T. Gilbert Pearson


America’s woodlands and neighborhoods still resound with the calls of wild birds because of the determined efforts of T. Gilbert Pearson.

Born in Illinois and raised in Archer, Florida, the 18-year-old ornithologist T. Gilbert Pearson came to Greensboro in 1891 to study biology at Guilford College. He had written a letter to President Lewis Lyndon Hobbs of Guilford College, offering his collection of bird eggs and specimens as an initial payment on a college education. He further suggested that he might pay his expenses by developing the first museum of ornithology at a North Carolina college. Intrigued by the idea, Dr. Hobbs accepted the young man’s offer, and Pearson graduated from Guilford College in 1897. In 1899 he earned a B.S. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also awarded him an honorary degree in 1924.

T. Gilbert Pearson in the 1930’s

T. Gilbert Pearson in the 1930’s

T. Gilbert Pearson taught biology at Guilford College and at the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College at Greensboro, which later became UNCG.

In March of 1902, Pearson founded the Audubon Society of North Carolina in the Foust Building on the campus. He was a pioneer in the conservation movement, authoring several books on the subject of birds and bird protection, co-founding the National Association of Audubon Societies, and eventually becoming president of the organization. Pearson was the key figure in the development of laws at the state and federal level to protect wild birds from human destruction.

Our chapter is proudly named for this man.

Pearson died in 1943 and is buried in the Green Hill Cemetery, Greensboro, NC.