U. S. National Museum log book of collecting trips for fossil cetaceans 1906

ID: SIA Acc. 14-191

Creator: True, 1906 - 1908

Form/Genre: Fieldbook record

Date: 1906-1908

Citation: Frederick William True Field Notes, 1906-1908, from the Department of Paleobiology

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The notebook documents Frederick W. True's work collecting and studying cetacean specimens, March 28, 1906 - June 29, 1908. Entries are dated and narrative in structure. They describe work in the field and visits to other natural history institutions to study collections. He made several visits to a women's college in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Entries relating to field work describe locality and routes, time of day visited, tide, weather conditions, terrain and environment, initial identification (scientific name) and anatomy (e.g. teeth, vertebrae) of specimens collected, and daily expenses. Specimen numbers are listed in True's handwriting. Others appear to have been added later, possibly by Remington Kellogg. True also includes notes on possible collecting sites seen enroute, e.g. along railroad tracks. Most of field work was completed along cliffs of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Work was also completed across other locations in Maryland such as Governor's Run.

Date Range


Start Date

Mar 28, 1906

End Date

Jun 29, 1908

Access Information

At least 24 hours advance notice is recommended to consult this collection. Contact the Department of Paleobiology at 202-633-1334 to make an appointment.


  • Mammalogy
  • Paleontology
  • Cetaceans


  • United States
  • Chesapeake Beach
  • Maryland


  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes

Accession #

SIA Acc. 14-191

Collection name

Frederick William True Field Notes, 1906-1908, from the Department of Paleobiology

Physical Description

1 field book

Physical Location

National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Department of Paleobiology

