Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7167
Ridgway, Robert, 1850-1929
Robert Ridgway Papers, circa 1850s-1919
Robert Ridgway (1850-1929) was born in Mount Carmel, Illinois. In 1864 he wrote to Spencer Fullerton Baird, asking Baird to identify a bird that Ridgway had seen. Ridgway and Baird began corresponding, and, in effect, Baird became Ridgway's mentor. In 1867 Baird secured an appointment for Ridgway as zoologist on Clarence King's Geological Survey of the Fortieth Parallel. Upon his return to Washington in 1869, Ridgway was put to work by Baird to furnish the technical descriptions and certain of the drawings for a book on North American birds being prepared by Baird and Thomas Mayo Brewer. In 1874 Ridgway was appointed an ornithologist on the staff of the United States National Museum. In 1880 he was appointed Curator of the Department of Ornithology. Ridgway remained Curator until his death in 1929, although after 1915 he resided in Olney, Illinois.
These papers consist of Ridgway correspondence with Spencer Fullerton Baird, drawings of birds, and material collected by Ridgway for his important work, Color Standards and Nomenclature (Washington, 1912).
Many of the materials in this collection are available online.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Ridgway, Robert, 1850-1929
- Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887
- Brewer, T. M. (Thomas Mayo), 1814-1880
- Clarence King Geological Survey of the Fortieth Parallel
- United States National Museum. Division of Birds
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7167, Robert Ridgway Papers