Armstrong, Frank B. (1863–1915)

By: Ruby Armstrong Wooldridge

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Frank B. Armstrong, ornithologist and taxidermist, son of Richard Sands Armstrong, was born on May 10, 1863, at St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada. After the death of his father, an amateur naturalist, he moved with the family to Medford, Massachusetts, and then to Boston. There Armstrong attended school, and after graduation he studied taxidermy for two years with Professor C. J. Maynard. At home in Boston, Armstrong wrote his first essays on ornithology, mammalogy, and oology. In his early twenties he began a tour of the sparsely settled Southwest and subsequently spent several years doing field work in Mexico with Laredo, Texas, as a base. During that time he collected Mexican birds and animals. In March 1890, when Armstrong traveled to Brownsville, he was so pleased with wildlife in the area that he moved his collection and taxidermy studio there. He studied subtropical bird life, and his later reputation was based chiefly on his work in tropical ornithology. The Armstrong collection of mounted birds, fishes, and animals attracted many visitors. He had assembled more than 800 different specimens from the vicinity. He also contributed thousands of specimens to museums in Europe and the United States, including the Field Museum in Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution. At one time Southern Methodist University and Southwest Texas State University had specimens of Armstrong's work. He married Marie Isabel Schodts of Brownsville on April 2, 1891. They had three daughters and four sons. Armstrong died on August 20, 1915, and was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Brownsville.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Brownsville Herald, August 21, 1915. W. H. Chatfield, The Twin Cities of the Border and the Country of the Lower Rio Grande (New Orleans: Brandao, 1893; rpt., Brownsville: Brownsville Historical Association, 1959).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ruby Armstrong Wooldridge, “Armstrong, Frank B.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994