Robert Ridgway Sitting at a Desk, by Unknown, c. mid 1890s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Robert Ridgway sits at his desk on which there is a book he is looking at. Pictures and a diploma are hanging on the wall and part of a bookcase is visible Ridgway was an American ornithologist and first full time curator of birds at the Smithsonian's United States National Museum. He was a protégé of Smithsonian Secretary Spencer F. Baird. In the image you can see Ridgway's hand is blackened from the arsenic used to preserve the bird skins. While researching birds. Ridgway produced wonderful drawings and paintings of birds..