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Guide to the Osborn Family Papers
1832-1936
 MS 474

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 11, 2015

Container List

Series II: Henry Fairfield Osborn papers

Scope and Contents Note

Series II, Henry Fairfield Osborn papers, is organized into five subseries. (Note that this Series does not include the family correspondence of Henry Fairfield Osborn, which is found in Series I, Family Papers.)

Subseries II.1, Correspondence and related materials, includes HFO's non-family correspondence, primarily with professional colleagues and scientist friends. The most frequent correspondent is HFO's Princeton classmate and fellow paleontologist William Berryman Scott. Their letters (foldered separately) discuss both personal news and professional matters.

The remaining correspondence is foldered chronologically, and includes frequent letters between HFO and British evolutionary biologist Sir Edward B. Poulton. Other notable correspondents include Howard Crosby Butler, Charles F. Dawes, Seth Low, John Muir, John Stewart Kingsley, and Edith Roosevelt. Topics include professional research, publications and speaking engagements, and news about colleagues and friends.

Subseries II.2, Associations and honors, includes correspondence and other papers relating to HFO's numerous memberships in professional and social organizations and clubs, and his many honorary degrees, medals and decorations. Notable memberships include several organizations that promoted eugenics and/or racial purity, including the American Eugenics Society, the American Genetic Association, the Aryan Society, and the Galton Society. HFO was also a member of the exclusive Zodiac Club, along with J.P. Morgan, and this subseries includes invitations to dinners and other Zodiac Club correspondence. There are also several folders of correspondence relating to alumni events at Princeton. In addition, there is material relating to tributes in honor of HFO's birthdays, his retirement from AMNH and various other occasions.

Subseries II.3, Speaking engagements and publications, includes programs and announcements of some of HFO's lectures, and drafts of a talk ("What a Girl Can Do") and article on the topic of suitable occupations for women. Also included are articles by HFO on religion and evolution and on the history of the New York Zoological Society, which HFO founded (now known as the Wildlife Conservation Society, it manages the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium). There are also several folders of notes and drafts, and several folders of correspondence with Charles Scribner's Sons, who published multiple books by HFO.

Subseries II.4, Professional appointments and biographical information, contains material relating to HFO's tenure as President of the American Museum of Natural History (1908-1933). This includes correspondence and papers relating to the "Bumpus Affair" of 1910-1911, a conflict over exhibits between HFO and AMNH director Dr. H.C. Bumpus which resulted in the latter's resignation, and correspondence concerning the Roosevelt Memorial (cornerstone laid in 1931). Also included is one folder of material relating to HFO's appointment as a professor at Columbia University, and some biographical articles and notes.

Subseries II.5, Journals, consists primarily of annual leather-bound datebooks kept by HFO between 1899 and 1935. These contain both professional and personal notations, regarding appointments, engagements, travel and scientific observations, birthdays of friends and families, and significant events. Clippings, calling cards and similar materials were sometimes inserted next to related entries; to retain context, these have not been removed so researchers should be careful when handling.

There are also a few more extensive travel and expedition journals: 1867-68, 1871 (Europe), 1879 (Coburg/London), 1885 (Germany), 1913 (Western United States), and 1922 (China/Mongolia).

Subseries II.1: Correspondence and related materials

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 19 Folder : 1 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn

Scope and Contents Note

Correspondents include Alexander Agassiz (son of Louis Agassiz), Edith Roosevelt, and Benjamin Sharp.

1879, 1884-1889, undated
Box: 19 Folder : 2 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn

Scope and Contents Note

Includes a letter from John Muir while on the Alaska Harriman Expedition in 1899.

1890-1899
Box: 19 Folder : 3 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn

Scope and Contents Note

Includes 1912 correspondence between HFO and Jacob Schiff regarding the issue of immigration restriction.

1901-1913
Box: 19 Folder : 4 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn
1914-1920
Box: 19 Folder : 5 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn
Box: 19 Folder : 6 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn
1926-1931
Box: 20 Folder : 1 General correspondence, Henry Fairfield Osborn
1932-1936
Box: 20 Folder : 2 Letters from Henry Fairfield Osbon to William Berryman Scott

Related Archival Materials Note

For transcriptions of these letters, see Box 30, Folder 3.

1876-1882
Box: 20 Folder : 3 Correspondence of Henry Fairfield Osborn and William Berryman Scott

Related Archival Materials Note

For transcriptions of these letters, see Box 30, Folder 4.

1883-1892
Box: 20 Folder : 5 Correspondence of Henry Fairfield Osborn and William Berryman Scott

Related Archival Materials Note

For transcriptions of some of these letters, see Box 30, Folder 4.

