Philip Carpenter was one of the most important early workers in American conchology, especially on the shells of the west coast of North America, and a leading conchologist in England in the mid-nineteenth century. Born in Bristol, he attended Manchester College, then at York, and served as a nonconformist minister at Stand, near Manchester, and at Warrington. He was interested in social and sanitary reforms. His most important work was on the shells collected by Frederick Reigen at Mazatlan, on the west coast of Mexico, from which he produced a catalogue for the British Museum and various reports for the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He emigrated to Canada in 1865 and died in Montreal while working on a monograph of chitons. Several museums in Europe and North America house Mazatlan shells and other Carpenter material.