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Cyril F. dos Passos papers, 1932-1978

Identifier: Mss .D67

Scope and content

The collection consists of minimally processed material. It is primarily correspondence, with some administrative papers, notes, newspaper clippings and a few personal and family photographs. Some general subject headings are noted in pencil on the outside of the boxes, such as Lepidoptera, Entomology, Zoological nomenclature and Carnegie [Institute]. Correspondents include F. Martin Brown, Jeane D. Gunder, Alexander B. Klots and Charles Lee Remington.


  • 1932 - 1978


Restrictions on Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical sketch

Cyril Franklin dos Passos was an amateur entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera, particularly butterflies. He was a research associate in the American Museum of Natural History's Dept. of Entomology for 50 years, beginning in 1936, and donated his collections of North American butterflies, over 65,000 specimens, to the museum. Dos Passos studied law, entering his family's firm, becoming a partner and successful businessman, and "retiring" at the age of thirty to pursue his own interests. He and his wife decided to study and collect Lepidoptera; dos Passos soon met with Dr. Frank E. Lutz, curator of the AMNH Dept. of Entomology, and began assisting him with the museum's collection of Lepidoptera. Dos Passos was instrumental in acquiring several collections for the museum, including those of J.D. Gunder, which he cataloged, and Thomas E. Bean. Discovering that there was no collection of photographs of type specimens of Nearctic Rhopalocera, dos Passos devised a portable photographic apparatus in order to record the specimens in other collections. In 1952, while continuing in his position at the AMNH, he was appointed a research associate at the Carnegie Institute. Dos Passos was also interested in the principles of zoological nomenclature, traveling widely in Europe, studying collections and attending conferences. He was a charter member of the Lepidopterists' Society, founded in 1947, and, with Lionel Paul Grey, developed a systematic catalog of the butterflies of North America. He accumulated an entomological library of historical sources, and published many articles on new and imperfectly known species. Dos Passos died in 1986.


31.25 Linear Feet (60 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

James Miller. Method of acquisition--Transfer from AMNH Dept. of Entomology;; Date of acquisition--1992..

Related Archival Materials

Note--AMNH Library has Thomas E. Bean papers, Mss.B42.

Language of description
Script of description
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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