MCZ

Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature (EABL)

This post was written by Patrick Randall, Community Manager for the IMLS-funded Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literatre (EABL) grant.

The EABL project began in the fall of 2015 and ends in January, 2018. This post discusses the goals of the grant, the role of the Ernst Mayr Library in meeting those goals, and the zoological titles that have been added to the collection of the...

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Notes from William Brewster: Puzzling out Bird Sounds

This post is part of a series on the collection of ornithologist William Brewster (1851-1919) at the Ernst Mayr Library, written by Elizabeth Meyer, library project assistant.

“The conditions which govern the singing of birds are a constant puzzle to me,” Brewster wrote in his journal after decades of ornithological study. [1] We have some solid information now about how and why birds make certain sounds [2], but Brewster didn’t know the difference between songs and calls; that sounds can serve to attract mates and declare a...

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Hubert Lyman Clark Papers: Building a Finding Aid

 

    This spring I was an intern at the Ernst Mayr Library and Museum of Comparative Zoology Archives of Harvard University.  I worked with Robert Young,  the Special Collections Librarian/archivist. My project taught me how to compose a finding aid from scratch, while bringing together information about multiple collections. In the case of the Hubert Lyman Clark papers, for which I created the finding aid, there were multiple relevant collections accessioned at different times that needed to be synthesized into one document  to successfully...

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Notes from William Brewster: The Evolving Field of Zoology

This post is also published on the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog.

As a part of the Field Notes Project, the Ernst Mayr Library is digitizing the journals, correspondences and photographs of William Brewster (1851-1919), a self-trained ornithologist and specimen curator at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), the first president of the...

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Who was Ruth Turner?

[written by Bruno Costelini, Science without Borders intern at the Ernst Mayr Library]

Ruth Dixon Turner (1914-2000) was one of the foremost marine scientists of the 20th century. She taught at Harvard but carried out research all over the world, working with wood-boring mollusks, such as shipworms. In the late 1970s after the discovery of hydrothermal vents she was the first woman to dive in the deep submergence vehicle Alvin, which she kept on doing for the next couple of decades.

While going through her papers, housed at the Library, we came across the following...

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Notes from William Brewster: Trials in Wildlife Photography

This post is part of a series on the collection of ornithologist William Brewster (1851-1919) at the Ernst Mayr Library, written by Elizabeth Meyer, Library Project Assistant.

In the mid-1890s, Brewster’s journals increasingly reference using new methods of data collection. Though he continued to collect specimens on a smaller scale, with focus shifted from birds to their nests and eggs, his journals show that he began to use his gun more for securing dinner than for data collection. He started to bring field glasses (binoculars) and a boxy Kodak camera on his excursions.

Setting up photographs in the field was challenging. Sometimes a bit of prep work helped, such as thinning the foliage in backcountry areas: “I spent the day ashore taking a walk through the wood road in the forenoon with camera & hatchet selecting & cutting out spots for photographing later.” (Sunshine, Deer Island, Maine. June 26, 1896.)

Opportunistic shots of live animals were even trickier, but once in a while he managed to get some good shots. 

Porcupine

Sepia-toned photo of a porcupine on a tree branch.

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