Charles Wachsmuth (September 13, 1829 – February 7, 1896) was an American paleontologist born in Hanover. Educated as a lawyer, he left his profession due to ill-health and emigrated to the United States. He settled in Burlington, Iowa where he became fascinated with the crinoid fossils found in the local limestone formations. Within a few years he had built an extensive collection.
In 1864 he met Louis Agassiz and the following year traveled to Europe where he studied crinoids in the British Museum and other famous collections. Inspired, he devoted all his energies to the continued collection and study of crinoid fossils. He supplied crinoid specimens to Agassiz in Cambridge and to the British Museum.
He befriended another attorney, Frank Springer, in Burlington and together they continued the study of crinoids and published a series of important studies on the subject.
Professor Wachsmuth was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the Geological Society of America, of the Iowa Academy of Science, of the Imperial Society of Natural Sciences of Moscow, and corresponding member of the Philadelphia Academy of Science.