Bailey, Vernon, 1864-1942

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Biographical History

Vernon Orlando Bailey (1864-1942) was born in Manchester, Michigan, on June 21, 1864. 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.


Perry, M. C, C. S. Bond, and E. J .R. Lohnes. (2007). Washington Biologists' Field Club, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. Retrieved from

Related entities

  • United States. Bureau of Biological Survey: He was a field naturalist with the US Biological Survey.
  • Bailey, Florence Merriam, 1863-1948 : Wife

Birth Date


Death Date





Personal name