photo, Carlos de la Torre y la Huerta

Carlos de la Torre y la Huerta

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Photo © 1998 Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution Archives


Carlos de la Torre y la Huerta was the foremost Cuban naturalist of his era, following in the footsteps of Felipe Poey. De la Torre was a naturalist of the old school, with broad interests in natural history. He focused his research on mollusks, both living and paleontological specimens. He collaborated for many years with Paul Bartsch, curator of mollusks in the United States National Museum and was a correspondent with many Smithsonian staff, including Secretary Alexander Wetmore. He donated many specimens to the U.S. National Museum during his long career.

De la Torre hosted many Smithsonian naturalists visiting Cuba and the nearby Caribbean islands; indeed, a visit to de la Torre was the first stop on the itinerary of any U.S. naturalist visiting Cuba. When the Tomás Barrera expedition arrived in Cuba, de la Torre joined the group of American naturalists as they cruised the waters surrounding the island to collect specimens. De la Torre was a leading figure in the Academia de Ciencias Medicas, Fisicas y Naturales de la Habana.