8.5 cu. ft. (16 document boxes) (2 half document boxes)
1887-1957 and undated
These papers document Preble's personal life and careers with the Bureau of Biological Survey and the American Nature Association, and include general correspondence,
primarily incoming; published and unpublished manuscripts for scientific and conservation work; addresses and reports by others; field notebooks, diaries, lists and checklists
for his field explorations and local observations; research notes for his scientific publications on mammals and birds of the northwest; auction catalogs for skins; newsclippings
and photographs; and biographical information on Preble.
Edward Alexander Preble (1871-1957) was a naturalist and conservationist who conducted major field explorations of the birds and mammals of the northwest regions of
Canada and the United States. Preble was born in Sommerville, Massachusetts, and developed a strong interest in natural history during his youth in Wilmington, Massachusetts,
and summers in Ossipee, New Hampshire. Early natural history contacts included Frank Blake Webster and Frank Harris Hitchcock. Preble graduated from high school in Woburn,
Massachusetts, in 1889. Through his acquaintance with Hitchcock, Preble was appointed a field naturalist with the Bureau of Biological Survey in 1892 under Clinton Hart Merriam.
Preble was appointed assistant biologist in 1902, biologist in 1924, and senior biologist in 1928.
Preble began his field work career with Vernon Orlando Bailey in Texas, and worked in Georgia, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and Utah, conducting life zone samplings. In
1900 Preble began his major field explorations for the bureau with a trip to the Hudson Bay region of Canada with his brother, Alfred Emerson Preble. In 1901 the Preble brothers
traveled and collected in the Athabaska-Mackenzie (Canada) regions. In 1903 and 1904 the brothers continued their explorations of this region with Merritt Cary, and Edward
Preble remained in the Mackenzie River region alone through the winter of 1903-1904. The results of these explorations were published by Preble in A Biological Investigation
of the Athabaska-Mackenzie Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture, North American Fauna 27, 1908. Preble also traveled through the Athabaska-Mackenzie region to the Barren
Grounds with Ernest Thompson Seton in 1907.
In 1910 Preble, accompanied by George and Samuel Mixter, explored the Stikine River in Alaska, as well as Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, and North Dakota. Preble was
sent to investigate the status of the elk in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1911. In 1913, Preble led a big-game hunt in British Columbia for Charles Robert Cross. In 1914 Preble,
Wilfred Hudson Osgood, and George H. Parker served on a federal commission to study and report on the fur seals of the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. In addition to the report,
published in 1915, Preble also compiled A Biological Investigation of the Pribilof Islands, U.S. Department of Agriculture, North American Fauna 46, 1923. Preble's
last major field exploration was an investigation of the status of waterbirds of the Athabaska and Peace River deltas with Luther J. Goldman in 1934.
Preble kept detailed field diaries and notebooks with observations on the animals and birds he was studying, flora and physical surroundings, weather, routes and distances
traveled, individuals encountered, sketches of trapper and Indian life, and Indian terms for animals and plants. Most of these trips are represented in the collection. Preble's
research for the Bureau of Biological Survey resulted in faunal surveys and conservation/wildlife management reports, with few systematic or taxonomic studies.
In addition to field explorations, Preble always recorded observations of the local flora, fauna and physical surroundings in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and the Washington,
D.C., area. Preble lived in Washington, D.C., but also owned a cabin in Fairfax, Virginia, and a farm in Ossipee, New Hampshire. With Waldo Lee McAtee and Alexander Wetmore,
Preble conducted local bird counts for the Audubon National Society which were published in Bird-Lore.
Preble served as chairman of the Editorial Committee for the American Society of Mammalogists' Journal of Mammalogy from 1930 to 1935, was made a fellow of the American
Ornithologists' Union (AOU) in 1935, and was a member of its Bird Protection Committee.
In his later years with the Bureau of Biological Survey as senior biologist, Preble became very interested in wildlife management and conservation. In 1925 Preble was appointed
consulting naturalist for Nature Magazine, and in 1935 he retired from government service to become associate editor. Until his death in 1957, he edited, reviewed,
and wrote articles for Nature Magazine, the publication of the American Nature Association. He maintained contacts with other conservationists through the American
Humane Association, the Emergency Conservation Committee, the National Parks Association, the Committee on Wildlife and the Committee on Preservation of Natural Conditions
of the National Research Council, and the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund.
