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Inventory of the T. S. (Theodore Sherman) Palmer Collection, 1849-1954
photCL 416  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Processing note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: T. S. (Theodore Sherman) Palmer Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1954
    Collection number: photCL 416
    Creator: Palmer, T. S. (Theodore Sherman)
    Extent: 87 photographs in two boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Abstract: Death Valley (Calif.), The Jayhawker Party of '49, Antelope, Owens and San Joaquin Valleys
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Gift of Mrs. Theodore S. Palmer, Dec. 14, 1955


    Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to the following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], T. S. (Theodore Sherman) Palmer Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Scope and Content

    Theodore S. Palmer (1868-1955), naturalist, was born in Oakland, California, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1888. He joined the U.S Department of Agriculture as field agent and ornithologist and shortly thereafter, in 1891, led an expedition from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney. In 1895 he received his M.A. degree from Georgetown University and in 1896 began work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Biological Survey. He became assistant chief there in 1897 and rose through the ranks until he was named Senior Biologist in 1928. After his retirement in 1933 he worked as an assistant zoologist, specializing in the nomenclature of mammals and birds, at the United States National Museum. He was a member of many distinguished organizations, was active on governmental regulatory bodies for game laws, and wrote numerous books and articles.
    The photographs that Palmer's widow donated to the collection were taken between January and September of 1891, when Palmer and his fellow scientists traversed California while collecting flora and fauna for the Department of Agriculture. The collection includes photographs of the Antelope, Owens, and San Joaquin Valleys as well as Death Valley. William C. Burnett, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who traveled with the expedition from February to May, took many of the Death Valley pictures. A smaller set of Death Valley pictures was taken by John R. Spears, a NY correspondent who visited Death Valley (December 1891) in the wake of the Palmer party. Palmer and various members of his party are responsible for the remaining photographs.
    Along with the photographs, The Huntington Library houses the personal papers of Palmer (Mss, Theodore S. Palmer Collections), which include his diary of the 1891 expedition, correspondence with his parents, Henry Austin Palmer and Jane Olivia (Day) Palmer, and from his brother Harold King Palmer, who was an astronomer at Lick Observatory and at Mt. Wilson in 1906. Housed separately, ephemera (Collection Box, Californiana, Promotional Literature, Death Valley) relates primarily to Death Valley and the Jayhawker party that crossed it in 1849

    Processing note

    The collection was previously housed in a subject file but has since been catalogued into a discrete collection. Old call numbers are on file with the curator of photographs.