Copies of correspondence between George J. Gibbs and others on a variety of topics, especially anthropological, ornithological, and geneological. Included is corresponsence with Spencer Baird and Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution; John Evans; Joseph Hutchings; W.R. Inglis, "late" president of the Turks and Caicos Islands; J.H. Lefroy, "fomer" governor of Bermuda; Sir Anthony Musgrage, governor of Jamaica; and Joseph Hutchings. Also included are photographs of Baird, Evans, Hutchings, Inglis, Lefroy, and Musgrave; a copy of James Smithson's will; sketches of artifacts; geneological information regarding the original colonists of the Bermudas, and excerpts from other sources.
Biographical / Historical:
Virtually no biographical information is available. From the text, a birthdate for George J. Gibbs of ca. 1833 has been deduced. In the manuscript, Gibbs states that his father was the Honorable George Gibbs "of these islands" and that his uncle was William H. Gibbs who died ca. 1876. G.J. Gibbs lived on Grand Turk Island of the British West Indies, at that time a Jamaican dependency, was married, and had children (number unknown). According to the text, he became an invalid due to an illness ca. 1875.
Date of birth determined by extrapolation from text: on page 286, 1878, Gibbs says that for 42 years he knew no illness, but "three years ago"  he became ill from exposure on a hunting trip and has ever since been an invalid. [1875 - 42 years = 1833, hypothetical birth date.]
"A correspondence relative to Ancient Stone Implements etc., etc. between George J. Gibbs of Grand Turk and Caicos Islands, W.I. and John Evans Esquire F.R.S. & F.S.A., Honorary Secretary of the Geological and Numismatic Societies of London etc., etc. (the author of a work established in London in the year 1872 entitled ʻAncient Stone Implements, etc. of Great Britainʼ) also with Joseph Henry Esquire Secretary and Diretor of the Smithsonian Intitute and of the National Museum of the United States of America at Washington, D.C. and with other partners on various subjects."
B.G.E. St.Aubyn, Windsor House, Cayman Islands, British West Indies gift July, 1973 74-1
The administration of the United States National Museum required curators to submit regular reports on the activities of the departments, divisions, and sections. Prior
to about 1900 these reports were often made monthly and semiannually as well as annually. The reports were traditionally submitted to the Director of the National Museum to
be used in preparing the published Annual Report of the United States National Museum. The individual reports, however, were not reproduced in their entirety in the published
Annual Report and generally contain more information than is to be found in the published version.
Reports were stored by the Office of Correspondence and Reports (later known as the Office of Correspondence and Documents), and then by the Office of the Registrar.
Includes reports submitted to the Director of the United States National Museum by curators and administrators.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Committee.
These papers include a very small amount of general correspondence regarding membership in scientific organizations and actions taken by the Washington Council of Social
Agencies (1930); field notes of bird investigations in Haiti, Florida, the Florida Keys, and the West Indies (1912-1927); research notes taken on the Albatross Philippine
Expedition (1907-1909); field notes and specimen collections made on the Thomas Barrera expedition to Cuba (1914); field notes, manuscript, maps, supply inventories,
financial accounts, correspondence and newspaper clippings regarding the expedition to the West Indies under the Walter Rathbone Bacon Travelling Scholarship (1928-1930);
notes, balloon observations, log accounts on board the Caroline, sonic soundings, photographs, blueprints, newspaper clippings and correspondence describing the first
Johnson-Smithsonian deep-sea expedition to the West Indies (1933); correspondence, manuscripts and photographs documenting the Bartsch process for the preservation of wood
fibers (1914-1929); biographical material regarding Bartsch and Carlos de la Torre; mollusk notes unidentified; speeches; student theses, reports and examinations; photographs
of Bartsch, Carlos de la Torre, mollusca, birds, and unidentified research activities and friends on Loggerhead Key, Tortugas, Bird Key, Margarita Island, Cuba, and other
islands in the Caribbean; prints for Bartsch's publication on "Pirates of the Deep--Stories of the Squid and Octopus;" newspaper clippings regarding mussels and pearls for
the pearl button industry (1907-1909), and Bartsch's activities in conservation (1933).
