This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These papers consist of correspondence from John Xantus to Spencer F. Baird, mostly concerning Xantus' collecting activities, 1857-1864. Also included are several letters (and copies of letters) from various individuals concerning Xantus, especially letters of recommendation for the position of U. S. Consul at Manzanillo, Mexico.
After entering the U. S. Army in 1855, Xantus began using the name Louis de Vesey. The letters in this collection for the years 1857-1858 are signed three different ways: DE VESEY, L. X. DE VESEY, and L. XANTUS DE VESEY. By 1859, he had readopted his given name and letters are signed J. XANTUS.
A native of Hungary, John Xantus (1825-1894) came to the United States in 1850. In 1855, he entered the United States Army and served as a hospital steward at Fort Riley, Kansas Territory, 1855-1857, and Fort Tejon, California, 1857-1859. In January 1859, Xantus was appointed tidal observer for the United States Coast Survey stationed at Cape San Lucas, Lower California, where he remained until August 1861. After a short visit to Hungary, Xantus was appointed United States Consul at Manzanillo, Mexico, on November 25, 1862. In 1864, he returned to Hungary, where he spent the remainder of his life.
In 1857, Xantus began corresponding with Spencer F. Baird, and in subsequent years he made extensive collections for the Smithsonian Institution, especially in the field of ornithology.
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