[[front cover of log book]]
[[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[underlined]] U. S. National Museum [[/underlined]] [[underlined]] Log Book [[/underlined]] of [[underlined]] Collecting Trips for Fossil Cetaceans [[/underlined]] 1906. [[underlined]] F. W. True, Collectn [[/underlined]]
[[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[double underline]] Log Book [[/double underline]] 1 [[double underline]] 1906 [[/double underline]] [[underline]] Mch 28 [[/underline]] Went to [[underline]] Chesapeake Beach [[/underline]] on 9.25 AM train. Weather dull, but cleared at noon. Collected from opposite R.R. station to about 1/2 miles South of commencement of Calvert Cliffs- Obtained about 100 pieces, midway the conjointed cevicals of a [[underline]] Balaeua [[/underline]] (?). Left a lrge number of vertebrae and some fragments of jaws etc, along the cliffs as could not carry so many- Got nothing out of the talus- all from the beach. One complete atlas, however, had just washed out of the bank at the angle just north of the Cliffs- there is a tree stump on the beach here + I put a number of vertebrae into it, which I could not carry. Tide very low- Returned on 2:15 P.M. train. Expenses: Car fares , 20[[underlined]] cts [[/underlined]]; RR. ticket, $1.00; lunch, 35 [[underline]] cts [[/underline]] [[underline]] April 11 [[/underline]] Went to Ches. Beach on 9.25 AM train. Reached there at 11 AM. The tide according to the tide-tables showed have been low at noon, but it did not go down [[strikeout]] at [[/strikeout]] perceptible, up to 2 o'clock, when I left. The water being up, I did not find more than 15 or 20 good specimens on the
[[preprinted]] 2 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 3 [[/preprinted]] beach. These were found between the Pavilion and the main bluffs - (By "main bluffs", I mean the begining of the high bluffs, which extend from about a mile south of the R.R. station nearly to Plum Pt.). I could not go under the main bluffs on account of high water. The specimens include a tooth which has the characteristic crenated crown of [[underlined]] Acrodelphis [[/underline]] [[insertion]] ^ [[circled in red]] (no. 1118) [[/circled in red]] [[/insertion]]. In the small bluff about 200 yds. south of the Water Edge Hotel, and about one ft. above the beach, I found the [[strikethrough]] beak [[/strikethrough]] [[insertion]] ^ mandible [[/insertion]] of a [[underline]] Platamsta [[/underline]] - like dolphin, [[insertion]] ^ [[circled in red]] (no. 1113) [[/circled in red]] embedded in the green marl. [[left margin]] Argyrocetus? [[/left margin]] Dug it out, but it broke in several fragments; all pieces saved. The skull was doubtless there originally, but as it was embedded with the tip of the beak inward everything posterior to the base of the beak had been carried away by the erosion of the face of the bluff. Expenses: Car fares 15 [[superscript]] cts [[/superscript]]; R.R. fare, $1.[[superscript]] 00 [[/superscript]]; lunch, 20 [[superscript]] cts [[/superscript]] [[underlined]] April 20 & 21. 1906 [[/underlined]] Being in Phila. at the Franklin Celebration, I went to the Acad. of Nat. Sciences and examined some of the types in that coll. I took along a number of specimens which I had provisionally identified with Copes' & Leidys' sps. to see if they were correctly determined. Conditions were unfavorable for work, as they were putting a new roof on the building & the halls were very dark. Mr. Stone, however, took a number of the types to the window for me & afterwards to his office, where I made comparisons & also corrected my sketches made in 1893 & added
[[preprinted]] 4 [[/preprinted]] [[underlined]] Ches Beach RR. Stations [[/underlined]] Washington Berry Ritchie Marr Brown Hills Marlboro Penn. Junction Pindell Lyons Cr. Chaney Owings Mt. Harmony Ches. Beach [end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 5 [[/preprinted]] some new ones. I saw the type of [[underlined]] Cetotherum cephalum [[/underlined]] but did not have time to examine it in detail. It is much larger than I supposed. [[underlined]] April 27, 1906 [[/underlined]] Went down to Chesapeake Beach at 9.25 AM & returned at 2.15 P.M. The tide should have been low, according to the Atlantic Tide Tables, but it did not go down to any great extent while I was there & indeed seemed to be coming in when I left. This is very provoking. On account of the condition of the tide, I could not go under the main [[strikethrough]] b [[/strikethrough]] bluffs at all, and got out about 25 specimens. One of these was a fragment of a max. & premax. which seems to belong to the other fragment, no [[red circled]] 494, [[/red circled]] which I got long ago under the main bluffs. I dug in the marl at the little northern bluff where I got the mandible of [[underlined]] Argyrocetus [[/underlined]] (?), but could not find any more fragments of it. Expenses: Car fares, 15 cts, R.R. ticket, $1.00; lunch, 25 cts. There is an interesting - looking greenish marl bed on the North side of the railroad track just before reaching Brown station (from Washn, on the Ches. Beach RRs. Better stop off there for some time & examine it. Get off at Brown station. There is another similar bank just beyond Marlboro.
