The mysterious Miss Gillett

Will Cook cwcook at
Tue Nov 7 13:04:47 EST 2000

If I remember my Latin correctly, gillettii is the genitive of
gillettius, which is a masculine noun.  If Euphydryas gillettii were
named after Miss Jessie Gillett, her name (I think) would have been
Latinized to gillettia and formed the genitive gillettiae.  Since
gillettii is masculine, I suspect the butterfly is named after Mr.

"Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX" wrote:
> This discussion on the english name for Euphydryas gillettii shows the
> advantages of getting multiple people digging for "the facts".  Ken Philip
> points out that Miss Jessie D. Gillett of Elkhart, Illinois was a patron of
> Barnes.  It would make far more sense to think that the butterfly was named
> after a patron rather than someone else.  Cliff Ferris provided the
> following commentary:
> "Gillette's . . ." was used in the Rocky Mtn. book.  The U. of Okla. Press
> editor insisted that common names be included, and I don't recall who came
> up with the name (F. M. Brown or me).  It is also possible that the copy
> editor "corrected" the spelling "Gillett" to "Gillette."
> In any case, there seems to be a misconception about for whom the latinized
> name is a patronym (based on the comments that I received from Ken).
> Clarence P. Gillette [the correct spelling] was an entomologist at what is
> now Colorado State University.  He was an aphid taxonomist, and he
> established what is now the "C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity."
> I am quite familiar with the Museum and visited it yesterday.
> I am sure that the b'fly's name is a patronym for Miss Jessie D. Gillett of
> Elkhart, Illinois.  She was the publication patroness of many of the issues
> of the Barnes et al. series:  "Contributions to the Natural History of the
> Lepidoptera of North America."  She is acknowledged at the front of many of
> the issues.
> Since the TL for the b'fly is Yellowstone N.P. in Wyoming, it's rather
> doubtful that C. P. Gillette, a Colorado aphid specialist, had any
> connection with Barnes or the b'fly."
> So all this leaves me thinking that Gillett's Checkerspot is the correct
> spelling and that the butterfly was named after Miss Gillett of Illinois.
> Tune in next week, who knows what other interesting biohistory may yet turn
> up :-) -- anyone have any further biographical info on Jessie Gillett and
> what interest she may have had in butterflies ??
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
> Forest Ecosystem Specialist, Ministry of Environment
> 845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
> Phone 250-365-8610
> Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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