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William King Gregory papers, 1889-1948 (bulk 1906-1948)

Identifier: Mss .G7441

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of administrative, scientific, academic and personal papers, and correspondence. Papers include Gregory's general correspondence with universities, colleges and scientists about his research topics and publications; correspondence with museums about purchasing replicas of fossils; and with students seeking employement. Other papers include lecture notes prepared for zoology classes emphasizing evolution, 1925-1926 and 1939; and manuscripts and notes for his publications: "Comparative survey of evolution from primeval life to man"; "On the evolution and major classification of the civets (Viverridae) and allied fossil Carnovora : a phylogentic study of the skull and dentition"; and several chapters of "Procession of the vertebrates." There are also notes for Gregory's paper, written with Walter Granger"A revision of the titanotheres of Mongolia" and galley proofs for several other papers. The collection also includes correspondence pertaining to Gregory's involvement in the posthumous publication of Samuel W. Williston's "The osteology of the reptiles"; correspondence with Henry C. Raven and photographs from their Australian expeditions in 1921 and 1922; and files pertaining to museum adnministration and exhibitions, as well as some of Gregory's personal financial papers. The complete list of Gregory's correspondence fills 30 pages of the finding aid; correspondents include: Hans Christian Adamson; Carl and Mary Jobe Akeley; Roy Chapman Andrews; Charles Berkey; Franz Boas; C.M. Breder; Barnum Brown; W.D. Burden; James P. Chapin; Frank M. Chapman; T.D.A. Cockerell; Childs Frick; Martin and Osa Johnson; Charles R. Knight; Michael Lerner; Frederic A. Lucas; Frank E. Lutz; W.D. Matthew; Charles C. Mook; Robert C. Murphy; John T. Nichols; Gladwyn K. Noble; Albert E. Parr; Herbert F. Schwarz; Harry L. Shapiro; and George G. Simpson.


  • 1889-1948
  • Majority of material found within 1906-1948


Conditions Governing Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical / Historical

William King Gregory, vertebrate paleontologist and ichthyologist, was a curator at the American Museum of Natural History and a professor at Columbia University. Gregory served the AMNH for forty-four years, retiring as chairman and curator of its depts. of Fossil Fishes and of Comparative Anatomy and Ichthyology--the first individual at the AMNH to hold two curatorships. Gregory was also professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Columbia, having earlier arranged the New York Academy of Sciences library for Professor Bashford Dean. This led to to the editing of Henry Fairfield Osborn's paleontological papers, and the development of the AMNH journal (later Natural history). Gregory's particular interest was the evolution of mammals, fishes and primates. He investigated the comparative anatomy of the muscles of vertebrates; evolution of the motor apparatus from fishes to humans; evolution of the jaws, teeth and skull; comparative anatomy of anthropoid apes and humans; evolution of the skulls of fishes; and the history and relationships of fishes in geologic time. Gregory did some collecting in the Western U.S. and, with Henry C. Raven, in Australia in 1921 and 1922. In 1925 he accompanied (Charles) William Beebe on the Arcturus to the Sargasso Sea. Gregory made two trips to Africa: in 1929, a Columbia-AMNH expedition to Central Africa collected adult gorillas for anatomical study; and in 1938 the Gregory-Hellman Transvaal Expedition to South Africa studied Australopithecus africus, discovered by Robert Broom. Gregory's work was primarily involved with teaching, research and exhibition planning; he also published over 360 works, including articles, books and monographs. He died in 1970.


41.25 Linear Feet (86 boxes)

Language of Materials



Organized into 15 series. Arranged alphabetically within each series.

Related Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has photographs: one box containing 1 portrait and 5 prints. PPC .G7444.

Related Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has photographs from the Gregory-Raven Australian Expedition (1st : 1921). Field photographs, series A. PPC .G75. Australia Expedition, 1921-1922. Photographs; ca. 306 prints. drawer 178.

Related Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has 2 videorecordings made during the 1938 Gregory-Hellman Transvaal Expedition: Trip to South Africa, Film Collection no. 282; and Walking birds, Film Collection no. 287. Gregory also appears in: Bimini, 1948, Film Collection no. 202.


William King Gregory papers, 1889-1948 (bulk 1906-1948)
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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