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Finding Aid to the Robert C. Stebbins papers MVZA.MSS.0238
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/historical note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Arrangement note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert C. Stebbins papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MVZA.MSS.0238
    Contributing Institution: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 19.8 Linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1942-2013
    Abstract: The Robert C. Stebbins papers collection consists of bound and unbound field notes, correspondence, photographs and artwork, theses and doctoral dissertations, conservation study reports and data, maps, manuscripts, the manuscript and papers for the Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, EBMUD correspondence and papers, and digital material from his memorials.
    Creator: Stebbins, Robert C. (Robert Cyril), 1915-2013

    Administrative Information

    Conditions governing access

    The collection is open for research.

    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.

    Preferred citation

    [Identification of item], Robert C. Stebbins papers, MVZA.MSS.0238, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

    Biographical/historical note

    Robert C. Stebbins was born in 1915 in Chico, California. Early in his childhood, his family moved to Southern California (Pomona, CA, and Sherman Oaks, CA). He first attended UCLA for a degree in Civil Engineering. He switched his major to biology during his undergraduate career, and he received his PhD in Zoology from UCLA in 1943. In addition, Stebbins obtained teaching credentials at the elementary, high school, and junior college level in 1942, due to his strong interest in teaching. Stebbins joined the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) in 1945, as the first herpetology curator. During his time at the MVZ, he helped curate the herpetology collection, standardize preservation methods, establish curriculums, and create courses for the Department of Zoology (Mulcahy, 2006). His publications and research during this time pertained largely to Ensatina; these include studies on geographic distribution, locomotion, and the parietal eye. In 1978, he retired from the University as a professor, but he continued his research and work in conservation and in East Bay Park Development. He is the author of many books, including his most well-known work, the Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians in the Peterson Field Guide series (Stebbins, 1966, 1985, 2003). Stebbins was an accomplished artist and he dedicated a large portion of his time over the years to his artwork. He drew and painted the illustrations for his Field Guide and his field notes and personal research feature many hand drawn illustrations.
    Sources Consulted:
    "MVZ Biographies." Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. Accessed July 17, 2013. http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Biographies.html . Mulcahy, D. (2006). Robert C. Stebbins. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4098723 

    Scope and Contents note

    The Robert C. Stebbins papers collection, 1942-2013, consists of correspondence, theses and doctoral dissertations, unbound field notes, study data and reports, original maps, photographs, the manuscript and papers for the Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, unpublished papers, conference papers, as well as grant and contract records. The collection also contains many bound volumes of field notes from Stebbins' long career, spanning the second half of the 20th century and locations all over the globe. However, a large body of the field notes focuses on work done in California.
    The Stebbins papers contains his extensive correspondence from throughout his career, some of which includes photographs. Additionally, the collection also contains Stebbins' EBMUD papers and documentation concerning work done in the East Bay Regional Parks of California from the 1980s-1990s, including: correspondence with EBRP, biological survey maps, management programs, master plans, and study proposals. Notably, this collection also contains a large amount of artwork (mainly prints and paintings) from Stebbins' career as an accomplished artist; many of his notes and papers contain original sketches. The majority of the Stebbins collection concerns work done in the Western United States with reptiles and amphibians and this collection contains the original papers and manuscripts for Stebbins' most well-known work, the Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, now in its Third Edition, including the color swatches for the artwork he did for the guide from 2003. The collection is 14 cubic feet. This collection was processed with the help of Amy Moulthrop, an undergraduate research apprentice in the archives of MVZ. She cataloged a large portion of the field notes and contributed in writing biographical and administrative information for the Finding Aid.

    Arrangement note

    This collection has been arranged using five series: correspondence, research, East Bay park conservation, field notes (bound and unbound), and digital memorials.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Amphibians--North America--Identification
    Reptiles--North America--Identification
    Reptiles--West (U.S.)-- Identification
    Tilden Regional Park (Calif.)
    University of California (1868-1952). Museum of Vertebrate Zoology