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Libbie Henrietta Hyman taxonomic records

Identifier: Mss .H86

Scope and contents

The collection consists of six notebooks (four composition, one small spiral notepad, one leather), kept as part of Hyman’s research work on invertebrate, including taxonomic identification of Turbellaria. The notebooks range from 1927 to 1964. They feature mathematical equations, trial and error scientific testing and a log of specimens. The majority of the journal content details specimen numbers, as well as information when these items were received, from where and whom. They are all handwritten. Subjects include Hydra, Polycladida, Acoela, and Tricladida classifications. The collection spans Hyman’s research from her time at the University of Chicago, her work at the Bermuda Biological Station and through her affiliation with American Museum of Natural History as a research assistant.


  • 1927-1964



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Biographical note

Libbie Henrietta Hyman was born on December 6, 1888 to Joseph Hyman and Sabina Neumann. Her father was a Polish-Jewish immigrant from Tsarist Russia. Hyman was a scientist, zoologist, researcher and author.

She graduated in 1910 with a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Chicago. Hyman held a research position the Department of Zoology at the university, working under Dr. Charles M. Child. Her primary interest was in flatworms. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Zoology in 1915.

In 1916, Hyman first began writing numerous articles that would be featured in such publications as the Journal of Experimental Zoology, American Journal of Physiology, and Science. She wrote her first book, A Laboratory Manual for Elementary Zoology, in 1919 and her second, A Laboratory Manual for Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy in 1922. She would revise and expand these works in 1929 and 1942, respectively.

Hyman continued to devote herself to her writings about invertebrates. In July 1935 she was working at the Bermuda Biological Station. In this same year she would finish volume one of The Invertebrates. On November 9, 1936 she was made research associate in the Department of Experimental Biology at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She remained in the position until July 1942 when she transferred to the Department of Animal Behavior. In June 1943, she transferred to the Department of Invertebrates as a research associate.

Throughout her time at AMNH, Hyman continued to write her treatise. Volume one of The Invertebrates was published in 1940. Volumes two and three were published in 1951. In 1953, Hyman was appointed Vice President of the American Society of Zoologists. Volumes four, five, and six of The Invertebrates were published in 1955, 1959, and 1967 respectively. From 1959 to 1963, Hyman held the position of editor at Systematic Zoology magazine.

Hyman was the recipient of such accolades as an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Chicago in 1941, the Daniel Giraud Elliot medal from the National Academy of Science (the first woman ever to do so), an honorary Doctor of Science from Coe College in 1959, a gold medal from the Linnaean Society of London in 1960, an honorary Doctor of Law from Upsala College in 1963, and a gold medal for distinguished achievement from AMNH in April 1969.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box )

Language of Materials



Fragile, cracked bindings on notebooks

Source of Acquisition

Hyman, Libbie Henrietta

Related materials

Department of Invertebrates records, 1912-1999. Call number: DR 074A

5 boxes (2.5 linear feet). Biographical files, articles about Libbie Hyman, history about exhibits, photocopies of the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (1890s-1960s), writings by Neil H. Landman and Judith E. Winston.

Department of Invertebrate Zoology correspondence and administrative records, 1917-1989. Call number: DR 138

7 boxes (7 linear feet). Bulk of collection is correspondence between AMNH scientists and scientists at other institutions or in the field regarding requests for specimens and information related to research. Some correspondence is attached to research papers, both published and unpublished (at the time) and some address issues of copyright. Administrative records include several folders on NSF grant applications and awards, as well as papers of dept. curators and scientific staff, including several folders on Horace Stunkard and Libbie Hyman, containing correspondence, biographical files, reports, honorary medals, and some photographs. Box 1 contains folder on George H. Childs, scientific artist for the museum, with original drawings for a design for an exhibition on the Santa Catalina Kelp Gardens and a 1939 letter written by him while doing research for it. Box 2 contains field notes about mollusks written by Walter Eyerdam in 1929 from the Whitney South Sea Expedition.

Collection [art original] / [Libbie Hyman]. [1908?-1946?] Call number: location designation to be changed.

3 boxes. 29 art originals : ink and watercolor ; 31 x 26 cm. or smaller. Illustrations of various specimens of invertebrates, many labeled with the AMNH accession numbers and brief descriptions/captions, some dated. Collection also includes a pencil drawing of a fish and a piece of Chinese silk embroidery depicting a bird and peonies. Box 1 (28 x 23 x 8 cm.) contains 11 items; box 2 (39 x 31 x 8 cm.), 14 items; box 3 (43 x 34 x 8 cm.), 4 items.

The invertebrates. Call number: QL362 .H9

All six volumes of Hyman’s work on invertebrates. Vol. 6- has series: McGraw-Hill in the invertebrates. Vol. 4- lack edition statement. Includes bibliographies. Contents: [v. 1.] Protozoa through Ctenophora.--v. 2. Platyhelminthes and Rhynchocoela, the acoelomate Bilateria.--v. 3. Acanthocephala, Aschelminthes, and Entoprocta, the pseudocoelomate Bilateria.--v. 4. Echinodermata, the coelomate Bilateria.--v. 5. Smaller coelomate groups.--v. 6. Mollusca I.

Taxonomic studies on the hydras of North America. 5, Description of Hydra cauliculata, n.sp., with notes on other species, especially Hydra littoralis

Call number: QL1 .A436 no.1003, 1938

Description of Hydra cauliculata, new species -- Further notes on Hydra littoralis Hyman, 1931 -- Distributional notes on other species.

Physical description

6 notebooks : ill. ; 21-26 cm.

Libbie Henrietta Hyman taxonomic records, 1927-1964
Sarah Cassone
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Language of description note
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Finding aid created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2012.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420