George Clyde Fisher was born on May 22, 1878 near Sidney, Ohio. He obtained an A.B. from Miami University in 1905 and a Ph.D. in botany from Johns Hopkins University in 1913. He was later conferred an LL.D. from Miami University in 1926. He became Principal of Palmer College Academy from 1907-1909 and acting President from 1909-1910. He also served as an instructor at Cornell University, the University of Florida, and the University of Tennessee before joining the staff at the American Museum of Natural History in 1913. In 1928 he became the Curator of the museum's Department of Education and in 1935 was named the Head of the Hayden Planetarium. Later, in 1941, became the Honorary Curator.
In 1905, he married Bessie Wiley and they had three daughters together. Clyde and Bessie later divorced.
Dr. Fisher had a great interest in the languages and customs of North American Indians, making several trips to the American Southwest. He also visited Arctic Lapland twice. His interest in Native American culture led him to meet his future wife, a Chickasaw Indiana Princess, Te Ata. They married in 1933.