Edward Payson Evans
Edward Payson Evans.jpg
From Hinsdale, History of the University of Michigan
Born(1831-12-08)December 8, 1831
DiedMarch 6, 1917(1917-03-06) (aged 85)
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA, 1854)
Notable work
The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1906)
Elizabeth Edson Gibson
(m. 1868; died 1911)

Edward Payson Evans (December 8, 1831 – March 6, 1917) was an American scholar, linguist and early advocate for animal rights. He is best known for his book The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, published in 1906, which is considered to be the seminal work on the topic of animal trials.[1]


Evans was born in Remsen, New York in 1831.[2] His father was a Welsh Presbyterian clergyman.[3] Evans earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1854.[4] He then taught at an academy in Hernando, Mississippi, for one year before becoming a professor at Carroll University (then Carroll College) in Waukesha, Wisconsin.[5]

From 1858 to 1862, he traveled abroad, and studied at the universities of Göttingen, Berlin and Munich.[6]

On his return to the United States, he became professor of modern languages at the University of Michigan.[6] In 1868, he married Elizabeth Edson Gibson.[7] In 1870, Evans resigned his position at Michigan and went abroad again, where he gathered materials for a history of German literature,[6] and also made a specialty of oriental languages.[8] He became a fixture at the Royal Library in Munich,[9] and joined the staff of the Allgemeine Zeitung in Munich in 1884.[5]

Evans' wife died in 1911 and when World War I broke out in 1914, he returned to the United States, where he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City.[9]

He died at his home in New York on March 6, 1917.[3]


Roderick Nash argues that both Evans and J. Howard Moore, "deserve more recognition than they have received as the first professional philosophers in the United States to look beyond anthropocentrism."[10]

In recent years, Evans' book The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals has been the subject of several critiques.[11]

Selected works





  1. ^ Szerlip, B. Alexandra (June 25, 2021). "Animal Trials: The Quest for Order in a Chaotic World". Berfrois. Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ Heyse, Paul Johann Ludwig von (1899). "Evans, Edward P. geb. 1831 in Remsen (Staat NY), gest. 1917" [Evans, Edward P. born 1831 in Remsen (NY State), died 1917]. Das literarische München: 25 Porträtskizzen [The Literary Munich: 25 Portrait Sketches] (in German).
  3. ^ a b "Edward Payson Evans Dies". The New York Times. March 8, 1917. p. 11. Retrieved January 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Hinsdale, B. A.; Demmon, Isaac Newton (1906). History of the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. p. 237.
  5. ^ a b Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Evans, Edward Payson" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. p. 381.
  6. ^ a b c Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Evans, Edward P.". The American Cyclopædia.
  7. ^ "Evans, Elizabeth Edson". Chicago Examiner. Vol. 9, no. 230. September 15, 1911. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  8. ^ Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Evans, Edward Payson". The Encyclopedia Americana.
  9. ^ a b Evans, Edward Payson; Humphrey, Nicholas (1987). "Foreword". The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. London: Faber & Faber. p. xxviii. ISBN 978-0-571-14893-6.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  10. ^ Nash, Roderick Frazier (1989). The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-299-11843-3.
  11. ^ "Commissioned Text: Aleks Pluskowski on YEAST". [ SPACE ]. September 2016. Archived from the original on May 16, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.