Struck by a serious heart condition
during his senior year at Yale, Dickey returned to early interests in natural history and
photography to occupy his mind and hands during the prolonged recovery period. By the time
he had regained full strength in 1916, he had also formulated a new life goal: to establish
a research center for study of the vertebrate zoology of Southern California, and to build a
supporting collection of taxidermy specimens, photographs and books. This finding aid
introduces the still photography part and some movie footage of that collection: over 4000
images captured by Dickey and his associates on various formats of film negatives, glass
plates and slides. Each entry in the finding aid for the still photographs leads to a Dickey
negative and a 5 x 8" reference card which contains a positive image, and identifying
information. Three-hundred-and-fifty of the images, from 1911-1929, have been digitized and
are viewable online at: http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/dickey/index.cfm.
Donald Ryder Dickey (March 31, 1887-April 15, 1932) was an adventurous, pioneer wildlife
photographer as well as an ornithologist and mammalogist. He was well known in his time for:
his photographs (both still and moving) of birds and mammals; his lectures on wildlife; and
eventually, for his substantial specimen collection of birds and mammals. Drawn to outdoor
life in his childhood and youth, he considered this nothing more than a hobby until he
experienced a serious heart collapse in his senior year at Yale and was sentenced to
immediate and complete bedrest. Allowed to graduate with his class because of his high
academic standing, he returned after graduation to his parents' home in Pasadena for two
years of inactivity. He visited a friend's ranch in the Ojai Valley after about a year, and
there, from his steamer chair, he began to observe, and after a time to photograph, local
birds and their nests.
72.7 Linear Feet
Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary
rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the
responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the
copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does
not hold the copyright.
The collection is open for research. Contact the History and Special Collections Division,
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for information.