Arthur C. Twomey was born at Camrose, Alberta, on 15 October 1908. He died of Alzheimer's disease in the Ingleside Nursing Home at Old Tappan, New Jersey, on 10 November 1996. He was an Elective Member of the AOU from 1946.
Twomey was one of the young men turned on to ornithology by a distinguished pioneer naturalist, Frank L. Farley, author of Birds of the Battle River Region of Central Alberta (1932). In addition to Frank Farley's nephew, Farley Mowat, raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and W. Ray Salt from Rosebud, Alberta, Frank Farley's other recruits from Camrose were A. L. Wilk, later coauthor with Ray of the first edition of Birds of Alberta; Roy C. Anderson, lifelong professor of Zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario; Cal Waterson, who collected for Godfrey in northern Alberta; and Roland Hawkins, who was a technician at the National Museum of Canada and then followed Twomey to Pittsburgh in 1947 to work at the National Aviary, eventually retiring to Ontario.
In 1925, Twomey began collecting birds' eggs and specimens for sale to museums and began annual Christmas Bird Counts at Camrose with Frank L. Farley, through 1932. Twomey received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Alberta in 1934, then his M.Sc. in 1935, and his Ph.D. in 1937, both in Zoology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. A year after the railroad reached Churchill, Manitoba, Twomey collected birds there for three summers, 1931–1933, together with P. A. Taverner, G. M. Sutton, Albert C. Lloyd, O. S. Pettingill (1931 only), Frank Farley, and in 1933, Marguerite Heydweiller (later Mrs. Fred Baumgartner). Twomey's studies of the Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) in northern Alberta and at Churchill were published in The Auk (1934). A popular account of his Churchill observations appeared in The Beaver (1937), and ecological studies with V. E. Shelford were published in Ecology. The collecting experience gained at Churchill led to lifetime employment at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh for both Lloyd and Twomey.
At the Carnegie Museum, Twomey was an assistant and field collector in ornithology, July 1936 through 1944; associate curator, 1945; curator of ornithology, 1946–47, and then director of education, 1948 through retirement in December 1973. He studied the birds of the Uinta Basin, Utah, in 1937. His first major expedition to western Ungava, beginning in January 1938 and lasting into early September, with spring and summer spent on the Belcher Islands, was chronicled in his book, Needle to the North (1942). He collected in Chile (Tierra del Fuego), Peru and the Galápagos Islands in 1939. He took part in Mellon-financed big game hunting expeditions to Africa in 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964. In 1948, he inaugurated the Carnegie Institute Society lecture series. Both before and after retirement he showed wildlife and travel movies of exotic places such as Africa, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Russia. On his son's death, these movies and slides were donated to Carnegie.
For information we thank Mrs. Claire Twomey of Fort Lee, New Jersey; Margie Jamieson, Twomey's daughter-in-law of Kimberly, British Columbia; and especially Robin Panza and Bernadette Callery at the Carnegie Museum.