Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7344
Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899
Elliott Coues Papers, 1872-1880, 1896-1899 and undated
Elliott Coues (1842-1899), a disciple of Spencer F. Baird, was probably the most influential American ornithologist of his generation. From about 1860 to 1881 Coues served in the United States Army as Assistant Surgeon and from 1877 to 1886 served as Professor of Anatomy at Columbian College (now The George Washington University). His major publications include Key to North American Birds, 1872; Check List of North American Birds, 1873, 1882; and Field Ornithology, 1874.
This finding aids was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These papers consist of a "Book of Dates" compiled by Coues between 1896 and 1899, probably when he was preparing to write his memoirs. It includes genealogical information dating to 1686 and is probably the most important source of information on Coues' life. Also included are thirty-eight letters written by Coues to Winfrid Alden Stearns, who was seeking Coues' help in writing a manual of New England ornithology. Stearns' work was finally published in 1883 in two volumes under the title New England Bird Life, Being a Manual of New England Ornithology, with extensive revisions and editing by Coues. In addition, this record unit contains an undated manuscript written by Coues on the geographic distribution of mammals.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Stearns, Winfrid Alden, 1852-1909
- Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899
- Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887
- United States. Army
- Columbian College in the District of Columbia
- George Washington University
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7344, Elliott Coues Papers