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Palmer (Theodore Sherman) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • General
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Theodore Sherman Palmer papers
    Creator: Palmer, T. S. (Theodore Sherman), 1868-1955
    Identifier/Call Number: mssPalmert
    Physical Description: 7 Linear Feet (5 boxes, 1 oversize map)
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1954
    Abstract: A collection of material related to naturalist Theodore Sherman Palmer, with special emphais on Death Valley, California, and the Jayhawker Party.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Theodore Sherman Palmer papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Mrs. Theodore Sherman Palmer, December 1955.

    Biographical / Historical

    Theodore Sherman Palmer (1868-1955) was an American naturalist and historian. Palmer 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 a field agent and ornithologist; he led the first Death Valley expedition in 1891. In 1895, he received his M.D. from Georgetown University and in 1896, he began work with the U. S. Department of Agriculture Biological Survey; by 1928, he reached the level of Senior Biologist. After his retirement in 1933, he became an assistant in zoology at the United States National Museum as a specialist in the nomenclature of mammals and birds. He was a member of many organizations, was active on governmental regulatory bodies for game laws, and wrote books and articles.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection of 306 items from 1849 to 1954, it consists of Theodore Sherman Palmer's diary of the Death Valley Expedition (1891), related notebooks, and his research material on the Jayhawker Party of 1849. Correspondents include Theodore Raymond Goodwin, William Lewis Manly, and Carl Irving Wheat. Of note in the collection is an oversize map by William Lewis Manly of the Jayhawkers' trail from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Bernardino, California circa 1890 (mssHM 50895). The collection also contains family letters from Palmer's parents, Henry Austin Palmer and Jane Olivia Palmer; in addition to letters from Palmer's brother, Harold King Palmer (an astronomer at Lick Observatory and at Mount Wilson in 1906), and his aunt, Harriet Day Palmer.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library Staff, circa 1985. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


    Arranged chronologically.


    Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssHM 50761-50909, mssFAC 1064-1065, mssFAC 1082.

    Related Materials

    There are 87 photographs related to Palmer's 1891 expedition (photCL 416) housed in the Photo Archives.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Scientific expeditions -- Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.)
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.)
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.) -- Description and travel
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.) -- Discovery and exploration
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.) -- History
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.) -- Maps
    Diaries -- United States -- 19th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States
    Notebooks -- United States
    Research (document genres) -- United States
    Goodwin, Theodore R., 1877-1969
    Manly, William Lewis, 1820-1903
    Palmer, Dorothy
    Palmer, Harold K. (Harold King), 1878-
    Palmer, Harriet Day
    Wheat, Carl I. (Carl Irving), 1892-1966
    Jayhawker Party