Alaska, April 12 - May 23, 1877

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This field book documents Nelson's time in Alaska between 12 April and 24 May 1877. Nelson traveled to Alaska as a weather observer in the Signal Corps of the United States Army in April 1877. From June 1877, he began his assignment to study the zoology of the area as well as meteorology, geography, and ethnology. In this field book, Nelson maintains a narrative description of his daily activities, in which he relates his observations of various animals including birds like albatrosses, finches, and hawks (he recounts his investigation of a hawk's nest), seals and otters, whales, and other animals. Nelson often includes taxonomic names (which species he thinks it is) and common names. Nelson also describes weather conditions, occasionally including the temperature. This volume includes some rough sketches of animals observed. Locations include Akutan, Seal Island, Unalaska, and possibly other locations in Alaska.

Date Range


Start Date

Apr 12, 1877

End Date

May 24, 1877

Access Information

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  • Zoology
  • Naturalists


  • Seal Island
  • United States
  • Alaska
  • Unalaska Island
  • Akutan Island


  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes
  • Diary

Accession #

SIA RU007364

Collection name

Edward William Nelson and Edward Alphonso Goldman Collection, circa 1873-1946 and undated

Physical Description

1 field book

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives


Box 11 Folder 1