This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These records document the history and development of the American Society of Mammalogists from the time of its inception through the year 1994. The collection includes
a number of early documents, some in the handwriting of the originators, and correspondence, minutes, reports, financial records, audiocassettes, photographs, and other memorabilia
from the files of most of the officers and many of the committees serving during 1919-1994. A commemorative wood-cased album contains photographs of all the presidents of
the society, and another contains photos of honorary members (see Box 159).
A history of the Society, 75 Years of Mammalogy, containing chapters contributed by a number of authors and edited by James N. Layne, was published in 1994. (Papers
connected with three of the book's chapters are included in Box 150, Folders 1-3). A less formal and perhaps more personal description of the early days of the Society was
written by Hartley H. T. Jackson in 1968 and sent to Donald Hoffmeister, then Society historian. This remarkable document, in Jackson's own hand, is preserved in the collection
(see Box 143, Folder 6) along with a number of other writings by Jackson and other early members.
The American Society of Mammalogists was formally established at an organizational meeting held in the new U.S. National Museum (now the National Museum of Natural
History), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., April 3-4, 1919. The meeting had been announced by a one-page circular mailed in February 1919 to several thousand prospective
members and by an advertisement in Science magazine. (See Box 62, Folder 1, Box 143, Folders 1 and 2, and Box 144, Folder 2 for minutes and reports of the organizational
meeting.) It was an outgrowth of the recommendations of an ad hoc committee established originally by several members of the U.S. Biological Survey, which at the time was
housed in the National Museum in Washington, D.C. The organizational committee consisted of Hartley H. T. Jackson, U.S. Biological Survey, chairman; Walter P. Taylor, U.S.
Biological Survey, secretary; Glover M. Allen, Boston Society of Natural History; Joseph A. Allen, American Museum of Natural History; Joseph Grinnell, University of California;
Ned Hollister, U.S. National Zoological Park; Arthur H. Howell, U. S. Biological Survey; Wilfred H. Osgood, Field Museum of Natural History; Edward A. Preble, U.S. Biological
Survey; and Witmer Stone, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Other staff members of the U.S. Biological Survey who contributed to the discussions of the committee
included Vernon Bailey, A. K. Fisher, William H. Cheesman, and E. W. Nelson. Sixty persons signed the Register of Attendance at the organizational meeting (see Box 143, Folder
2), but the list of charter members of the society includes approximately 400 names (see Box 62, Folder 2).
The by-laws (see Box 143, Folder 4) and rules of the new society were based on the constitutions and by-laws of the American Ornithologists Union, the American Society
of Naturalists, the Wisconsin Natural History Society, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, and the Biological Society of Washington. The Society was incorporated in the District
of Columbia on April 29, 1920, and the purpose of the Society is spelled out as "the promotion of the study of mammalogy by the publication of a serial and other publications,
by aiding research, and by engaging in such other activities as may be deemed expedient." (See Box 143, Folder 3.) Signatories to the Articles of Incorporation were C. Hart
Merriam, E. W. Nelson, Vernon Bailey, Hartley H. T. Jackson, Clarence R. Shoemaker, Charles W. Richmond, and Victor J. Evans. The Society publishes the Journal of Mammalogy
quarterly and a number of miscellaneous publications and several series on a less regular basis.