About UCMP : History of UCMP
UCMP archival collections
A Works Progress Administration worker cleans up a mastodon jaw, ca. 1938
The University of California Museum of Paleontology houses not only
fossils, but a sizable collection of printed material, images, and memorabilia.
These are important both for paleontological research and for documenting
the history of the Museum and of paleontology in general.
The Museum maintains a collection of over 10,000 paleontological reprints,
plus numerous books, journals, and monographs, covering all aspects of
paleontology, and including rare and important items. Most of these were
donated by faculty and staff members for example, professor emeritus
Wayne Fry has donated his paleobotanical library, and museum scientist Donald Savage,
his reprint collection. In addition, the Museum acquired the library of the late
micropaleontologist Alfred R. Loeblich, Jr., one of the world's most
extensive private collections of micropaleontological literature. These
resources complement the extensive paleontological holdings of the UC Berkeley
Biosciences and Natural Resources
The Museum also maintains a catalog of Museum publications (those published by
Museum-affiliated scientists and/or based on fossils in UCMP's collections).
The paleontological reprint collection is catalogued on index cards and is not
yet available in computer format. Most of the books, journals, and monographs have
not been catalogued at all, and are simply shelved by subject area. All printed
material is kept in the collections area, and may be used by UCMP staff or
UCMP-sanctioned researchers. It is generally not available for long-distance loan,
although reprints of Museum publications may be requested while stocks last.
The UCMP Archives contain thousands of original drawings and photographs,
newspaper clippings, maps, field notes, and personal papers and correspondence
of prominent paleontologists affiliated with the Museum. Of particular interest
is a collection of photographs of the paleontological artwork of
William Gordon Huff, who sculpted the
paleontological exhibits for the Golden Gate Exposition of 1939 and 1940. Most
of these represent artworks that are now missing and presumed destroyed. Regarding maps, the museum retains several files of maps and map indices, and a Master Locality Map File (mostly topographic) of UCMP localities. Contact a Museum Scientist for access and use policy. Also
of interest to paleontologists is UCMP's field note collection, which documents
many fossil localities that are now lost or destroyed.
William Huff's sculpture of Pliohippus, a Miocene horse, from
the Golden Gate Exposition 1939-1940.
Field notes are maintained in the UCMP locality files, and are not normally
made available except to qualified researchers. Much of the rest of the
archival material is uncatalogued, and is now in some disarray. An
effort to catalogue this material is underway; when it is completed, we
anticipate that this collection will be an important resource for the
history of American paleontology.
In 2003, UCMP began adding images from the archives to our online collections
database. Although the bulk of those uploaded to date are specimen images, we are
also adding historical and modern
field photographs. UCMP localities represented at present are Black Hawk Ranch, California and Canjilon, New Mexico.
Some items from the archives
Below is a small sample of the treasures of our archives, to give the flavor
of what's there and also to present a little about our Museum's history.
UCMP holds the papers of a number of paleontological personages. These papers may include correspondence, field notes, slides, and other documents. Historians and other researchers may be granted access to these collections click on any of the four boxes below for more information.
A photo from Annie Alexander's scrapbook of the
"Saurian Expedition" of summer 1905, in the Humboldt Ranges of Nevada. Pack
horses transport the bones of a fossil ichthyosaur down to base camp.
An early quarry at the "tar pits"
of Rancho La Brea, 1912. At that time, Los Angeles was seven miles to the south. Today, the locality is
in the midst of the city's downtown, but in 1912, oil companies were tapping this wilderness area for gas
and oil. Rancho La Brea has yielded a remarkable fauna of late Pleistocene animals, notably large vertebrates
like the saber-toothed cat.
Top: a letter dated March 14, 1921 from University President David Barrows, thanking
Annie Alexander for her endowment toward the creation of a Museum
of Paleontology at Berkeley.
Bottom: an examination given in December 1901 by Professor Merriam to the undergraduates in the
Palaeontology 5 course (Introductory Paleontology).
The faculty of the Department of Paleontology in 1915, on the steps of Bacon Hall (located
near the Campanile, which had been completed a year earlier). Upper step, from left: Earl L. Packard, W.S.W.
Kew, and J.O. Nomland. Lower step, from left: J.P. Buwalda, J.C. Merriam
(with hat), Chester Stock, and Bruce L. Clark.