[[preprinted]] 6 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 7 [[/preprinted]] [[underlined]] May 2, 1906 [[/underlined]] Took streetcar to Chesapeake Junction + walked out the RR. track to examine the marl banks along the line of the railroad. Just East of the car shops + about 1 mile East of the station found pieces of the carapace of a [[underlined]] [[Trionyx?]] [[/underlined]], apparently [[/underlined]] J. [[virginianus?]][[/underlined]] Clark. With it were shells identified by Dr. Stanton as [[underlined]]Exogyra costata [[/underlined]] Say, a characteristic shell of the Upper Cretaceous. Went on to the high cut, on the divide between the Patuxent & Potomac rivers, where a track man said he had seen round "joints" sticking out of the bank, but could not find anything either cetacean or any kind of vertebrate. Thunder showers in the morning. May 10 1906. Went to Ches. Beach by 9.25 am train. Rather cool, windy + a little showery- The tide well down and was able to go under the main cliffs, which I did for at least a mile. Just before turning back found several teeth in one spot, some quite [[strikethrough]] ? [[/strikethrough]] ^ large. Marked a star * in the cliff at this point/also at the point in the little north cliff where I found the mandible of [[underline]] Argyrocetus [[/underline]]. Not many important finds beside the teeth, but quite a number of vertebrae with more or less of the processes complete. Got about 57 specimens beside the teeth. Expenses: RR. $1.00, car fares, 15 [[underline]] cts [[/underline]]
[[preprinted]] 8 [[/preprinted]] [[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 9 [[/preprinted]] Reserved for Gay Head. [[strikethrough]] [[underlined]] Nov. 17. [[/underlined]] [[/strikethrough]] [[underlined]] 1906 [[/underlined]]
[[preprinted]] 10 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 11 [[/preprinted]] [[underlined]] Nov. 17. 1906. [[/underlined]] Went to Ches. Beach on 9.25 a.m. Train returned at 9.25 A.M. train & returned at 2.20 P.M. - Spent most of the time between the R.R. station and the main cliffs. Went a short distance under the latter, but could not stay as the tide was too high. Large masses have fallen down from the cliffs during the past summer and the appearance of things is quite a little changed. [[left margin]] [[red checkmark]] [[/left margin]] Found a humerus of a seal [[red circled]] [[underlined]] Leptopluca lenis [[/underlined]] [[/red circled]], n. sp. several cetacean teeth and about 25 bones, - nothing very new among the latter - The teeth were picked up about opposite the hotel. -
[[preprinted]] 12 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 13 [[/preprinted]] [[underline]]Feb. 2. 1907[[/underline]] - Went to the Woman's College, Baltimore, and examined the types of [[underline]]Metopocetus durinasus[[/underline]] and [[underline]]Cetotherium crassangulum[[/underline]], which were placed on tables in the chemical laboratory in the 3d story of Goucher Hall for my inspection. There were also a number of large vertebrae and a few other fragments, chiefly collected by Prof. Bibbins in Va. & Md. Prof. Bibbins gave me all possible assistance and also took me to lunch at his house. I compared Cope's descriptions and measurements & Cope's & Case's figures & took notes. Prof. Bibbins said there was an extensive bone bed at Tarbay, Va., on the James River. Expenses: RR to Balto. & return $1.25, parlor car to Balto. 25 cts. [[underline]]Feb. 9, 1907[[/underline]] Went to Woman's College again and made a more detailed examination of the types of [[underline]]Metopocetus[[/underline]] and of [[underline]]Cetotherium crassangulum[[/underline]], compared measurements, took new ones, together with notes, etc. Expenses: RR. to Balto & return, $1.25, parlor car to Balto, 25 cts., lunch, 20 cts. [[underline]]Feb. 16, 1907[[/underline]]. Went to Balto. on private business and while there went over to the Woman's College again to take another look at the two types there. Spent a half hour comparing them and making sketches. Got locked into the build-
[[preprinted]] 14 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 15 [[/preprinted]] ing, but finally succeeded in getting out. [[underlined]] Mch. 9. 1907 [[/underlined]] Went to the Women's College again and made further study of the types of [[underlined]] Cetotherium crassangulum [[/underlined]] & [[underlined]] [[Metopocetus durinasus]] [[/underlined]], paying special attention to the vertebrae of the former, of which the 1 [[superscript]] st [[/superscript]] 2 [[superscript]] d [[/superscript] & 3 [[superscript] d [[/superscript]] are attached to the skull. I proposed to Dr Bibbins that they ought to be separated, which he agreed to & introduced Mr. W [[superscript]] m [[/superscript]] Brough, 618 N. Euton St., expert mechanic, who could, he thought, do the work. I was not very favorably impressed. On returning found that D[[superscript]] r [[/superscript]] Merrill thought the work ought to be done here & would prefer to put it off till July. In the afternoon went to Johns Hopkins. Saw Mr. Matthews & Mr. Berry - Found the types of most of Copes' species, but learned that 2 or 3 of them were in the Statehouse at Annapolis. Got out the type of [[underlined]] Cephalotropis coronatus [[/underlined]] and compared Cope's description & measurements. Went hastily over all the other specimen, which were laid out on a table. The type of Case's [[underlined]] Priscodelphinus crassangulum [[/underlined]] was in a drawer & looked interesting. It appeared that there was much more there than Case described. Expenses: - RR. ticket 1.25; parlor car, both ways .50; lunch .85; car fare .05.
