Roderick Ross MacFarlane (1833-1920) was born in Scotland, but joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1852 and spent most of the rest of his life in Canada. MacFarlane had charge of a number of fur-trading posts in western and northwestern Canada between 1852 and 1894. These posts were the only settlements in these areas and, as a result, were used as headquarters by a number of naturalists who explored and collected in the region. In 1859, Spencer F. Baird sent Robert Kennicott to the Mackenzie River area to collect for the Smithsonian Institution. Kennicott's work there stimulated MacFarlane's interest in natural history, and MacFarlane began to collect specimens from the areas where he was stationed. He made a number of important collections for the Smithsonian in this manner, chiefly of birds and mammals. He also published a few works on the birds and mammals of western and northwestern Canada.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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