of many specimens he would contribute to the museum. The well-known ornithologist William Brewster visited Charleston in 1883, and Manigault introduced him to Wayne, who was then employed by a cotton dealer while continuing to study birds in his spare time. Influenced by Brewster and having an extreme dislike for his work (“he hated business pursuits with a cordiality that increased daily”), Wayne quit his job and dedicated his waking hours to the study of birds.

For the rest of his life Wayne hewed to the same course, eking out an existence for his wife and himself by collecting birds and selling their skins to other ornithologists. In 1906 Wayne became honorary curator of birds at the museum, a position that carried no salary but allowed access to the collections in return for assistance in their care. First meeting Wayne at about the age of fourteen, Burnham Chamberlain, who became an accomplished ornithologist, recollected many years later that Arthur Wayne had slightly reddish hair and was small, little more than five feet, seven inches tall: “It was a combination that you didn’t tangle with unnecessarily,” and “we early learned that unless you knew what you were talking about you’d better keep a zipped-up mouth.”

Wayne frequently published his observations in The Auk (the journal of the American Ornithologists’ Union). His careful work made him the most knowledgeable student of his day on South Carolina birds. Encouraged by Paul M. Rea, then director of the Charleston Museum, and others, Wayne wrote Birds of South Carolina, published in 1910 by the museum. Wayne’s book established him as a leading American ornithologist and stimulated interest in the ornithology of South Carolina. He died at his home at Porcher’s Bluff near Mount Pleasant on May 5, 1930.

Sanders, Albert E., and William D. Anderson, Jr. Natural History Investigations in South Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

Sprunt, Alexander, Jr. “In Memoriam: Arthur Trezevant Wayne, 1863–1930.” Auk 48 (January 1931): 1–16.

Sprunt, Alexander, Jr., and E. Burnham Chamberlain. South Carolina Bird Life. Rev. ed. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970.

Wayne, Arthur T. Birds of South Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: [Daggett], 1910.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Wayne, Arthur Trezevant
  • Coverage January 1, 1863–May 5, 1930
  • Author
  • Keywords Ornithologist, Gabriel Manigault, museum curator, introduced him to John Dancer, a local taxidermist, who taught Wayne how to prepare bird skins, honorary curator of birds at the museum, Burnham Chamberlain, The Auk
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 25, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 8, 2016
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