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Henry Fairfield Osborn papers, 1879-1885

14 letters and 2 photograph albums

The Henry Fairfield Osborn collection contains the papers of the noted biologist, paleontologist, and president of the American Museum of Natural History. This includes correspondence, both professional and personal, and two photograph albums from trips to Russia and Colorado.

The Henry Fairfield Osborn papers represent a very small portion of an originally voluminous personal and professional correspondence. They contain five letters from William Berryman Scott to Osborn, 1879-1885, 9 letters from Osborn to his wife, Loulee, dated 1925 (one n.d.), and two extensive photograph albums assembled by Osborn during trips through Central Europe and Russia (1898) and Colorado (1899).

The Scott letters are scattered, but include two important letters written in Heidelberg, 1879 and 1880, when Scott was pursuing research on the embryology of the lamprey, Petromyzon and working toward his dissertation. At the time, Osborn was traveling in England, studying with Thomas Huxley. These letters provide an all too brief glimpse into the life of an American graduate student in Germany at the high point of the German academic tradition, and provide a fascinating insight into the early development of "professional" paleontology in the United States. The other three letters from Scott were written during the field seasons of 1882 and 1885, when he was working in the Great Plains states, excavating mid-Cenozoic mammalian fossils, including discoveries of some of the classic specimens of oreodonts, creodonts and fossil rhinoceroses.

The remaining letters in the collection were written by Osborn during a vacation at Trinchera Ranch, Fort Garland, Colo., in the summer of 1925. They are newsy, personal letters with little content of general interest.


Henry Fairfield Osborn photograph albums, 1898-1899

2 volumes

The Henry Fairfield Osborn photograph albums contain pictures taken during a visit to Germany and Russia in 1898 and while camping in Colorado in 1899.

This collection consists of two photograph albums that once belonged to Henry Fairfield Osborn. The first volume (19cm x 26cm), which has the title "Russia 1898" imprinted in gold on the front cover, contains 124 photographs (each 8.5cm square) taken in cities such as Paris, France; Cologne, Dresden, and Munich, Germany; St. Petersburg, and Moscow, Russia; five loose items, including a cyanotype and a view of the Eiffel Tower, are laid into the front cover. The pictures from Russia are mostly scenes of everyday city life, often showing local residents and horse-drawn vehicles. Some of the pictures from Germany show an outdoor market in a city square. One group of images was taken along a lake or river in a mountainous region, and another at a zoo; a man poses next to a hippopotamus's open mouth in two of the images. Visible landmarks include Cologne Cathedral (Cologne), a statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III in Heumarkt Square (Cologne), Kreuzkirche (Dresden), The Bronze Horseman (St. Petersburg), Kazan Cathedral (St. Petersburg), the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Moscow), the Cathedral of the Annunciation (Moscow), Spasskaya Tower (Moscow), the Kremlin (Moscow), the Isartor (Munich), and the Glyptothek (Munich).

The second volume (29cm x 38cm) has the titles "Photographs" and "Colorado 1899" imprinted on its front cover, the latter in gold. The 269 photographic prints, often mounted five or nine to a page, are scenes from a camping trip showing mountainous and wooded landscapes, camp and campers, and travelers on horseback. One group of photographs features a woman on horseback, and another group shows the head of a buck, complete with antlers. Two images show lightning strikes against a dark background. Henry David Osborn appears in at least one photograph--at the head of a group eating outdoors.


Jacob Ellsworth Reighard Papers, 1887-1942 (majority within 1890-1920)

13 linear feet

The Jacob Ellsworth Reighard collection contains the papers and photographs of a noted professor of zoology, including his research, class lectures and correspondence. Jacob Reighard was responsible for the development of modern zoological teaching and research at the University of Michigan and a national leader in the field of zoology.

The Jacob Reighard collection consists of thirteen feet of correspondence, speeches, lectures, drafts of writings, University of Michigan lecture and course materials, and files of research materials and field notes. The collection covers the period of 1887 to 1942. The collection has been organized into four series; Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, University Lecture and Course Materials, and Research Materials and Field Notes. This finding aid also contains a selective inventory of correspondents found within the Reighard papers.