The papers of Donald Gordon Denning, entomologist, and a leading authority on the caddis fly. Included are his correspondence,
manuscripts, notebooks, photographs, drawings, and an oversized box of glass shards wrapped in foam.
Donald Denning was born on December 18, 1909 in Ely, Minnesota. As a young boy he was interested in collecting insects and
upon completion of high school, he received a four-year scholarship to Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he received
his B.S. in zoology in 1932. In 1933, he became Assistant Entomologist at the University of Minnesota, where he received his
M.S. in entomology in 1937. From 1936 to 1937, he was employed with the Bureau of Entomology, United States Department of
Agriculture, as Junior Professorial Assistant to Dr. J.R. Parker on research work in the biology and ecology of grasshoppers
and in 1938 he served as Senior Field Assistant. In 1942, Denning received his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of
Minnesota. His studies focused on insects of public health importance, control of livestock insects, economic control methods
and on the taxonomy and biology of the Trichoptera, an order of insects consisting of the caddis flies.
In 1942, Dr. Denning became Assistant Entomologist with the United States Public Health Service on Mosquito Survey and Control
in war areas. In 1943, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U.S.P.H.S Reserve Corps, where he worked on insects that effected
man; in 1945, he was promoted to Captain. At the end of 1945, he requested a discharge and in 1946 received an honorable
In 1946, Dr. Denning accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Entomology at the University of Wyoming. In 1951 he moved
to California and worked for Velsicol Chemical Corporation as a field researcher, a position he held until his retirement
in 1976. In 1954, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from Macalester College.
Dr. Denning was a member of many scientific organizations, including the Entomological Society of America, which elected him
Fellow in 1943. He was also a member of the Entomological Society of Canada and President of the Pacific Coast Entomological
Society, which occasionally held its meetings at the Entomology Department of the California Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Denning died on February 7, 1988. His widow, Loretta Denning, donated his caddis fly collection to the Entomology Department
of the California Academy of Sciences in 1989.