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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9610

Laybourne, Roxie C., 1910-2003 interviewee

Oral history interviews with Roxie Collie Simpson Laybourne, 2001

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Laybourne, Roxie C., 1910-2003 interviewee
Title: Oral history interviews with Roxie Collie Simpson Laybourne
Dates: 2001
Quantity: 17 audiotapes (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9610
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These interviews of Laybourne, conducted by Pamela M. Henson and Marcia Heacker-Skeans in 2001, cover her education, career, and contributions to the field of forensic ornithology. The interviews also include reminiscences of colleagues including John Warren Aldrich and Alexander Wetmore.

Historical Note

Roxie Collie Simpson Laybourne (1910-2003), ornithologist, received her B.A. from Meredith College in 1932, and her M.S. in plant ecology from the George Washington University in 1951. She began her museum career as a volunteer at the North Carolina State Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1932, where she learned taxidermy and exhibit techniques. In 1944, Laybourne was appointed a museum aide in the Division of Birds at the United States National Museum. In 1946, she transferred to a permanent position on the payroll of the Bird and Mammal Laboratories, Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of Interior, while continuing to prepare specimens in the Division of Birds at the National Museum. She retired as a Zoologist from the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1974, but continued her career as a Research Associate of the National Museum of Natural History. In the 1960s, Laybourne created the field of forensic ornithology, studying minute fragments of bird feathers in order to identify which birds were ingested into aircraft engines, often causing crashes. The field expanded to cover endangered species and criminal investigations. Laybourne developed analytical techniques that used the barbules and nodes supporting the wings to identify bird fragments.

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Introduction

The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Laybourne was interviewed for the Oral History Collection to document her career as a Smithsonian scientist, especially her role in creating the field of forensic ornithology and training generations of naturalists.

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Descriptive Entry

These interviews of Laybourne, conducted in 2001 by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives and Marcia Heacker-Skeans of the National Museum of Natural History, cover her education, career, and contributions to the field of forensic ornithology. The interviews also include reminiscences of colleagues including John Warren Aldrich and Alexander Wetmore. The collection consists of 14.5 hours of audio recordings and 185 pages of transcript, and occupies 1.0 linear meters of shelf space. There are two generations of tape for each session: original tapes and reference tapes. In total, this collection is comprised of 29 original 7" reel-to-reel tapes, 29 perservation digital .wav files, 17 reference copy audiotape cassettes, and 29 reference digital .mp3 files. Box 1 contains transcripts of the interviews and Box 2 contains transcripts of the interviews and cassette copies of the original reel to reel recordings, the originals of which are in security storage.

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Use Restriction

Restricted. Contact reference staff for details.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9610, Oral history interviews with Roxie Collie Simpson Laybourne

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Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview 1: 13 January 2001

Box 1 of 1
Covers her youth and early interest in natural history, 1910-1936.
Transcript, pp. 1-77, of audiotape recording, 2.5 hours.

Interview 2: 27 January 2001

Box 1 of 1
Discusses her family history and education, field work, and early work at the National Museum of Natural History, 1920s-1950s.
Transcript, pp. 1-70, of audiotape recording, 2.5 hours.

Interview 4: 24 February 2001

Box 1 of 1
Discusses her development of the field of forensic ornithology by establishing methods for identification of bird wing fragments, 1950s-1980s.
Transcript, pp. 1-36, of audiotape recording, 2.0 hours.

Interview 5: 3 March 2001

Box 1 of 1
Transcript, pp. 1-43, of audiotape recording, 2.5 hours.

Interview 6: 17 March 2001

Box 1 of 1
Transcript, pp. 1-18, of audiotape recording, 1.0 hour.

Interview 7: 23 June 2001

Box 1 of 1
Transcript, pp. 1-34, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 8: 28 July 2001

Box 1 of 1
Transcript, pp. 1-8, of audiotape recording, 0.5 hour.

Audio Recordings of Interviews

Interview 1: 13 January 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.5 hours
Original Masters: 5 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 5 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 3 cassette audiotapes, 5 digital .mp3 files.

Interview 2: 27 January 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.5 hours
Original Masters: 5 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 5 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 3 cassette audiotapes, 5 digital .mp3 files

Interview 3: 10 February 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.0 hours
Original Masters: 4 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 4 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes, 4 digital .mp3 files

Interview 4: 24 February 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.0 hours
Original Masters: 4 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 4 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes, 4 digital .mp3 files

Interview 5: 3 March 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.5 hours
Original Masters: 5 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 5 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 3 cassette audiotapes, 5 digital .mp3 files

Interview 6: 17 March 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.0 hour
Original Masters: 2 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 2 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotapes, 2 digital .mp3 files

Interview 7: 23 June 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes, 3 digital .mp3 files

Interview 8: 28 July 2001

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 0.5 hour
Original Masters: 1 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 1 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotapes, 1 digital .mp3 files