John Nathan Cobb (1868–1930): Founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle

Dunn, J. Richard (2003) John Nathan Cobb (1868–1930): Founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle. Marine Fisheries Review, 65(3), pp. 1-24.

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Abstract

John Nathan Cobb (1868–1930) became the founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle, in 1919 without the benefit of a college education. An inquisitive and ambitious man, he began his career in the newspaper business and was introduced to commercial fisheries when he joined the U.S. Fish Commission (USFC) in 1895 as a clerk, and he was soon promoted to a “Field Agent” in the Division of Statistics, Washington, D.C. During the next 17 years, Cobb surveyed commercial fisheries from Maine to Florida, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska for the USFC and its successor, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. In 1913, he became editor of the prominent west coast trade magazine, Pacific Fisherman, of Seattle, Wash., where he became known as a leading expert on the fisheries of the Pacific Northwest. He soon joined the campaign, led by his employer, to establish the nation’s first fisheries school at the University of Washington. After a brief interlude (1917–1918) with the Alaska Packers Association in San Francisco, Calif., he was chosen as the School’s founding director in 1919. Reflecting his experience and mindset, as well as the University’s apparent initial desire, Cobb established the College of Fisheries primarily as a training ground for those interested in applied aspects of the commercial fishing industry. Cobb attracted sufficient students, was a vigorous spokesman for the College, and had ambitions plans for expansion of the school’s faculty and facilities. He became aware that the College was not held in high esteem by his faculty colleagues or by the University administration because of the school’s failure to emphasize scholastic achievement, and he attempted to correct this deficiency. Cobb became ill with heart problems in 1929 and died on 13 January 1930. The University soon thereafter dissolved the College and dismissed all but one of its faculty. A Department of Fisheries, in the College of Science, was then established in 1930 and was led by William Francis Thompson (1888–1965), who emphasized basic science and fishery biology. The latter format continues to the present in the Department’s successor, The School of Aquatic Fisheries and Science.

Item Type: Article
Title: John Nathan Cobb (1868–1930): Founding Director of the College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Dunn, J. Richard
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 65
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 1-24
Date: 2003
ISSN: 0090-1830
Subjects: Education
Fisheries
Item ID: 9731
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 18:09
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2012 18:24
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9731

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