George C. Leib of Erie County, Ohio, sent a specimen of this bat to naturalists Audubon and Bachman in 1842. They recognized it as a new species and named it after Dr. Leib.
This bat was not recognized as a species until 1928. In 1966, its rarity was mentioned by Doutt, Heppenstall, and Guilday in Mammals of Pennsylvania. Today, it is a federally endangered species. It is known from several caves in the Commonwealth today and these sites are gated to protect the species from disturbance.