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Thorp (Robbin W.) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Davis Library, Dept. of Special Collections
    Title: Robbin W. Thorp Papers
    Creator: Thorp, Robbin W. (Robbin Walker), 1933-
    Identifier/Call Number: D-657
    Physical Description: 3 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1966-2002
    Abstract: Materials related to the research career of emeritus professor of entomology and expert in bee biology Dr. Robbin Thorp. The collection includes field data, correspondence and notes, meeting and conference proceedings, and publications.
    Physical Location: Researchers should contact Archives and Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.


    Dr. Robbin Thorp (1933-2019) was a distinguished emeritus professor of entomology who taught at UC Davis from 1964-1994 and who continued to contribute to UC Davis and other research institutions until his last moments. He was born on August 26, 1933 in Benton Harbor, Michigan and earned his bachelor of science in zoology in 1955 at the University of Michigan; his master's degree in zoology in 1957 at the University of Michigan; and his PhD in entomology in 1964 at UC Berkeley. That same year, he joined the entomology department at UC Davis where he taught courses that ranged from insect classification, general entomology, the natural history of insects, field entomology, California insect diversity, and pollination ecology. Dr. Thorp also taught a 9-day intensive summer workshop from 2002-2018 that focused on bee biology and taxonomy: it was sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Arizona. This summer course was considered the premiere native bee biology and taxonomic course.
    Aside from a distinguished teaching career, Dr. Thorp was also a leading researcher and expert in the entomology and taxonomy of bees. He co-authored a few books, Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University, 2014) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday, 2014) and continued to pursue research projects at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology and the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.) Some of his research involved monitoring bees in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, where he established a baseline in 2008 and detected more than 80 species of bees. His expertise in his field of study has earned him multiple honors and recognition among his peers across the nation, one of which is the Distinguished Emeritus Award in 2015. According to a colleague, Norman Gary, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, he was the go-to person to distinguish a bee by species. As a result, his academic peers regard his level of expertise unmatched and regret that such expertise will no longer be available. He passed away at the age of 85 on June 7, 2019 in Davis, six months after his wife Joyce died at the age of 84 on December 9, 2018. Their survivors are three children, Kelly, Katie, and Jeff and two stepchildren, Donna Gary and Steve Gary.
    Biography by Vanessa Cardona-Ocegueda
    Keatley Garvey, Kathy. "Dr. Robbin Thorp: 1933-2019." ANR Blogs, 7 June 2019, https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=30459  . Accessed 27 November 2019.

    Scope and Contents

    Materials related to the research career of bee biology expert Dr. Robbin Thorp. The collection includes field data, correspondence and notes, meeting and conference proceedings, and publications.

    Processing Information

    This collection was processed by Liz Phillips with help from student assistant Aditi Sinha and Vanessa Cardone-Ocegueda.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robbin W. Thorp Papers, D-657, Archives and Special Collections, UC Davis Library, University of California, Davis.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Transferred to UC Davis Library by Lynn Kimsey, 2019.

    Publication Rights

    All applicable copyrights for the collection are protected under chapter 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code. Requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bees -- Research
    Bees -- California
    University of California, Davis -- Faculty -- Archives