Special Collections & Archives

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...

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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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MCZ Archives Collection Chosen for Harvard University Library's Colonial North American Project

The Ernst Mayr Library's Collection of Historical Manuscripts has been chosen to be included in the Colonial North American Project, a multi-year Harvard University Library project "funded by Arcadia to survey, process/catalog, conserve, digitize," and make accessible "all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate...

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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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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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