The ultimate Internet source for information about
the Rev. John Bachman; clergyman, naturalist, social reformer, and founder of Newberry College
An on-line initiative of the
Alumni Association of

Newberry SC


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Although his primary day job was as a hard-working Lutheran clergyman in Charleston SC, the Rev. John Bachman--founder of Newberry College--spent countless hours studying nature and conducting experiments. Among his favorites subjects were wild rabbits, other small mammals, and the many colorful birds he encountered in South Carolina's Lowcountry. He published in scientific journals and frequently gave presentations to professional societies. His notes for a lecture on migration among North American birds are shown above.

Bachman especially found time to associate with a group known as the "Circle of Naturalists," an esteemed group of physicians and natural science devotees--many of whom were on the faculty of the College of Charleston and/or the Medical College of South Carolina. These men included John Edwards Holbrook (herpetology), Edmund Ravenel (conchology & paleontology), Lewis Reeve Gibbes (chemistry), Francis Simmons Holmes (paleontology), and John McCrady (marine biology). Because of work done by these men and by Bachman and John James Audubon (ornithology), antebellum Charleston became one of the most productive centers for natural history research in the Western Hemisphere--rivaling even Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.

Several naturalists saw fit to honor Bachman by naming organisms for him. Most familiar are the Bachman's Warbler, Vermivora bachmanii, and Bachman's Sparrow, Aimophila aestivalis bachmani. Audubon also honored Bachman through the species name of a western U.S. shorebird, the Black Oystercatcher, Haematopus bachmani; the Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani, related to the Eastern Cottontail; and a southern subspecies of the Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger bachmani, which has a black mask and white ears, nose, and paws. Cleveland, Ohio physician and naturalist Dr. Jared P. Kirtland further acknowledged Bachman's natural history contributions by giving the American Snout butterfly the scientific name of Libythaea bachmani.

You can access detailed information about Bachman's life and work by clicking on the links in the column at left.

Please check back later as we add to this section.

Please revisit this Web site often at and plan to attend the Symposium on Nature, God & Social Reform in the Old South: The Life & Work of the Rev. John Bachman in April 2006.