Correspondents include Charles G. Abbot, Fred Corry Bishopp, William H. Dall, Eldridge R. Fenimore Johnson, William B. Marshall, G. E. Rice, Carlos de la Torre y de la
Huerta, Washington Council of Social Agencies, Alexander Wetmore, Francis White.
Born in Tuntschendorf, Silesia, Paul Bartsch (1871-1960) received an early interest in nature from his father, who was an entrepreneur and amateur naturalist, and an
interest in medicine probably from his mother, who had received a degree in obstetrics at the University of Breslau. As a result of a depression in the 1880s, the elder Bartsch
went into financial bankruptcy. By utilizing the last savings of Bartsch's mother, the Bartsch family was able to emigrate to the United States, finally settling down in Burlington,
Paul Bartsch was at first determined to become an ornithologist, but after talking to Professor Samuel Calvin, geologist at the State University of Iowa, he instead enrolled
for course work which included a broad spectrum of the various sciences. Before completing his degree, Bartsch left for Washington, D.C., to accept a position as an aid with
William H. Dall, honorary curator of the Division of Mollusks, United States National Museum.
After entering into research on mollusks, Bartsch expanded his activities, pursuing ornithological investigations and teaching biology and zoology to university students.
Interested in medicine and the biological training of medical students, Bartsch began teaching histology at the Medical School of Howard University in 1899. This position
lasted for thirty-seven years when he became director of the Histological and Physiological Laboratory. In 1900, Bartsch began teaching zoology at George Washington University,
becoming professor emeritus in 1945.
Bartsch's work at the United States National Museum, meanwhile, led to his appointment as assistant curator of the Division of Mollusks in 1905, and then curator of that
division in 1914. He retired from his duties at the Smithsonian Institution in 1946. Bartsch's work on explorations included positions as the Smithsonian representative on
board the Albatross Philippine Expedition (1907-1909) and director of the Thomas Barrera expedition to Cuba (1914); he received the Walter Rathbone Bacon Travelling
Scholarship to explore the West Indies (1928-1930) and was director of the first Johnson-Smithsonian deep-sea expedition to the West Indies (1933), all of which are documented
to some extent in these papers. In his expedition to the West Indies Bartsch was aided by his friend Carlos de la Torre. This resulted in their collaboration on the publications
regarding the Annulariidae of Cuba, the Bahamas, and Hispanola, and the Cyclophoridae of the Americas. Their monograph, "The Terrestrial Mollusks of the Family Urocoptidae
in the Island of Cuba," is still unpublished.
This collection contains almost no private correspondence (for official correspondence see Museum of Natural History, Division of Mollusks, Record Unit 73).
Besides receiving his Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1905, Bartsch was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from George Washington University (1937).
He was president of the Wild Flower Preservation Society (1920-1924), president of the Biological Society in Washington, D.C. (1913-1915), and vice-president of the Washington
Academy (1913-1915), among other numerous memberships and offices which he held in scientific societies.
The papers of Leonhard Stejneger consist of manuscripts on Japanese herpetology, Chinese herpetology, Puerto Rican and West Indian herpetology, North American herpetology,
poisonous snakes, turtles, fur seals, ornithology, European fauna and the study of life zones; manuscripts, general notes and bibliographic notes and correspondence regarding
the publication of Stejneger's biography of Georg Wilhelm Steller; diaries, notebooks, and account books covering much of the time Stejneger spent at zoological congresses
and on field trips; photographs of fur seals and natives of the North Pacific-Bering Sea area; photographs of mammal skulls and skeletons; scrapbooks; outgoing correspondence;
and personal material.
Leonhard Stejneger (1851-1943) was born in Bergen, Norway, and received his early education there. Later he studied medicine and law at the University of Kristiania.
