Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7191
Suckley, George, 1830-1869
George Suckley Papers, 1849-1861
George Suckley (1830-1869) was born in New York City and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now a part of Columbia University) in September 1851. In April 1853 Suckley was appointed assistant surgeon and naturalist to the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 47th and 49th parallels between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, under the command of Isaac I. Stevens. His work on the survey included a 1,049 mile, 53-day canoe trip down the Bitter Root, Clark's Fork, and Columbia Rivers to Fort Vancouver, during which he made extensive natural history collections. On December 2, 1853, Suckley was commissioned Assistant Surgeon, United States Army. He was ordered to duty at Fort Steilacoom, Washington Territory, where he remained until June 12, 1854, when he was transferred to Fort Dalles, Oregon Territory. In July 1854, Suckley obtained leave of absence for six months, which he partially spent collecting natural history specimens in Panama with James G. Cooper. Suckley resigned from the Army on October 3, 1856, and for the next five years pursued his interest in natural history. During this period, Suckley was assigned to write the reports on the mammals and salmonidae collected by the Northwest Boundary Survey of 1857. In 1859 he co-authored with James G. Cooper, The Natural History of Washington Territory, which was based primarily on data and observations made while serving with the Pacific Railroad Survey. On the outbreak of the Civil War, Suckley rejoined the Army and was commissioned Surgeon of Volunteers. He served for the duration of the war, resigning April 22, 1865. Suckley died July 30, 1869, in New York City.
The papers of George Suckley mostly concern his work on the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 47th and 49th parallels, 1853, and on the collections of the Northwest Boundary Survey of 1857. They include incoming and outgoing correspondence, mostly copies; journals, field books, notes, and related materials concerning the progress of the Railroad Survey, the canoe trip from Fort Owen to Fort Vancouver, Suckley's Panama trip with Cooper, and natural history observations and collecting work; fiscal matters; translation of Indian vocabulary; Suckley's monograph, The Natural History of Washington Territory, co-authored with Cooper; and manuscripts of Suckley's reports on the mammals and salmonidae collected on the Northwest Boundary Survey of 1857.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Suckley, George, 1830-1869
- Cooper, J. G. (James Graham), 1830-1902
- Stevens, Isaac I.
- Northwest Boundary Survey, 1857-1861
- Pacific Railroad Survey of the 47th and 49th Parallels
- College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York
- United States. Army
- Natural history
- Scientific expeditions
- United States -- History$yCivil War, 1861-1865
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7191, George Suckley Papers