This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
This collection documents Bailey's career as a field naturalist and consists mostly of field notes and journals maintained on his many biological expeditions and field trips, 1889-1941. Also included is a small amount of correspondence with Bureau of Biological Survey staff and personal friends, 1913, 1922, 1927-1932, 1939; photographs; newspaper clippings; and manuscripts of monographs and articles by Bailey, 1921-1940, and undated.
Vernon Orlando Bailey (1864-1942) was born in Manchester, Michigan. At an early age he and his family moved to Elk River, Minnesota, where he developed an interest in natural history. Around 1885, Bailey began sending collections of birds and mammals to Clinton Hart Merriam, Chief of the newly created Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy of the United States Department of Agriculture (in 1896 the name was changed to the Bureau of Biological Survey). In 1887, Bailey was appointed special field agent for the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy. His title was changed to chief field naturalist in 1890, and he remained with the Biological Survey until his retirement in 1933. Bailey's chief biological interest was the study of the life history and distribution of mammals. During his career with the Biological Survey, he made field investigations throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including intensive biological surveys of Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon. His bibliography numbered 244 titles and included scientific monographs, as well as publications for the general reader.
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