[[preprinted]] 16 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 17 [[/preprinted]] [[underlined]] Mch. 16. 1907 [[/underlined]] Went to Johns Hopkins Univ. Examined the types of [[underlined]] Cephalotropis, Tretulias, Siphonocetus, [[/underlined]] etc. Found that several were at [[underlined]] Annapolis [[/underlined]] & noted the fact on the list. Examined the lympanics which Cope referred to [[underlined]] Balaena affinis [[/underlined]] Owers - Also looked over the type of [[underlined]] [[Psiscodelphinius?]] ? crassangulum [[/underlined]] Case. Prof. Clark promised I [[strikethrough]] show [[/strikethrough]] might take any specimens I wanted to Washington & about decided on this. There is much more of it than Case figured & I can probably make out the greater part of the skull. Examined briefly a new skull recently received. Resembles [[underlined]] Mesocetus [[/underlined]]. Case's [[underlined]] crassangulum [[/underlined]] appears to be a [[underlined]] Cyrtodelphis [[/underlined]] like the beak Palmer restored for me. Expenses: R.R. ticket, 1.25, lunch, .35; parlor car & return .50, car fare .05 - [[underlined]] Mch. 23. 1907 [[/underlined]] Went to Johns Hopkins Univ. & continued work on the types there, especially on [[underlined]] Siphonocetus [[/underlined]]. &c. Examined the new skull from Langleys' Bluffs, St. Mary's Md. It resembles [[underline]] Idiocetus [[/underline]] in many respects & [[insertion]] ^ is [[/insertion]] not a little like [[underlined]] Metopocetus [[/underlined]]. Needs further study. Brought away by Prof. Clark's permission the type of [[underlined]] [[Psiscodelpliums?]] ? crassangulum [[/underlined]] Case - Expenses: RR. ticker 1.25; lunch, 15; parlor car .50; car fares .10
[[preprinted]] 18 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 19 [[/preprinted]] [[underline]]Mch 30 1907[[/underline]] [[par.]]Went to Chesapeake Beach with [[?Abel?]]. Found the tide high and very little on the beach, but had the good fortune to find a skull resembling [[underline]]Cystodelphis[[underline]]in the [[marginal note]] Eurhinodelphis[[marginal note]] green marl, about a foot above the beach & immediately to the North of the Sunset Hotel. This point is just a few feet South of the steps which lead from the South end of the board walk as it now stands - The skull,including the beak, was about 3 ft. long, and was nearly all present. It lay with the dorsal surface downward and the right frontal exposed. The long axis was oblique with the face of the bank. The skull parted more or less in getting it out, but I got all the pieces. Did not leave anything in the bank & did not see any vertebrae.[[par.]] [[underline]] May 11.1907.[[/underline]] [[par.]] Went to Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore again. Ran over the notes made on types previously and made detailed notes on the whalebone whale skull from Langley's Wharf. Mr. Berry said there would be no objection to publishing on this skull and that the necessary photographs could be made at the University.[[par.]] [[par.]] I do not expect to go back again at present & the specimens will be put away- Mr Berry told me they had a "barrell of vertebrae" down in the cellar which I was at liberty to examine later, if I wished[[pb]]
[[preprinted]] 20 [[/preprinted]] [[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted 21 [[/preprinted]] [[par]] He showed me a very remarkable fossil having the appearance of the end of the bill of a swordfish or billfish, but apparently mammalian. It was 8 or ten inches long, narrow long & somewhat depressed. Sharp at the distal end and a broken off square at the proximal end. At the latter end in section it showed two distinct canals, with a vertical median partition between them. The outer surface was rather rough and the texture hard and tooth-like, but it is not a tooth. Can it be the end of the rostrum of a ziphioid or [[allien?]] cetacean? Expenses:-RR ticket 1. [[underline] 25 [[/underline]], parlor car .50; lunch 60 cts [underscore]; street-carfare .05 [[underlined]] June 3 to 11 1907 [[/underlined]] Went to Philadelphia and examined the types in the Academy of Natural Sciences. Mr. Stone took the specimens out of the cases and brought them down into one of the offices on the 2d [underscore] floor where I could work on them more conveniently than in the Museum. I found about all the types that were definitely stated by Cope, Leidy, etc. to be in the Academy, including some not found by Case. Of types which the record indicated might be in the Academy, but whose presence there was uncertain, none were found. I left a list with Mr. Stone showing what types were still undiscovered, and he promised to see whether he could find any of them. I put small red stars on all the specimens which I was able to determine to be types.
