Ernst Mayr Library

Notes from William Brewster: American Robin

“It is sunset and as I sit in my study in the Museum a Robin is singing in an elm in the garden. What a hopeful, earnest strain! It always cheers and encourages me. Our Robin must have a brave heart and a pure conscience.”

– William Brewster, in correspondence to his friend, ornithologist Frank Michler Chapman. March 26, 1893. Cambridge, Mass.

William Brewster (1851-1919) grew up in a Cambridge of...

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Celebrating Louis Agassiz, founder of the MCZ

Naturalist, educator, and founder of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was born on May 28, 1807, in Môtier, Switzerland, the oldest son of prominent pastor Rodolphe Agassiz and Rose Mayor Agassiz. Growing up near Lake Morat, Louis was fascinated by fish, catching them barehanded along with his brother Auguste. Louis was determined to study science, although his family encouraged him to pursue medicine. He studied at the Universities of Munich, Heidelberg, and Erlangen, earning a Ph.D. in 1829 and an M.D. in 1830. His 1829 publication...

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Alexander Agassiz's Expedition and Other Images Collection: An Archivist’s Process

By Gwendolyn Henry, EdM, MSLIS

Archivist and Library Assistant

Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology

Harvard University

Processing the Alexander Agassiz's Expedition and Other Images Collection (1897-1950 (bulk)), which contains 734 gelatin dry plate glass negatives, 268 film negatives and 13 photographic prints requires several key skills: strong attention to detail, the ability to do research, knowledge of descriptive metadata, and most of all a steady hand.

I started this project in April 2012 with little experience in processing glass...

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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