1893-1914
Box: 20 Folder : 5 Correspondence of Henry Fairfield Osborn and William Berryman Scott
1921-1925

Subseries II.2: Associations and honors

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 21 Folder : 1 Memberships "A" (includes Argentina and Austria)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes Andrew Ward Association and Aryan Society.

1910's-1930'sm
Box: 21 Folder : 2 Memberships "A" ("American")

Scope and Contents Note

Includes American Ethnological Society, American Eugenics Society, and American Genetic Association.

1910-s-1930's
Box: 21 Folder : 3 Memberships "B" (includes Belgium)
1910-s-1930's
Box: 21 Folder : 4 Memberships "C" (includes China, Cuba and Czechoslovakia)
1910-s-1930's
Box: 21 Folder : 5 Memberships "D"-"F" (includes France)
1910-s-1930's
Box: 21 Folder : 6 Memberships "G" (includes Great Britain)
1910-s-1930's
Box: 21 Folder : 9 Memberships "H"-"I" (includes Italy)

Scope and Contents Note

Includes Immigration Restriction League, International Commission of Eugenics, and International Congress of Americanists.

1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 1 Memberships "N"

Scope and Contents Note

Includes New York Zoological Society

1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 2 Memberships "P" (includes "Persia")

Scope and Contents Note

Includes correspondence relating to "hoax" Puritan Memorial organization

1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 3 Memberships "R" (includes Russia)
1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 4 Memberships "S" (includes Sweden)
Box: 22 Folder : 5 Memberships "T"-"Z"
1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 6-7 Memberships -- Committees
1910's-1930's
Box: 22 Folder : 8 Memberships -- Mayor's Committee of Welcome
1913-1935
Box: 22 Folder : 9-10 Medals and decorations
1910's-1930's
Box: 23 Folder : 1 Clubs

Scope and Contents Note

Includes The Explorers Club and the Zodiac Club (correspondence, invitations and membership cards)

1910's-1930's
Box: 23 Folder : 2-3 Honorary degrees
1910's-1930's
Box: 23 Folder : 4 Princeton University
1877-1930
Box: 23 Folder : 5 Princeton University
1932-1935
Box: 23 Folder : 6 Princeton University -- Printed material and ephemera
1870's-1930's
Box: 24 Folder : 2 Tributes -- Chamber of Commerce
1929
Box: 24 Folder : 3 Tributes -- 70th Birthday
1927
Box: 24 Folder : 4 Tributes -- 75th Birthday
1932
Box: 24 Folder : 5 Tributes -- 76th and 77th Birthdays
1933-1934
Box: 24 Folder : 6 Retirement from AMNH
1933

Subseries II.3: Speaking engagements and publications

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 24 Folder : 7 Speaking engagements -- programs and printed material
1910's-1930's
Box: 24 Folder : 8 Speaking engagements and articles -- "What a Girl Can Do"
1935
Box: 25 Folder : 1 Articles and requests for articles relating to religion and evolution
1910's-1920's
Box: 25 Folder : 2 Published and unpublished histories of the New York Zoological Society by Henry Fairfield Osborn
1900-1935
Box: 25 Folder : 3-4 Drafts and notes
undated
Box: 25 Folder : 5 Correspondence with Charles Scribner's Sons
1925-1930
Box: 25 Folder : 6 Correspondence with Charles Scribner's Sons
1931-1936

Subseries II.4: Professional appointments and biographical material

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 26 Folder : 1 AMNH: Appointments and financial documents
1910's-1930's
Box: 26 Folder : 2 AMNH: Bumpus Affair
1910
Box: 26 Folder : 3 AMNH: Bumpus Affair
1910-1911
Box: 26 Folder : 4 AMNH: Roosevelt Memorial
1920's-1930's
Box: 26 Folder : 6-7 Checks and receipts for money paid to H.A. Whiteside
1922-1923
Box: 27 Folder : 1-3 Articles and clippings relating to Henry Fairfield Osborn
1910's-1930's
Box: 27 Folder : 4 Correspondence and notes relating to biography of Henry Fairfield Osborn

Related Archival Materials Note

See also Box 30, Folder 7.

1934-1936, undated

Subseries II.5: Journals

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 28 Journals, Datebooks/Diaries

Separated Materials Note

Several maps and other loose materials were removed from Osborn's 1913 journal and re-housed in Box 31, Folder 2.

1867-1868, 1871, 1899-1921
Box: 29 Datebooks/Diaries
1922-1935
Box: 27 Folder : 5 Travel diary, Coburg

Related Archival Materials Note

For transcription of this diary, see Box 30, Folder 8.

1879
Box: 27 Folder : 5 Travel diary, Germany
1885
Box: 27 Folder : 6 Transcription of 1871 journal of trip to Europe
1871
Box: 27 Folder : 6 Notes from expedition to Tennessee
undated
Box: 27 Folder : 5 Itinerary, 1933 trip to England and France
1933

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