Preble published extensively throughout his life. In a bibliography published in 1965, McAtee credits Preble with 239 published items of 1500 pages in the form of articles,
books, reports, annotations, and edits of other works. Preble published several major faunal surveys for the Bureau of Biological Survey as well as a few systematic revisions
and wildlife management reports. He published bird counts and observations in The Auk and Bird-Lore, and wrote many articles for Nature Magazine and other
scientific and conservation journals. He also annotated three narratives of early explorers in the northwest, Samuel Hearne, David Thompson, and Thomas Hutchins (unpublished).
Although Preble was considered a dilatory correspondent, the collection contains a large volume of incoming correspondence, especially from Charles Christopher Adams, Harold
Elmer Anthony, Rosalie Edge, Francis Harper, William Temple Hornaday, Roderick Ross MacFarlane, Clinton Hart Merriam, Olaus Johan Murie, Wilford Edwin Sanderson, Ernest Thompson
Seton, J. B. Tyrrell, and Richard W. Westwood. There is little outgoing correspondence since Preble usually wrote letters by hand.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Committee.
The Doris Holmes Blake papers consist of correspondence, diaries, photographs and related materials documenting in great detail Blake's personal life and, to a lesser
degree, her professional career.
The heavy correspondence she maintained with her mother and daughter, her essays and children's books, and the 70 years' worth of daily journals all attest to her infatuation
with the written word and preoccupation with her inner life. Blake's diaries and family papers stunningly illuminate the contrasts in the daily lives of herself, her mother,
and her daughter.
The papers relating to her professional life are less complete. Although she spent almost 60 years (1919-1978) in association with the entomological staffs of the U. S.
Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution, published numerous professional papers, produced all of her own illustrations, and illustrated many of her husband's
botanical works as well, this collection contains only a very limited amount of material documenting those activities. The papers do, however, include her extensive correspondence
with fellow entomologists, both in the United States and abroad.
In the course of transferring her husband's papers to the University of Texas, some of Blake's own papers were included as well. They are presently in the collection of
the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin and include letters to her parents, 1906-1950; school and college notebooks, papers, essays and drawings;
and clippings, genealogical notes, and miscellaneous family letters and papers.
Doris Holmes (1892-1978) was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, to a middle-class grocer and his wife. Essentially an only child (two siblings died in early childhood
and infancy), her natural intelligence, stubbornness, and extremely competitive nature were well fostered by her parents, who steadily encouraged and supported her determination
Holmes left Stoughton for Boston University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1909, where she pursued studies in business and the classics, earning her A.B. in
1913. Her business skills led to her association with the Boston Psychopathic Hospital in 1913, initially as a clerk, and later as aide to Dr. Herman Adler. Her interests
in science and psychology led her to an A.M. from Radcliffe College in zoology and psychology in 1917.
After a short time as a researcher at Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women, Holmes married her childhood sweetheart, botanist Sidney Fay Blake. Early in 1919, Doris Blake
found work as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Entomology under Frank H. Chittenden, and began the entomological studies that would continue for the rest
of her life.
Blake worked her way up to junior entomologist and, when Chittenden retired, continued her work under Eugene A. Schwarz at the United States National Museum. The birth
in 1928 of daughter Doris Sidney (an infant son had died shortly after birth in 1927) was not a sign for her to slow down -- Blake hired a nurse to watch the baby while she
continued to watch beetles. In 1933 her official employment came to an end with the institution of regulations prohibiting more than one member of a family from holding a
government position (Sidney Blake was then working for the Department of Agriculture).
Although no longer on the payroll, Blake continued her taxonomic work on the family Chrysomelides for almost 45 more years, first as a collaborator and then as a research
associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Shortly after her husband's death, Blake traveled to Europe in 1960 on a National Science Foundation grant to revise the genus Neobrotica
Jacoby. She ultimately published 97 papers in various journals (see "Doris Holmes Blake," Froeschner, Froeschner and Cartwright, Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash., 83(3), 1981, for
a complete bibliography) and continued her active research until shortly before her death on December 3, 1978.