Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Great Auk collection, circa 1805-1940 M0073
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (54.54 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • General note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Custodial History note

  • Title: The Great Auk collection
    Identifier/Call Number: M0073
    Contributing Institution: Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.25 Linear feet
    Date (inclusive): circa 1805-1940

    General note

    The Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis, formerly of the genus Alca, was a large, flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. Specimens of the Great Auk and its eggs became collectible and highly prized by rich Europeans, and the loss of a large number of its eggs to collection contributed to the demise of the species.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Dr. Berry was a U.S. marine zoologist who specialized in cephalopods. He received a B.S. (1909) from Stanford and his M.S. (1910) from Harvard. He then returned to Stanford for his Ph.D. work on cephalopods and got his doctorate in 1913. From 1913 until 1918, he worked as a librarian and research assistant at the Scripps Institution for Biological Research in La Jolla, California. He became a renowned malacologist, publishing 209 articles and establishing 401 mollusc taxa. Most of his work dealt with chitons, cephalopods, and also land snails. Berry also had an interest in horticulture, where he concentrated on the hybridization of irises and daffodils. For some time, from the 1920s until the late 1940s, he ran a horticultural business from Winnecook Ranch in Montana, which he had taken over after the death of his father in 1911. In 1917 he became the president of the Winnecook Ranch Company, a post he occupied until his death in 1984.

    Custodial History note

    The collection was built on the work of previous British collectors, primarily W. H. Mullens and Thomas Parkin. Transferred from the Stanford Natural History Museum, circa 1964.