This collection documents the different aspects of S. Stillman Berry's long, varied life, illustrating his experiences and work as a student at Harvard and Stanford Universities, as a malacologist, as an avocational and commercial horticulturist, and as an employee of the Scripps Institution for Biological Research. Berry's papers are also a primary source of information about his family life and many friendships. The collection is somewhat weak, however, in its coverage of Berry's involvement in the administration of the Winnecook Ranch.
The papers of S. Stillman Berry primarily consist of correspondence. Although the letters as a whole date from the 1880s to Berry's death in 1984, most of his family correspondence, which is comprised of letters written by Berry and his parents, is concentrated between 1900 and 1916, while the bulk of his scientific, horticultural, and personal correspondence is from 1920 to 1965. Also spread throughout the collection are financial records such as bills, receipts, and check stubs, certificates verifying the donation of specimens, import permits, manuscripts of articles and book reviews, and a small number of photographs. Of particular interest are series consisting of Berry's college and organizational records and memorabilia and of his diaries, which describe in minute detail his daily activities from 1911-1925 and 1931-1940.
Berry's family correspondence, personal correspondence, college and organizational records and memorabilia, and diaries are the main sources of information about his private life. Together they document Berry's childhood and adolescence; family relationships, particularly with his parents, other relatives in Unity, Maine, and cousins who lived in the Berry household in Redlands; friendships with classmates and professors at Stanford and Harvard Universities and with college students and acquaintances who visited him in Redlands or helped care for his house and garden; social activities; and political views. Two particularly well-documented events in Berry's life are his 1904-1905 excursion to Europe with his mother, which is described in Evelyn Crie Berry's almost daily letters to her husband and in Berry's diary of the trip, and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the subject of photographs, newspaper clippings, and family and personal correspondence. The most continuous records of Berry's domestic and social ties are his correspondence with Evelyn Crie Berry, which is especially voluminous during the years Berry attended college, and his five-year diaries. Unfortunately, both Berry's family correspondence and the diary entries cease in 1940, the year of Evelyn Crie Berry's death. Conversely, although Berry's personal correspondence extends from 1896 to 1984, copies of most outgoing and many incoming letters are not included in this collection.
Scientific correspondence and related materials constitute the primary record of Berry's activities as a malacologist, including the manner in which he acquired the materials for his research projects; his participation in scientific organizations; his interest in taxonomy and nomenclature; and his production and distribution of Leaflets in Malacology. His work for the Scripps Institution for Biological Research, as a Librarian and Research Assistant and as a Research Zoologist, is fully documented in a small, comprehensive series consisting primarily of correspondence, a large portion of which is with his supervisors, assistants, and other associates at the Institution. Berry's letters to his mother after 1909, the year he entered the Master's program in Zoology at Harvard, as well as his diary entries also occasionally refer to his scientific interests, work, and acquaintances.
Berry's scientific interest in hybridization and the origins and operation of his commercial nursery are documented by his horticultural correspondence and related materials. The diaries also indicate the bulbs and plants which he shipped and received, the customers who visited his garden, and his daily gardening chores. It should be noted, however, that there are no records in the collection explicitly relating to Berry's horticultural activities beyond the early 1950s.
As previously indicated, information regarding the Winnecook Ranch Company is generally fragmentary and scattered throughout the collection. The earliest years of the Ranch are described in Ralph Berry's correspondence, which frequently concerns the purchase of livestock, wool sales, ranch finances, and his business associates and employees at Winnecook. Stillman Berry's correspondence with Evelyn Crie Berry as well as his diary entries after his father's death in 1911 illustrate the beginning of his own involvement in the Ranch, including the steps which he and his mother took to gain a controlling interest in the Company. The only relatively cohesive group of documents about the Ranch from the 1940s to the 1970s are Berry's letters with officers of the Winnecook Ranch Company, particularly with Elwyn Dole and Thayer Stevens. Infrequent references are also made in the collection to the other business ventures of the Berry family, including Ralph Berry's investment in the Cuban-American Land Company, Evelyn Crie Berry's ownership of property in California, and Stillman Berry's leasing of Winnecook land to oil speculators.
The papers of S. Stillman Berry in the Smithsonian Institution Archives can be supplemented by records, specimens, monographs, reprints, and notes in other repositories and research institutions. All of Berry's malacological collections except for the cephalopod mollusks, including specimens, published manuscripts, photographs, and original drawings, were donated to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, as were about 40,000 reprints on shelled mollusks from Berry's private library; his collection of cephalopod specimens were given to the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. Berry's collection of horticultural books and reprints and the notes from his own hybridization experiments are now in the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; prepared specimens of California plants were presented to the herbarium at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. The correspondence of Berry's relatives in Unity, Maine, and documentation about the history and families of the town in general are housed with the Unity Historical Society, while Berry's genealogical library is with the University of Redlands. Finally, at some future date the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana, will receive custody of all records generated by the Winnecook Ranch Company since its incorporation in 1906, including minutes of board meetings, correspondence files, financial records, and maps.