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Bird Egg Collections papers
LA.2019.1003  
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Collection Details
 
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  • Scope and Contents
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library
    Title: Bird Egg Collections Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: LA.2019.1003
    Physical Description: .5 Linear Feet 7 files of textual materials, including correspondence, memos, catalogs, inventories, notes, and other materials.
    Date (inclusive): 1883-2004
    Abstract: The Bird Egg Collections Papers consists of correspondence, memos, catalogs, inventories, notes, and other materials from 1883-2004 related to the oological collections and collectors at San Diego Natural History Museum. The bulk of the collection pertains to the Bancroft Egg Collection and its eventual transfer to the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology.
    Container: 365
    Container: Artifact Shelf

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains correspondence, papers, and other materials related to the San Diego Natural History Museum's oological collections and collectors between 1883-2004. The bulk of the collection documents the transition of ownership and possession of the Bancroft Bird Egg Collection between 1931-1970, including its deposit with the San Diego Natural History Museum in 1941 and its eventual transfer to the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Also included are materials on the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, and animal specimen sales catalogs from 1883-1941. Some papers relating to Albert M. Ingersoll are also included.

    Biographical / Historical

    Egg collecting, also known as oology, was a popular form of natural history collecting in the nineteenth-century. As ornithology began to formalize as a scientific discipline in the late 1800s, commercial egg collecting was considered integral to ornithological research. Hobbyists utilized catalogs and lists advertising bird eggs, skins and nests for sale or trade to build their collections. However, a rise in popular interest in bird protection, fueled by the extinction of certain zoological species such as the Passenger Pigeon, led to stricter restrictions on the collection of animal specimens. By the end of the Second World War, egg collecting had declined.
    Albert Mills Ingersoll (1857-1954) collected eggs across the United States and across 24 California counties in particular. Among his most notable finds are a set of spotted owl eggs and a California Condor egg. Ingersoll served as Honorary Curator of Birds Eggs and Nests at the San Diego History Museum between the 1920s and the 1940s. His personal collection, which includes bird skins, nests, and eggs, is located at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology.
    Griffing Bancroft (1875-1955), the son of historian Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918), was an ornithologist and oologist. Bancroft collected one of the largest private egg collections in the country prior to WWII. In the 1940s, Bancroft placed the collection with the San Diego Society of Natural History. When the U.S. Navy took over use of the museum's building in 1943, Bancroft placed the collection with Ed Newton Harrison (1914-2002), a businessman and fellow collector of bird eggs, skins and nests.
    In 1956, Harrison founded the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) as a national repository for egg and nest collections. In 1970 San Diego Natural History Museum administrators arranged for a permanent loan transfer of the Bancroft Egg Collection to WFVZ.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment. Contact the Research Library Director, San Diego Natural History Museum.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright may be reserved. Consult the San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library Director for more information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bird Egg Collections Papers (LA 2019.1003). Research Library, San Diego Natural History Museum.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Birds -- Eggs
    Birds -- Nests
    Birds -- Eggs -- Collectors and collecting
    Zoological specimens -- Catalogs
    Bancroft, Griffing, 1879-1955
    Ingersoll, A. M., (Albert Mills), 1857-1954
    Harrison, Ed Newton, 1914-2002
    Abbott, Clinton G. (Clinton Gilbert), 1881-1946
    Jehl, Joseph R. , Jr., 1935-
    Hall, L. S. (Linnea Suzanne)
    Clark, Mary Hollis, 1921-2010
    Sefton, Joseph W., Jr., 1881-1966
    Huey, Laurence M. (Laurence Markham), 1892-1963
    Orcutt, Charles Russell, 1864-1929
    Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954
    Kiff, Lloyd F.
    Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (U.S.)
    Hager, Michael W.