Arthur Cleveland Bent Papers,
circa 1910-1954

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 7120
Creators:
Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954
Dates:
circa 1910-1954
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
10.38 cu. ft. (5 record storage boxes) (5 document boxes) (8 5x8 boxes)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This collection includes notes, correspondence, information, and photographs accumulated by Bent while writing the "Life Histories." Bent corresponded with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ornithologists while accumulating information for his life histories. Many of his correspondents sent information on many different species, therefore the correspondence or notes of any individual are likely to be spread throughout the collection, making name control cumbersome and impractical. However, Bent was scrupulous about crediting his contributors. The researcher is urged to consult the Introduction to each volume (in which major contributors are listed) as well as the index at the back of each volume. The index, however, contains only references to individuals quoted in the text, whereas the papers contain many contributions not quoted and therefore not indexed.

Historical Note
Historical Note
Arthur Cleveland Bent (1866-1954) began his multi-volume Life Histories of North American Birds in 1910 and spent the remaining years of his life attempting to complete the project. A prominent businessman and citizen of Taunton, Massachusetts, Bent had been an amateur ornithologist since his childhood. In 1910 he offered to undertake, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution and at his own expense, the completion of the Life Histories of North American Birds begun in the 1890s by Charles Emil Bendire (1836-1897). Between 1910 and his death Bent completed 20 volumes, one of which was published posthumously, and had accumulated notes for three other volumes, which were published in 1968 under the editorship of Oliver L. Austin, Jr.
The "Life Histories" were published as a series of "Bulletins" of the United States National Museum as follows:
107. Life Histories of North American Diving Birds, August 1, 1919.
113. Life Histories of North American Gulls and Terns, August 27, 1921.
121. Life Histories of North American Petrels and Pelicans and Their Allies, October 19, 1922.
126. Life Histories of North American Wild Fowl (part), May 25, 1923.
130. Life Histories of North American Wild Fowl (part), June 27, 1925.
135. Life Histories of North American Marsh Birds, March 11, 1927.
142. Life Histories of North American Shore Birds (pt. 1), December 31, 1927.
146. Life Histories of North American Shore Birds (pt. 2), March 24, 1929.
162. Life Histories of North American Gallinaceous Birds, May 25, 1932.
167. Life Histories of North American Birds of Prey (pt. 1), May 3, 1937.
170. Life Histories of North American Birds of Prey (pt. 2), August 8, 1938.
174. Life Histories of North American Woodpeckers, May 23, 1939.
176. Life Histories of North American Cuckoos, Goatsuckers, Hummingbirds, and Their Allies, July 20, 1940.
179. Life Histories of North American Flycatchers, Larks, Swallows, and Their Allies, May 8, 1942.
191. Life Histories of North American Jays, Crows, and Titmice, January 27, 1947.
195. Life Histories of North American Nuthatches, Wrens, Thrashers, and Their Allies, July 7, 1948.
196. Life Histories of North American Thrushes, Kinglets, and Their Allies, June 28, 1949.
197. Life Histories of North American Wagtails, Shrikes, Vireos, and Their Allies, June 21, 1950.
203. Life Histories of North American Wood Warblers, June 15, 1953.
211. Life Histories of North American Blackbirds, Orioles, Tanagers, and Allies, February 27, 1958.
237. Life Histories of North American Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings, Towhees, Finches, Sparrows, and Allies (in 3 volumes), 1968.
Bent regarded the "Life Histories" as collaborative works, and he solicited information, data, notes, and photographs from hundreds of professional and amateur ornithologists throughout North America.

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7120, Arthur Cleveland Bent Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Bent, Arthur Cleveland, 1866-1954 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bendire, Charles, 1836-1897 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Austin, Oliver Luther, 1903-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ornithology Topic 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