fromThe Coloration of Birds
by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Ornithology Manuscript Collections in the
Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections

Prepared by Elaine D. Engst, Director and University Archivist, Rare and Manuscript Collections

History

In 1966, with the assistance of Olin Sewall Pettingill, then director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Professor Peter Paul Kellogg, Cornell University Library initiated a collecting program relating to the study of ornithology. Herbert Finch, who was then the associate university archivist, wrote about the program:

"Ornithology and Cornell have been associated through many years and several distinguished scientists. The departmental records and the personal papers of several ornithologists are contained in the University Archives. ... Recognizing the value of this material and appreciating the numerous phases of ornithology in which Cornell has pioneered, the University Archives plans to build a complete research unit on the history and development of ornithology. To accomplish this we are soliciting personal papers from people who have shared in this development or have been associated with Cornell in this venture."

Personal papers were to include "correspondence, original field journals and notes, original manuscripts, drawings and documentary photographs, and sound recordings." Soon 24 of the ornithologists contacted had promised or sent their papers to Cornell. Over the years, many other collections were received, and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections now holds more than 50 individual manuscript collections documenting all aspects of ornithology. In the tradition set by the Lab of Ornithology, with which the division continues to work closely in its collecting efforts, holdings document both scientific research in the field and the contributions of amateur birders.

 

 

Online guide developed from:

Ornithology Collections in the Libraries at Cornell University: A Descriptive Guide
Revised Edition, 1999
Ithaca, New York
1999 Cornell University Library
Webpage last revised: 6/10/99 by jfc & clsb.