Guide to the Great Auk collection, circa 1805-1940 M0073

Finding aid prepared by Tim Noakes
Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Stanford University Libraries
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, California, 94305-6064
Repository email:

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.

Box 1, Folder 1

"The Great Auk," bound collection of articles

Box 1, Folder 2

"The Great Auk: A record of sales of birds and eggs...'" by Thomas Parkin (2 copies)

Box 1, Folder 3

"Relics of the Great Auk," John Milne

Box 1, Folder 4

"The Great Auk," Thomas Parkin

Box 1, Folder 5

"Great Auk in Scotland," Smith

Box 1, Folder 6

"The Great Auk's Eggs," Darley Dale

Box 1, Folder 7

"Seven Models in Light Wood of Eggs"

Box 1, Folder 8

Drawings of eggs, E. W. Bladen, 1934

Box 2, Folder 1

Photographs (Auk researcher, unidentified)

Box 2, Folder 2

Photographs (Auk)

Box 2, Folder 3

Photographs (Auk's eggs)

Box 2, Folder 4

Photographs (Auk's eggs)

Box 2, Folder 5

Photographs (Auk's eggs)

Box 2, Folder 6

Photographs (Auk's eggs)

Box 2, Folder 7

Photographs (Auk's eggs)

Box 2, Folder 8

Photographs (Auk, skeleton,eggs, etc.)

Box 2, Folder 9

Drawings (Auk, eggs)

Box 2, Folder 10

"Photographs and Plates of Eggs of the Great Auk"

Box 2, Folder 11

Miscellaneous photographs of birds

Box 3, Folder 1

Correspondence: Herbert Massey, [Tom Jacklin ?]

Box 3, Folder 2

Correspondence: Herr G. A. L. Bisseling

Box 3, Folder 3

Correspondence, miscellaneous

Box 3, Folder 4

Miscellaneous article: Bulletin of the British Oological Society

Box 3, Folder 5

Miscellaneous article: "Exporations in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1887, made in Connection with the cruise of teh U. S. Fish Commission Schooner Grampus," by Frederic A. Lucas, 1891

Box 3, Folder 6

Miscellaneous correspondence

Box 3, Folder 7

The Great Auk museum advertisement

Box 3, Folder 8

"A Manx Record of the Extinct Great Auk: a Discovery of a Figure of the Garefowl made in 1651-52," with correspondence

Box 3, Folder 9

Descriptions of Plates for Auk book

Box 3, Folder 10

"The 320 Guinea Egg Shell"

Flat Box 4, Folder 1

The Great Auk: engravings and photographs

Flat Box 4, Folder 2

The Greak Auk eggs: photographs and prints

Flat Box 4, Folder 3

List of egg owners

Flat Box 4, Folder 4

Various clippings

Flat Box 4, Folder 5

"Der Riesencalk, Alca impennis L.," Dr. Wilhelm Blasius, 1903