Etienne Leopold Trouvelot was born on Dec. 26, 1827 in Aisne,
France. He fled France during the coup d'etat in 1852 and settled in
Medford, Massachusetts, a working-class suburb of Boston. He lived
with his wife and family in his house at 27 Myrtle St. in Medford.
Trouvelot made a living as an artist, painting mostly portraits,
but he had an amateur interest in entomology. His main interest was
in identifying native silkworms that might be used for silk
production. (L. Trouvelot(1867) The American Silk Worm. American
Naturalist, Vol. 1, No. 1., pp.30-38) The exact reasons or
circumstances are unknown, but in the late 1860's he returned from a
trip to France with some gypsy moth egg masses. He was apparently
culturing them on trees in back of his house when some of the larvae
escaped. Trouvelot understood the potential magnitude of this
accident and notified local entomologists but no action was taken.
After this accident, Trouvelot apparently lost interest in entomology
and became interested in Astronomy. He became famous for his illustrations
of astronomical details of the sun and of Venus and was eventually given a
faculty position at Harvard University in Astronomy. A crater on the moon
was named in honor of Trouvelot and he won the French Academy's Valz prize
for his astronomical research.
In 1882 Trouvelot returned to live in France; the timing of this move
coincided with the appearance of the first gypsy moth outbreak on his
street. Trouvelot Died in 1895.