Biography « The Largest Official Seashells Website , Conchology, Inc.

Tom Rice

Tom Rice

When I first started to scientifically collect shells, some 55 years ago, I noted the “authors” of the shell species. Who were these scholars? Through the next half-century I would meet many of them, as well as others, like myself, who simply enjoyed the form, color and complexity of the animals we call mollusks.

Shift to the present day. Several years ago I ceased research and publications of several directors, my magazine – Of Sea and Shore, which at its peak reached collectors in more than 60 countries – and the infamous “Rice’s Prices” (aka “A Catalog of Dealers’ Prices for Shells: Marine, Land and Freshwater” [1965-2007, 23 editions]). I undertook several short-term projects, but soon found myself feeling that I wasn’t keeping my brain active. What to do?

Over the years I had accumulated a number of photographs of shellers met during conventions, shelling trips around the world, or as visitors to my shell museum (Of Sea and Shore Museum of Shells and Natural History, Inc. in Port Gamble, Washington [State], U.S.A.). Now going back through these I wondered, “whatever became of these people and their collections”? So I began to gather information. Fortunately this new-fangled technological marvel, the Internet helped a great deal. My file of information started to grow, as did the one of photos. Then I came across two wonderful sources of information that caused me to greatly expand the scope of this project. First was the American Malacological Society’s “2400 Years of Malacology” which listed thousands of malacologists from around the world and throughout the centuries. Second was the BEMON (Biographical Etymology of Marine Organism Names) blog, which gave more information on many of those in the 2400YM, as well as others for whom species (and genera) of mollusks were named.

As my files grew I became more and more interested in adding names and information. Suddenly I had more than 20,000 names on my “list” and several thousand photos in files. I had planned this entire project as an exercise for my mind and planned to use it for myself only. I then took a CD of the files to show Guido and Philippe Poppe and they encouraged me to continue my research and to agree to put my files onto their web site and invite others to add names, information, photos, correction, etc... This sounded exciting and I readily agreed.


  • 44,707 Shellers

  • 12,374 Publications

  • 49,923 Information bits

  • 10,346 Species Named After

  • 29,251 Species Described

  • 14,514 Photographs

  • 351 Updates this week

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