Stejneger's interest in zoology began at an early age, for he produced his earliest field notes in ornithology in 1867. Four years later his first zoological paper was published,
and in 1873 his first book was published. He described his first bird, Lanius bairdi, in 1878. In 1881 he left Norway for the United States and arrived in Washington,
D.C., where be soon began working with the birds of the New World at the Smithsonian Institution, particularly aquatic birds. In December 1884 he was appointed assistant curator
in the Department of Birds under Robert Ridgway, curator. In 1889 after the resignation of Henry Crecy Yarrow, honorary curator of the Department of Reptiles and Batrachians,
Stejneger became the first full-time curator for the Department. In 1903 he served as acting head curator of the Department of Biology for several months, and in 1911 he was
appointed head curator of the Department of Biology after Frederick William True vacated the post. From that time until his death, Stejneger served both as head curator of
the Department of Biology and curator of the Division of Reptiles and Batrachians. Also, for years he chaired a Smithsonian committee which considered manuscripts for publication.
In 1882 Stejneger was sent to the Commander Islands under the auspices of the U.S. Signal Service to establish observation stations. While there he studied the islands'
natural history, the fur seals, and made specimen collections, including the skeleton of a sea-cow. As the problem of the fur seals and commercial sealing became an international
economic and political concern, Stejneger's studies of the seals and the sealing conditions became more involved. In 1895 he was sent to the North Pacific as an attache of
the U.S. Fish Commission. The next year President Cleveland appointed Stejneger to the International Fur-Seal Commission; he spent most of this time on the Pribilof and Commander
Islands as well as some time in Hakodate, Japan. He returned to the Bering Sea again in 1897 to continue his studies and investigations. His last trip to the Commander Islands
was in 1922 as a representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
As a representative of the United States National Museum, Stejneger attended several international scientific congresses. He attended the International Zoological Congresses
of 1898, 1901, 1904, 1907, 1913, 1927, and 1930, as well as ornithological and fisheries congresses. He was elected to the International Committee on Zoological Nomenclature
in 1898 and served as the organizing secretary for the Section on Zoogeography at the 1907 Zoological Congress. Because most of the congresses were held in Europe, Stejneger
was able to study European museums and their specimens as well as European fauna and the correlation of life zones between Europe and North America.
Stejneger also made field trips to various sections of the United States and nearby areas. After joining C. Hart Merriam's biological survey of the San Francisco mountain
region in 1889, he collected specimens in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. In 1894 he took a field trip to the South Dakota Badlands. In 1900 he joined Charles W. Richmond,
assistant curator in the Division of Birds, on an expedition to Puerto Rico and the West Indies, and during the summer of 1906 he studied the salamanders of Augusta County,
After his first trip to the Commander Islands in 1882 to search for evidence of the Steller sea-cow, Stejneger began compiling data and conducting exhaustive research on
Georg Wilhelm Steller, the pioneer of Alaskan natural history who accompanied Vitus Bering to North America. For approximately fifty years Stejneger researched his subject
and finally published the biography of Georg Wilhelm Steller in 1936.
In addition to the above publication, Stejneger's bibliography contains more than four hundred titles. Of particular importance are Results of Ornithological Explorations
in the Commander Islands and in Kamtschatka (1885), portions of the Standard Natural History (1885), edited by J. Sterling Kingsley, The Poisonous Snakes of
North America (1895), The Russian Fur-Seal Islands (1896), Herpetology of Porto Rico (1904), and Herpetology of Japan and Adjacent Territories (1907).
With the collaboration of Thomas Barbour of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Stejneger published a Check-List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles
in five editions (1917, 1923, 1933, 1939, 1943).
Stejneger's correspondence as curator of Reptiles and Batrachians as well as some correspondence he conducted while assistant curator in the Department of Birds is found
in the Division of Reptiles and Amphibians Records, 1873-1968 (see Record Unit 161).