Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Gill, Theodore, 1837-1914
Theodore Gill Papers, circa 1858-1909
Dr. Theodore Gill (1837-1914) was a long-time associate in the National Museum of Natural History, Division of Fishes. He was associated with the Smithsonian in a variety of paid and unpaid positions beginning in the late 1850s until his death in 1914. He specialized in the taxonomy and nomenclature of fishes. Gill wrote dozens of works on ichthyology during his career. He was also a professor of natural history and zoology at Columbian (George Washington) University. Refer to Record Unit 7098, Biographical Information File, for a complete profile of Gill and his career.
These papers contain Gill's manuscript notes for a variety of published and unpublished essays on his taxonomic studies and specimen descriptions. Included are descriptive lists and notes of specimens acquired from the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1942), North Pacific Railroad Expedition (1853-1856), and Mexican Boundary Survey (1855-1857). Gill's work with these specimens was probably carried out around 1860. In a portion of one essay Gill briefly discusses his professional disagreements with noted naturalist Louis Agassiz. Much of the papers appear to be draft copies of essays and articles published by the Smithsonian or other scientific bodies. They begin as early as 1858 (a memoir on the history of fresh water fishes of Trinidad, published in the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York). Most of Gill's work was published in the Proceedings of the United States National Museum, the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections or in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian. In many instances, it is unclear whether Gill was carrying out his ichthyological studies for the Smithsonian or for the United States Fish Commission, which was headed by Spencer F. Baird for the period 1871-1887.
The papers also include essays and articles used in the ornithological magazine, Osprey, which Gill edited from about 1898-1908. A small amount of general correspondence is included, dating 1871-1908. One manuscript volume, entitled Science and Nature, appears to be a partially-completed (90 pages, A-B only) handwritten nomenclature dictionary begun by Gill.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Gill, Theodore, 1837-1914
- National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Division of Fishes
- United States Fish Commission
- Osprey : an illustrated monthly magazine of popular ornithology
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession T89103, Theodore Gill Papers