William Parker Foulke
William Parker Foulke discovered the first full dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism. There are two different skeletal types: the exoskeleton, which is the stable outer shell of an organism, and the endoskeleton, which forms the support structure inside the body.In a figurative sense, skeleton can...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

Hadrosaurus is a valid genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur. In 1858, a skeleton of a dinosaur from this genus was the first dinosaur skeleton known from more than isolated teeth to be found in North America. In 1868, it became the first ever mounted dinosaur skeleton...

, which means "Foulke's big lizard") in Haddonfield, New Jersey
Haddonfield, New Jersey
Haddonfield is a borough located in Camden County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough had a total population of 11,593....

 in 1858.

A descendant of Welsh Quakers who had emigrated in 1698, William Parker Foulke was an abolitionist, prison reformer, pamphleteer, philanthropist, lawyer, historian and geologist, the last of which directly led to the discovery, which was partially named for him by Joseph Leidy
Joseph Leidy
Joseph Leidy was an American paleontologist.Leidy was professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, and later was a professor of natural history at Swarthmore College. His book Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska contained many species not previously described and many previously...

 and for which he is now best-known.

Foulke was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1841, though the law could hardly be said to be his life's work. Four years later he began an association with the two reforms that would occupy so much time and energy in his short life. Sensitized to the problems of incarceration through his legal training, Foulke joined the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries in Public Prisons in July 1845.

Foulke spent several years comparing alternative disciplinary models and writing on correctional issues in the Journal on Prison Discipline and Philanthropy. Following a tour of mid-Atlantic correctional institutions in 1847 and 1848, Foulke was instrumental in erecting the new Lancaster County Prison
Lancaster County Prison
The Lancaster County Prison is a county prison located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the United States. It is located on East King Street in Lancaster City....

, and contributed materially to later penitentiaries in several other counties in Pennsylvania. He was associated with the American Association for Improvement of Prison Discipline and the Convention of State Prison Wardens.

Foulke also supported the Pennsylvania Colonization Society, an antislavery organization that resettled as many as 1,000 freed slaves per year in West Africa (Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

). Despite mounting opposition from different sides, Foulke never wavered in his support for resettlement until his own death in 1865, by which time he was Vice-President of the Society.

Foulke financially supported the American Academy of Music, and was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences
Academy of Natural Sciences
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, formerly Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the New World...

(Philadelphia), the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and, like his grandfather John Foulke (1757–1796), the American Philosophical Society.

He was an avid natural historian and geologist, supportive of the first arctic explorations.


In 1855, Foulke married Julia DeVeaux Powel (d. 1884), daughter of Col. John Hare Powel, with whom he had seven children. He died on June 18, 1865.

External links

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