Scope and Contents note
Title: Robert C. Stebbins papers
Identifier/Call Number: MVZA.MSS.0238
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives
Language of Material:
19.8 Linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1942-2013
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.
Stebbins, Robert C. (Robert Cyril), 1915-2013
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.
[Identification of item], Robert C. Stebbins papers, MVZA.MSS.0238, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives, University of California,
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.
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.
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
Reptiles--West (U.S.)-- Identification
Tilden Regional Park (Calif.)
University of California (1868-1952). Museum of Vertebrate Zoology