Frank Rattray Lillie

Frank Rattray Lillie bigraphy, stories - American zoologist

Frank Rattray Lillie : biography

1870 – 1947

Frank Rattray Lillie (1870 – 1947) was an early American zoologist, who was an early pioneer of the study of embryology. He had a career long relationship with the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.

Lillie graduated in 1891 from University of Toronto and became a fellow in zoology at Clark University. In 1892 he was lured by President Harper to the newly founded University of Chicago. In 1894 (at the age of 24) he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology. Between 1894-1899 he was instructor of zoology at University of Michigan. Between 1899-1900 he was Professor of Biology at Vassar College but in 1900 he was called back to Chicago as Assistant Professor of Zoology. In 1906, at the age of 36, he became professor of Embryology. In 1910 he succeeded Charles Otis Whitman as chairman of the Department of Zoology and continued in that capacity until 1931. From 1931 to 1935 he was Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences.

From 1935 to 1935 he was served in the joint positions of President of the National Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the United States National Research Council.

He was Director of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory from 1908-1939.

He founded and was first President (1930-1939) of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

His most important academic work—as distinct from his considerable contributions to the institutions of science in America—included experiments on the phenomenon of freemartin in cattle, which led to his discovery of the existence, and analysis of, the operation of the male hormone.

On June 29, 1895 he married Frances Williams Crane, daughter of Richard T. Crane and sister of Charles R. Crane.

FR Lillie Road in Woods Hole as well as the Lillie building at the MBL are named after him.