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Henri Fabre

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Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Jean-Henri Fabre is a famous French creation scientist who devoted his life to entomology – the study of insects. He was hailed as “the insect’s homer” by Victor Hugo and “an inimitable observer” by Charles Darwin, and further recognized by other famous names such as Maeterlinck, Rostand and Jünger, Bergson, Roumanille, and Mallarmé. He has been called the precursor of ethology, the science of animal and human behavior.

After eighty-seven years of thought and observation, I say not merely that I believe in God – I can even say that I see Him. -Henri Fabre


Jean-Henri Casmir Fabre was born on December 22, 1823 in Saint Léons in Aveyron, France, to a poor family. He was the first child of Antoine Fabre and Victoire Salgues. Due to his family’s poverty, Fabre was largely self-educated. His first years were spent with his grandparents in Le Malaval near his hometown. His family moved frequently, consequently much of his education was rather disjointed. Despite these hindrances, he was able to graduate from seminary. Three years after winning a competition for a bursary to the primary teacher training school of Avignon, he gained his higher certificate. At age nineteen, he began a career as a teacher at Carpentras. While there, he taught natural history. During October of 1844, Fabre marries Marie-Césarine Villard. In 1849, he was sent to a teaching position in Ajaccio, Corsica, where he became a professor. Enamored with the beauty of the island, he stayed to study the flora and fauna. Under the guidance of Requien of Avignon and Moquin-Tandon, he excelled as a naturalist. he returned to the mainland in 1853 and began teaching at the lycée (a school for students between elementary school and college) in Avignon. He bought a modest house on a street name Dyers in the Saint Domenica district. He committed himself to the study of garance (Rubia tinctoria) in order to better the production of alizarin (also known as garance), a dye commonly used in the French Army’s red trousers. He registered three patents for garance in November of 1860. During the year 1867, Victor Duruy, Minister for State Education, visited Fabre while traveling in the district. Duruy put him in charge of teaching courses for adults with great success, though many of the clerics and conservatives dislike his teaching techniques. He resigned his position and left to live in Orange. 1878 saw the first of the “Souvenirs Entomologiques” series. These works follow Fabre’s observations of insects and arachnids. Throughout the following years, he wrote over seventy books for student-teacher use. In 1879, he became the owner of “L’Harmas.” He was enthralled by the various life he found, of which he said, "I could ...engage in that difficult conversation whose questions and answers have experiment for their language." He found the house to be a perfect place for experiments and reflections alike. He conducted his research, mastered watercolor and tried his hand at poetry. While there, he was visited by such famous people as Pasteur, Raymond Poincaré and John Stuart Mill. His wife died in 1885. He remarried in July of 1887 to Marie Joséphine Daudel. On October 11, 1915, Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre passed away, recognized - though tardily - as the "entomological philosopher," and the "psychologist of the world of Insects." [1] [2] [3] [4]

Awards and Acheivements

  • He is awarded Monthyon prize in experimental physiology at the Institut de France (1856).
  • Fabre is awarded first place in an open competition about the problem of the criminal adulteration of garance (1859).
  • Fabre wins the Thore prize which is given for research into the behaviour and anatomy of insects (1866).
  • Fabre is given the silver medal of the Society for the Protection of Animals (1873).
  • He wins the silver medal of the Exposition universelle (1878).
  • The Académie des Sciences awards him the Dolfus prize (1887).
  • The Académie des sciences awards Fabre the Petit-Dormoy prize (1889).
  • Fabre wins the Gegner prize of the Académie des Sciences (1903 - 1914)
  • Fabre is named Chevalier of the Legion of Honour thanks to Duruy (1910).
  • Fabre receives the Linnean gold medal of the Academy of Science of Stockholm, he is a graduate member of the Institut de Genève, and Officer of the Legion of Honour (1910).
  • He wins the Alfred Née prize of the Académie Française, which awards the most original work in form and thought (1910).
  • Fabre receives the Mariani medal as well as a citation from the Société nationale d'Agriculture and the Société d'acclimatation (1911).



  1. Jean-Henri Fabre by Scarab Workers: World Directory
  2. Biography of Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre
  3. Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre: An Outline of his Life: 1823-1915
  4. Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre Biography
  5. Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre: An Outline of his Life: 1823-1915

External links