Skip to main content

George K. Cherrie correspondence, 1902 Jan. 9, 1903 Apr. 11

Identifier: Mss .C454

Scope and content

The collection consists of two handwritten signed letters from Hartert, the first discussing Cherrie's collecting plans for an upcoming expedition to Cayenne, French Guiana, and the second evaluating the results. In the first letter, Hartert requests six specimens of every species of bird from Cayenne; eight of hummingbirds and swifts. Payment is discussed. Hartert says that Oldfield Thomas of the Natural History Museum (London, England) wants mammals from Cayenne, and stresses his own interest in Lepidoptera on behalf of the Tring collection, especially moths. He discusses methods of collecting them, recommending electric lights"if such are available." Hartert directs Cherrie to the region of the Tumuc-Humac Mountains, on the border with Brazil, as a likely source of new species. He also discusses the printing of Cherrie's memoir on Orinoco birds, which is in process. In the second letter, after the completion of the expedition, Hartert expresses disappointment at its short duration and the limited extent of Cherrie's collection from a country rich in biodiversity. He notes that there is little chance of obtaining better results from another expedition, as "I do not see how others could do well where you have failed." Hartert counts 1361 bird skins in Cherrie's shipment, from approximately 232 species, and singles out 3 specimens of the hummingbird Phaethornis malaris as particularly valuable. He mentions that Count Berlepsch may work with him on examining and classifying the bird specimens; he has forwarded the mammals to Thomas, but asks"Where are the butterflies and moths?" He ends the letter by suggesting locations for the next expedition.


  • 1902 - 1903


Restrictions on Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical sketch

George K. Cherrie, field zoologist and curator. Cherrie explored and collected in South and Central America, independently and for institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Cherrie became assistant taxidermist at the U.S. Museum of Natural History in 1888, and began his tropical field work in 1889, spending three years in Costa Rica and becoming curator of birds and mammals. Cherrie returned to the U.S. in 1892, was assistant curator in ornithology at the Field Museum, 1894-1897, then held the same position at the Brooklyn Institute, 1899-1911. He took part in two of Theodore Roosevelt's expeditions to Brazil, 1913-1914 and 1916-1917, and in many other AMNH expeditions and field assignments.

Biographical sketch

Ernst Hartert was curator of birds at the Zoological Museum at Tring in Hertfordshire, England, and the author of numerous articles for its journal, Novitates zoologicae.


1 Linear Foot (1 box) : 2 items ; 18 x 23 cm.

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Minimal level collection record created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2010.

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