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Frank E. Lutz collection

Identifier: Mss .L88

Scope and content

The collection consists of three boxes of handwritten notes and notebooks, typescripts, correspondence and publications, with accompanying photoprints, most relating to Lutz's research, with a few personal items. Box 2 contains three 78 rpm recordings of insect and frog sounds. The bulk of the research notes involve Lutz's work on insect sounds, primarily those of grasshoppers and crickets, with some of bees and frogs; and of his experiments with ultraviolet patterns in butterflies. Most of this material consists of handwritten notes and charts. There are also typescripts of publications, typewritten correspondence, and some printed matter, including trade publications and the department copy of Fieldbook of Insects by Lutz. The small amount of correspondence includes letters from Albert R. Brand and E.G. Wever. Some photoprints, a strip of motion picture film, and rolls of nitrate sound film are housed separately.


  • 1915-1938
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1938


Restrictions on Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical sketch

Frank E. Lutz, a biologist and entomologist, was associate curator of the Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, 1917-1921, and chairman of Insects and Spiders, Dept. of Entomology, 1921-1943. For his postgraduate work, Lutz concentrated in the new field of biometry, the combination of biology and mathematics, studying species of Gryllus (crickets) and Drosophila (fruit-flies), and developing a life-long interest in experimental biology. After joining the AMNH, Lutz went on 24 collecting field trips to locations in Europe, the United States, and Central and South America. During his tenure in the Dept. of Entomology, Lutz built it into one of the four largest repositories in the U.S., with 2 million specimens, and gained an international reputation for his research on the genetics, physiology, and ecology of insects. Lutz's particular interests involved insect sounds, diurnal rhythms, and insects' responses to environmental factors, especially ultraviolet light. He was an enthusiastic publicizer and popularizer of the study of insects, and of natural history in general. From 1925 to 1928, Lutz was the director of the Station for the Study of Insects (SSI) at Harriman State Park (N.Y.), and gave talks on the "nature trails" program at Bear Mountain State Park. He was the editor of the AMNH's scientific publications for many years.


1.5 Linear Foot (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers: Organized into two series: I. Notes and correspondence. II. Ultraviolet research; Arranged. chronologically or, if undated, in the order in which found.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

AMNH Dept. of Entomology. Method of acquisition--Transfer;.

Related Archival Materials

Note--AMNH Library Special Collections has 3 boxes of photographic prints: Invertebrate Zoological Expedition: Eastern U.S., various dates. One box. PPC.L88. Western U.S., 1916-1920. One box, ca. 411 prints. PPC.L881. Both boxes consist of dismantled scrapbooks. Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology. Cuba. One box. PPC.L882.

Related Archival Materials

Note--AMNH Library Special Collections, Film Collection, has: Men of science (1938) in which Lutz appears. FC #212.

Frank E. Lutz collection, 1915-1938 (bulk 1933-1938)
Blythe Roveland-Brenton
July 2000
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
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