ALEXANDER PETRUNKEVITCH was born on December 22, 1875, in the Ukrainian town of Pliski, near Kiev, the second son of Ivan Illitch Petrunkevitch and his wife, Anna Kandida. Though of aristocratic birth, his father was an important liberal statesman who worked incessantly for a more democratic form of government in Russia. He was a founder of the Kadet, or Constitutional Democratic Party, and was elected to the first Duma. He served as majority Party Leader in this body, for which service he was rewarded once with exile and once with imprisonment.
His son, Alexander Petrunkevitch, seems to have become attached to the study of natural history as a small boy. Like many another eminent zoologist he was first interested in the Coleoptera. He also developed considerable manual skills as a machinist—perhaps in part from his friendship with a member of the English-born Bromley family, who had started a factory in Russia early in that country's industrial development. He retained his machinist's skill throughout his life.
At the University of Moscow, Petrunkevitch's first publi
The Academy wishes to express its special thanks to Dr. Jonathan Coddington of the Smithsonian Institution for his editorial help with the preparation of this essay.