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Guide to Charles Russell Orcutt Papers MS 5
MS 5  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Comments
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Title: Charles Russell Orcutt Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 5
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.5 Linear feet (5 boxes)
    Date: 1878-1952
    Abstract: This collection contains materials related to Charles Russell Orcutt’s work in Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico and the American Southwest as well as his family history.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.
    creator: Orcutt, Charles Russell

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Charles Russell Orcutt, born in Vermont in 1864, was a pioneer naturalist of the American Southwest. He was a resident of San Diego from 1879 until his death in 1929, but spent much of his time traveling and collecting botanical and zoological specimens for supply houses and research organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution. His travels took him throughout the American Southwest, Mexico and to the islands of the Caribbean, where he died. Self-educated, Orcutt was an entrepreneur and an editor of his own scientific journals, and made significant contributions to the fields of botany and malacology.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains materials related to Charles Russell Orcutt’s work in Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico and the American Southwest as well as his family history. The materials consist of correspondence, journals, writings, research and field notes and personal items. Orcutt often reused paper from letters he had received, creating several instances of more than one piece of correspondence on a single sheet. Some correspondence is transcribed. The best collection of Orcutt materials extant, the collection chronicles the last few years of the naturalist’s life. The completeness and format of the correspondence in particular, provide an almost daily record of his activities during this period. The collection also includes volumes of Orcutt’s two major journals, the Jamaica Naturalist and the West American Scientist. There is genealogical information on the Orcutt family and materials regarding other family members, including his wife Olive Eddy Orcutt, a San Diego physician and the first woman M.D. graduated from the University of Michigan, his mother, and his children and grandchildren.


    The collection is arranged by series:
    Series I: Charles Russell Orcutt Professional Papers
    Series II: Charles Russell Orcutt Family Papers

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Most of the papers including datebooks, journals and field notes are fragile and some have water stains. The more fragile pieces have been placed in protective sleeves or envelopes. (May 2013)

    Preferred Citation

    Charles Russell Orcutt Papers, MS 5, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Jennifer Vanoni on May 15, 2013.


    Photographs were removed to the Photograph Department. See Collection #82:14189.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 810606 and 831025A.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bartram, Edwin B.
    Ivec, Eunice Orcutt
    Orcutt, Charles Eddy
    Orcutt, Eliza
    Orcutt, Heman
    Orcutt, Mary
    Orcutt, Olive Eddy
    Vendryes, Henry
    American Southwest
    San Diego Society of Natural History
    Smithsonian Institution
    West Indies