Ernst Mayr Library

Transcribing the Field Notes of William Brewster

William Brewster (1851-1919) was a renowned American amateur ornithologist, first president of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and a president of the American Ornithologists' Union. He was an avid collector of birds and their nests and eggs, and collected over forty thousand specimens from 1861 until his death in 1919. His collection, bequeathed to the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, is considered one of the finest private collections of North American birds ever assembled. Though Brewster collected throughout North America, his collection is especially...

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Library Launches Exhibit On Bioluminescence

Deep-sea fishes that use glowing lures to capture prey ... fireflies like the ones in your backyard ... jellies from which Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), widely used in molecular & cellular biology, was first isolated ... glowworms that dangle glowing sticky threads to lure and capture prey ... even mushrooms and clams. So many luminescent organisms! Who would have thought!

Come check out the exhibit on Bioluminescence in the sunny lobby of the Northwest Building, 52 Oxford Street. Funded by Library Lab, the three display cases built by HMNH Exhibits staff...

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Spring Poem From the Library Pets

They say spring is coming, that it’s really here;
The days growing longer are bringing good cheer.
Are you tired of cold and of way too much snow?
Are you feeling eager for winter to go?

While snug in our houses, we don’t really care.
So come over to see us, that is, if you dare.
Bring us banana and we’ll be your friends;
Though we’ll dance on your graves when this old world ends.*

(* Not really; that would be our nasty cousins.)

Take your picture with a cockroach (or two)! No extra charge.

posted by Dorothy Barr

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Happy Holidays from the Library Pets

(To the tune of Jungle Bells, sort of )

Hissing roach! Hissing roach! We’re the very best;
Hissing roaches are so good, we’re not like all the rest.
Hissing as we go, we are very nice
Unlike all those other ones, we do not infest.

Oh! Cockroaches! Cockroaches!
We are very sweet.
We are very lovely pets
And we are very neat.

Best wishes from the Cockroaches (the Library Pets, NOT pests)

-posted by Dorothy Barr

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Fishy Party on Friday 2-4

To celebrate the re-opening of the HMNH Fish exhibit last week, the Library will have a little party on Friday June 8 from 2-4 pm. There will be snacks and drinks, but also an opportunity to view some of the fishy treasures from the Library's Special Collections. Some of these will be on display, but more will be available inside Special Collections (no food and drink in there, please!). If you attended the Save the Frogs party, you will remember how cool it was to see some of these priceless treasures that are not generally available for viewing. This will be more of the same, only fishy...

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The Finch Family Chronicles...

... have ended. Mr. and Mrs. Finch successfully raised three healthy strapping, noisy little Finches, and have departed from their little house on a ledge outside one of the Library's windows. The Finches were assiduous and devoted parents and we hope they will return later to raise another family. After all, there are lots more windows available .... Meantime, we miss the noisy little guys.

Library Pets

Countway has Cooper the Therapy Dog … the Ernst Mayr Library has a flourishing group of Gromphadorhina portentosa. More familiarly known as the Madagascar hissing cockroach, these animals, which can grow up to 4 inches long, are quite unlike their pesky cousins, the ones that invade our homes and, though harmless, usually disgust us. After all, most people don’t enjoy going into their kitchens at night and opening a cabinet only to have multiple roaches skitter into corners, across counters, and even up one’s arm. Note the newly molted roach in the pictures....

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Welcome to the Ernst Mayr Library blog!

In 1861 Louis Agassiz purchased books from the collection of Belgian paleontologist Laurent Guillaume de Koninick and along with Agassiz's personal collection, the MCZ Library was born.  In October 1995, the library was renamed in honor of Ernst Mayr, evolutionary biologist and former director of the MCZ.  Ernst Mayr was 91 when the library was renamed, and still actively publishing and participating in lively arguments with his colleagues until shortly before his death at 100 on February 3, 2005.

For a fuller library history, see the article by Robert Young, Special...

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