[[preprinted]] 22 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 23 [[/preprinted]] and Dr Dixon gave orders that all these should be catalogued and numbered. Mr Stone informed me that there was a fossil whale skull in the [[strikethrough]] Ph [[/strikethrough]] Univ. of [[Penns.?]] which might prove interesting. I did not find time to go to the university however,nor to the Wagner Free Institute where Dr Gill thought some types might be found. It appears that some of the types which came from North Carolina may still be in some museums in that State and letters hould be written to Brimley and others inquiring about them. [[underlined]] June 29. 1907. [[/underlined]] Went to Annapolis, Md., and examined the types of [[underlined]] Ulias moratus [[/underlined]], [[underlined]] Ce[[strikethrough]] te [[/strikethrough]]totherium megalophysum [[/underlined]] & [[underlined]] Paracetus mediatlanticus [[/underlined]] which are in the capitol in an exhibit of the Geol. Serv. of Maryland. I examined and measured them,but could not turn the type of [[underlined]] Paracetus [[/underlined]] over to see the under surface, on account of its great weight. These specimens were on a low base, with other large fossils, and above them were cases containing other geological specimens. I noticed a vertebra like [[underlined]] D. tyrannus [[/underlined]] among these, & on the base were several lumbar & candae vertebrae of a large [[insertion]] ^ fossil [[/insertion]] whalebone whale - The
[[preprinted]] 24 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 25 [[/preprinted]] type of [[underlined]] Ulia moratus [[/underlined]] is wedged in between the supports of the cases above mentioned & is somewhat in danger of being broken more than it is at present. One piece about the size of an apple and belonging at the proximal end of the jaw kept dropping off the main piece and is likely to be lost. I ought to write Prof. Clarke to withdraw these types and take them back to Baltimore, or else to protect them under glass. Perhaps the latter would be best as the capitol appears to be fireproof while the buildings at Balto. probably are not. Expenses: RR to Annapolis return, $2.00, lunch $0.25 = $2.25. [[underlined]] Oct. 10, 1907 [[/underlined]] Went to Chesapeake Beach on 9.25 am train returned at 2.20 pm. Walked along the beach & waded around the point of main cliffs. Found about 38 pieces, including 2 teeth, 2 earbones of [[underline]] P. crassangulium [[/underline]] and 2 smaller ones, 2 frontals of (apparently) a small whalebone whale, tc. the beach has changed considerably since last summer. The spot immediately north of the main cliffs has been washed out and altered. Just south of the point of the main cliffs a very large mass has fallen down from the same, obliterating the beach & making passage difficult. I examined the various pieces but found nothing. The tide, according to the tables, should
[[preprinted]] 26 [[/preprinted]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 27 [[/preprinted]] have been low but it was far from being so and was much risen when I left. I had to wade around the point of cliffs, as the beach was not exposed at any time. The place from which I got the [[underlined]] Eurinodelphis [[/underlined]] skull was much worn and and discolored - I looked for more fragments, but found none. [[underlined]] May 22 - 23, 1908 [[/underlined]] Went to Chesapeake Beach. Got a few vertebrae, teeth, earbones, etc. [[underlined]] June 23 - 25, 1908 [[/underlined]] Went to North Chesapeake Beach, and collected along shore to about 2 miles below Ches. Beach. Got a large miscellaneous coll. of vertebrae, earbones, etc chiefly cetacean. [[underlined]] June 26 - 27, 1908 [[/underlined]] Made a reconnaisance to Governor's Run. Went down at night in a motor boat and returned by steam boat to Fair Haven & was carried by in buggy to North Ches. Beach. At Governor's Run met Prof. Derickson of Annville, Pa., who was very
[[preprinted]] 28 [[/preprinted]] [[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[preprinted]] 29 [[/preprinted]] friendly & pointed out places where specimens might be obtained: also presented an axis of a whalebone whale which he got out of the cliffs. Obtained a few bones from the cliffs immediately north & south of the wharf, but there was little or nothing on the beach and only scattered bones observed in the cliffs, usually high up & difficult to reach. They appear of a somewhat different character from those about Ches. Beach, etc. One was a leg hone of an animal like a bison, and there were also turtle bones. The place does not promise well but something peculiar and important might be found by chance. The boarding place at the wharf is very bad & another one should be found if anybody is to stay there again. [[underlined]] June 28-29, 1908 [[/underlined]] At North Ches. Beach again, and collected southward a mile or two beyond Ches. Beach. Got miscellaneous vertebrae, etc., some out of the banks north of the main cliffs.
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[[back cover of log book]]