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Department of Vertebrate Paleontology loans and exchanges

Identifier: VPA 12

Scope and Contents

Between the years 1896-1930, Henry Fairfield Osborn actively sought from universities, museums, and institutes from around the world paleontological specimens to exchange, borrow, and purchase. The collection of correspondences provides a map of acquisitive collecting that followed the last half of the 19th century’s expansion in paleontological activity, with the trend continuing into the 20th century as more areas around the world developed systematic fossil collections. There are 5 boxes of correspondence primarily during the years 1896-1930 though a small amount continues to the 1940's. In large part the correspondence is with Henry Fairfield Osborn for the AMNH and the university or museum department seeking to exchange, borrow or buy paleontology specimens. The arrangement is first by State (in the U.S.), with Boxes 1-2 containing records about loans, exchanges, and purchases of specimens between the AMNH and universities or museums in the U.S., such as Columbia University, Cornell University, University of California, University of Texas, New York University, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Natural History Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences, the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, and many others. The arrangement in Box 3 includes inter-museum loans with the U.S. National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) and Boxes 4-5 contain inter-museum loans from museums and universities abroad, like with the Musee Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology in Toronto, Canada, the Naturhistorisches Museum in Mainz, Germany, the Imperial University, Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and many others.


  • 1896-1940


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed in the Division of Paleontology. Please contact the collection manager for access; materials are sometimes restricted.


2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)


Boxes 1-2 are arranged by U.S. state.


Historic Call Number: was 1:8 now 2.2

American Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Paleontology loans and exchanges, 1896-1940
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021
2021 August
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Minimal level collection record created with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America grant, 2020.

Repository Details

Part of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology Archives Repository

200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024-5192