Edgar Alexander Mearns Papers,
circa 1871-1916, 1934 and undated
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 7083
Creators:
Mearns, Edgar Alexander, 1856-1916
Dates:
circa 1871-1916, 1934 and undated
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3.5 cu. ft. (7 document boxes)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This collection documents Mearns' career as a field naturalist and expedition member and consists of correspondence, 1898-1909, including photocopies of letters written by Mearns while he served on the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition of 1909; biographical material on Mearns and his family; field notes, research notes, specimen lists, photographs, and related materials concerning Mearns' field work, 1871-1911; and correspondence, photographs, drawings, and research data regarding Mearns' work on the United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey, circa 1891-1907. This finding aid also describes Mearns' papers housed in the Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History (see series 6, boxes 8-27).

Historical Note
Historical Note
Edgar Alexander Mearns (1856-1916) was an army surgeon and field naturalist. He developed an early interest in natural history, studying the flora and fauna around his home in Highland Falls, New York. Mearns was educated at Donald Highland Institute, Highland Falls, and in 1881 graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York. In 1883, he was commissioned assistant surgeon in the Medical Corps of the Army and assigned to duty at Fort Verde, Arizona. He was transferred to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1888. In 1891, Mearns was assigned to serve as medical officer with the United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey. From 1892 to 1894, Mearns explored the boundary line from El Paso, Texas, to San Clemente Island and collected 30,000 specimens of flora and fauna which were deposited in the United States National Museum (USNM). From 1894 to 1903, Mearns continued his natural history investigations while stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia; Fort Clark, Texas; Fort Adams, Rhode Island; and Fort Yellowstone. He also conducted field research in the Catskill Mountains and Florida during this period. Between 1903 and 1907, Mearns served two separate tours of duty in the Philippine Islands. While in the Philippines he made natural history collections and participated in expeditions to the three highest mountains in the islands, Mount Apo, Grand Malindang, and Mount Halcon. After returning to the United States, Mearns served at Fort Totten, New York, until his retirement from the Army on January 1, 1909. Later in that year, he was invited by Theodore Roosevelt to accompany the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition as naturalist. From 1909 to 1910, Mearns explored parts of British East Africa from Mount Kenia to the White Nile. Mearns' last expedition was in 1911, when he served as a naturalist with the Childs Frick Expedition to Africa.
Mearns' primary biological interests were ornithology and mammalogy. He was a founding member of the American Ornithologists Union and in 1909 was appointed honorary associate in zoology of the USNM.

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7083, Edgar Alexander Mearns Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Mearns, Edgar Alexander, 1856-1916 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey, 1891-1894. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Army. Medical Corps Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Ornithologists' Union Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian African Expedition (1909-1910) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Childs Frick Expedition to Ethiopia and Kenya Colony (1911-1912) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mammalogy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Natural history Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ornithology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mammalogists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ornithologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scientific illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Field notes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu