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Ornithologist Margaret Morse was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 6, 1883, to Anson Daniel and Margaret Ely Morse. She received a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1906. In 1909 she wed Leonard Blaine Nice. In 1913 they moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where he was professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Oklahoma. She received a master's degree from Clark University in 1915. During her stay in Oklahoma Margaret Nice studied Oklahoma birds, and in 1924 she published a seminal work, The Birds of Oklahoma. She and others battled to save the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. In 1928 she and her husband moved to Chicago, where she commenced her classic studies of the song sparrow.

For her outstanding studies on birds she became a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union and received its Brewster Medal in 1942. Honorary doctor of science degrees were awarded to her from Mount Holyoke College (1942) and Elmira College (1962). She published over 250 papers on birds, which made her a foremost leader in the study of bird ethology. Margaret Nice died on June 26, 1974, in Chicago, Illinois.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Marcia Myers Bonta, Women in the Field: America's Pioneering Women Naturalists (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 1991). Margaret Morse Nice, Research is a Passion with Me, ed. Doris Heustis Speirs (Toronto, Canada: Consolidated Amethyst Communications, Inc., 1979). Margaret Morse Nice, The Birds of Oklahoma (Rev. ed.; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1931). K. B. Sterling, et al., eds., Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997).

Charles C. Carpenter

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