This collection consists mostly of incoming and outgoing correspondence documenting Cartwright's research on Coleoptera. Also included are records concerning his curatorial
work at the Division of Insects, USNM, and the Department of Entomology, NMNH; field work; and professional activities. Smaller amounts of correspondence were written during
his pre-Smithsonian career. The collection also contains a few photographs and illustrations of beetles, and research notes.
Oscar L. Cartwright (1900-1983) was a coleopterist and specialist on the biology and taxonomy of scarab beetles. He was educated at Allegheny College (B.S., 1923) and
Ohio State University (M.S., 1925). In 1925, Cartwright was appointed Assistant Entomologist at the South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station at Clemson College. He remained
at Clemson until 1948, except for the years 1945-1946 when he was employed by the United States Public Health Service to study mosquito and rat borne diseases in South Carolina
and Tennessee. In 1948, Cartwright was appointed Associate Curator in the Division of Insects, United States National Museum (USNM). When the Department of Entomology was
created in 1963, as part of a reorganization of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Cartwright was appointed Curator and supervisor of the Division of Coleoptera.
After his retirement in 1970, Cartwright continued his research as an Emeritus Entomologist at NMNH.
Cartwright was an authority on Western Hemisphere Aphodiinae, a subfamily of scarab beetles. He conducted field work in the southeastern United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, and the Bahama Islands. His bibliography included over 80 titles in which 132 new taxa were described. Seventeen beetles were named in his honor.