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Guide to the Hamilton A. Tyler Papers, 1915-1984
BANC MSS 85/103 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Hamilton A. Tyler Papers,
    Date: 1915-1984
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/103 c
    Collector: Tyler, Hamilton, A.
    Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 4 cartons Linear feet: 6.25
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Series 1: personal and professional correspondence, including letters from entomolgists working in Equitorial regions, and correspondence between Tyler and Sevrin Housen, owner of Naturegraph Publishers.

    Series 2: manuscripts and working notes for Tyler's writings.

    Series 3: background notes, research materials, a small amount of miscellaneous personal records, and index cards used in research.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Manuscripts Division. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hamilton A. Tyler papers, BANC MSS 85/103 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collection

    Title: John G. Tyler Letters,
    Date (inclusive): [ca. 1905-1937],
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 79/111 c

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Hamilton A. Tyler papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Mrs. Hamilton Tyler, on August 8, 1984.


    Hamilton Alden Tyler was born in Fresno, California, in 1917. His father was an ardent field ornithologist, a contributor to Bent's Life Histories, and the author of a study on nesting habits of birds. Young Tyler's interest in insects and earliest training began as an egg boy, climbing up trees and over cliffs for various naturalists.
    After attending the University of California, Berkeley, with a brief interval as a squad leader on the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War, Tyler became a farmer, then a landscape gardener, and finally, a professional writer. His long-held interest in literature continued, with his Sonoma County farms becoming a crossroads for traveling poets and the literary and artistic wing of conscientious objectors; Robert Duncan and William Everson both lived for a time at Treesbank.
    Tyler has written books and articles on gardening and Pueblo Indian culture and ceremonialism, especially concerning the complex roles of birds and mammals in native mythology. He is also known for his book on owls and for The Swallowtail Butterflies of North America, a compendium of all the known species, subspecies, and forms found from Yucatan to Alaska.

    Scope and Content

    A well-rounded naturalist, Hamilton A. Tyler wrote with authority on several different subjects. His Papers point to this variety in both his correspondence and manuscripts. Three boxes of professional and personal correspondence in Series 1 provide extensive documentation of the research done by the lepidopterists and ornithologists with whom Tyler corresponded and traded. Many of the letters are from entomologists working in Equatorial regions collecting butterfly samples and data. While this collection contains primarily incoming correspondence, letters written by Tyler may be found in the exchange of correspondence between Tyler and Sevrin Housen, owner of Naturegraph Publishers. These, in particular, document and give insight into the very personal process and business of running a small, specialized press.
    On the literary side, among Tyler's correspondents were poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Thomas Parkinson, who includes with one of his letters, a poem titled, An Elegy to Ezra Pound. Tyler and his wife, Mary, were also long-time friends of poet, Robert Duncan. A reminiscence of Tyler's memories of Duncan, written with Mary, may be found in the miscellaneous writings sub-series at the end of Series 2 (Carton 4, folder 22).
    Manuscripts and working notes for Tyler's writings are found in Series 2, arranged by title. Background notes, research materials, and a small amount of miscellaneous personal records comprise Series 3. Two boxes of index cards of references on butterflies, owls, woodpeckers, and unidentified subjects complete this series.