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Finding Aid to the Joseph S. Dixon papers MVZA.MSS.0079
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Joseph S. Dixon papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MVZA.MSS.0079
    Contributing Institution: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 11.0 Volumes
    Date (inclusive): 1908-1929
    Creator: Dixon, Joseph S. (Joseph Scattergood), 1884-1952

    Administrative Information

    Conditions Governing Access note

    The collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joseph S. Dixon Papers, MVZA.MSS.0079, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright restrictions may apply. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives in writing for approval. Please contact the Museum Archivist for further information.

    Related Archival Materials note

    Related materials of Joseph S. Dixon's correspondence while on the staff of the University of California at Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology may be found in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology historical correspondence 1908-1930 collection  (MVZA.MSS.0117).

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Joseph S. Dixon was born in Galena, Kansas on March 5, 1884. Very early in his life his family moved to San Diego, California where they owned a citrus farm. Joseph attended public schools in the Escondido area, and later attended Polytechnic Institute where he studied biology under Joseph Grinnell. He joined the Harvard Siberian Alaska Expedition sponsored by Annie M. Alexander in 1907. Due to unexpectedly severe weather the planned six-month trip stranded the group for nineteen months.
    In 1908, Grinnell was appointed as founding Director over the new Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) at the University of California at Berkeley. Dixon followed Grinnell to U.C. Berkeley and, after completing his graduate studies under Grinnell in 1915, Dixon joined the faculty at the museum, first as Assistant Curator of Mammals and later as the museum’s Economic Mammalogist. Dixon participated in Grinnell's scientifically important biological transect of the Yosemite region. By this time Dixon was known as a highly experienced field researcher and was assigned to lead a second important survey of the Kings River Canyon region, later known as the Sequoia Survey.
    In 1932 Dixon left the MVZ to join the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service where he was assigned to prepare a book to be called "The Birds and Mammals of Sequoia National Park." Ultimately, due to lack of wartime funds, the project was not completed. The book was later completed by Lowell Sumner, and was published in 1953. Dixon died shortly before the book was published, but it has been considered a primary resource for studies of the biology of Southern Sierra. Dixon is considered a pioneer of wildlife research and a forerunner of the field of conservation biology.

    Scope and Contents note

    The Joseph S. Dixon Papers collection consists of 11 bound volumes spanning the years 1908-1929. Originally maintained by the author in three-ring field note binders, the notes were later separated and bound chronologically. The notes include journals, catalogues, and species accounts from localities within the western United States, primarily California. Some of the field notes contain hand drawings of specimens, map sketches, and photographs.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is arranged in three primary series: I. Field notes taken in 3 ring notebooks and rebound in MVZ standard bound field books, II. field notes in (other) formats which have not been rebound in MVZ standard binding, and III. a photographic series comprised of small series of glass plate negatives, personal photos of Dixon's colleagues, and a collections of deer photos.
    The sections are bound in the order presented in this guide.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Biological specimens--Collection and preservation.
    Biology Fieldwork
    Scientific expeditions--California
    University of California (1868-1952). Museum of Vertebrate Zoology