These papers contain Gill's manuscript notes for a variety of published and unpublished essays on his taxonomic studies and specimen descriptions. Included are descriptive lists and notes of specimens acquired from the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1942), North Pacific Railroad Expedition (1853-1856), and Mexican Boundary Survey (1855-1857). Gill's work with these specimens was probably carried out around 1860. In a portion of one essay Gill briefly discusses his professional disagreements with noted naturalist Louis Agassiz. Much of the papers appear to be draft copies of essays and articles published by the Smithsonian or other scientific bodies. They begin as early as 1858 (a memoir on the history of fresh water fishes of Trinidad, published in the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York). Most of Gill's work was published in the Proceedings of the United States National Museum, the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections or in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian. In many instances, it is unclear whether Gill was carrying out his ichthyological studies for the Smithsonian or for the United States Fish Commission, which was headed by Spencer F. Baird for the period 1871-1887.
The papers also include essays and articles used in the ornithological magazine, Osprey, which Gill edited from about 1898-1908. A small amount of general correspondence is included, dating 1871-1908. One manuscript volume, entitled Science and Nature, appears to be a partially-completed (90 pages, A-B only) handwritten nomenclature dictionary begun by Gill.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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