The Miscellaneous Materials of Oscar Cartwright

Our series Miscellaneous Adventures dives into the Oscar L. Cartwright Papers and materials from Washington D.C.'s Cosmos Club. 

Front Cover of the Cosmos Club Bulletin, April 1967, Vol. 20, No. 4. For our next Miscellaneous Adventure, you voted to open Record Unit 7338, Oscar L. Cartwright Papers, 1929-1979 and undated, Box 16, Folder Miscellaneous Reports, Publications, and Photographs, 1951-1979 (2 folders).

Among the various items in the first folder was a set of materials relating to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. The Cosmos Club is a private social club founded in 1878 with the goal of advancing its members in science, art, and literature. According to a list found in the folder, in 1966, Oscar Cartwright was admitted to membership, along with other notable figures, like biochemist Seymour Kaufmann and forester Charles H. Stoddard. Cartwright was a coleopterist who specialized in scarab beetles, and a curator in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History from 1963 to 1970.

Cartwright’s interest in scarab beetles explains why there are numerous photographs and drawings of beetles scattered through these two miscellaneous folders. These is also a work order request placed with the Photographic Services Division for copies of a photograph of “unknown scats containing many insect remains.”

Unknown scats containing many insect remains

Drawing of Cartwrightia intertribalis.

The second miscellaneous folder in this box primarily contains materials relating to the Entomological Society of America and Entomologists in the Pacific Science Association, but there is an article towards the back that I found interesting. The article, titled “A Batch of Bug Finders,” is from the March 20, 1970 edition of Life magazine, and it talks about the discovery of eight new species of bugs by three Arizona State University students. What was interesting about the article was that it talked about how rare it was for a student or nonprofessional to discover a new species, let alone for three such people to make discoveries within months of each other.

A Batch of Bug Finders, LIFE Magazine, March 20, 1970, pgs 59-60.

To see what other miscellaneous mysteries exist in our collections, comment below, or message us on Facebook or Twitter to:

Vote Folder A  for Record Unit 65, Smithsonian Institution Chief Clerk, Forms, Circulars, Announcements, 1846-1933, Box 14, Folder Miscellaneous Forms - Assorted.


Vote Folder B for Record Unit 7079, Philosophical Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.), Records, 1871-1968 and undated, Box 37, Folder Miscellaneous Photographs.

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