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Herbert Ferlando Schwarz collection

Identifier: Mss .S353-.S3531

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 101 letters (handwritten and typewritten), 14 cards and seven photographs received by Schwarz between the years 1921 and 1957, and the incomplete typescript of Stingless Bees. Many of the letters thank Schwarz for his book (Stingless bees), which he distributed to entomologists around the world. Others are responses to Schwarz's Christmas cards. Highlights of the collection include: Letters from William Beebe; five Christmas cards with hand-painted pictures of spiders by AMNH entomologist Willis J. Gertsch; and letters from the English entomologist George W. Salt thanking Schwarz for his kindness for the parcels he sent after World War II, while Britain was still enduring food rationing. Other correspondents include E.O. Essig, Heinrich Friese, Caryl Parker Haskins, R.W.G. Hingston, Warwick E. Kerr, John H. Lovell, S.A. Rohwer, Myron H. Swenk, AMNH directors F.A. Lucas and Albert Eide Parr, and AMNH president Henry Fairfield Osborn. The typescript begins with page 63 and ends at page 261a. It contains multiple handwritten ink and pencil edits by Schwarz, and also cut and pasted typewritten insertions. Related to the manuscript are six manila folders containing unpublished illustrations. There are also four field notebooks, typescript/handwritten notes, an envelope of photographs and a manila envelope of drawings, all on research.


  • 1921-1957
  • Majority of material found within 1930-1950


Access and Conditions Restrictions

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted. Requests to use the collection should be made in advance to the Special Collections Librarian, who may be contacted at 212-769-5420 or at [email protected]

Biographical sketch

Herbert Ferlando Schwarz was an amateur entomologist who specialized in the study of stingless bees (Meliponidae). He was born on September 7, 1883 in Fire Island, New York, to Frederick A.O. Schwarz and Caroline Clausen Schwarz. Schwarz attended Harvard University, earning an A.M. in Philosphy in 1905. In 1907 he graduated from Columbia University with an A.M. in English and Comparative Literature.

Interested in scientific expeditions, Schwarz traveled to New Mexico in 1904, studying Indian tribes. In 1905 he visited Walpi, Arizona, witnessing the Hopi Indian Antelope and Snake dances and subsequently observing the Navajos on their reservation.

From 1909 to 1919, Schwarz worked as head of the Editorial Department and member of the board at G.P. Putnam's Sons. He was also serving in the Field Artillery during World War I at this time.

While working with Frank E. Lutz on the editing of his Field book of insects, Schwarz developed the interest in entomology, and especially bees, that would determine the rest of his career. In 1919 he accompanied Lutz as a volunteer assistant on a collecting trip to Colorado where he met T.D.A. Cockerell, like Lutz an authority on bees.

He was appointed a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in 1921, a position he held until his death, and was the editor of Natural history magazine from 1921 to 1925. Once established at the AMNH, Schwarz went on many more collecting trips, primarily to the western United States and Panama, as well as the Cauca Valley of Colombia, and published over sixty scientific papers, including definitive works on the Anthidiinae and the Meliponidae.

Following the death of Frank E. Lutz in 1943, Schwarz served as acting chairman of the Dept. of Insects and Spiders until 1946. His 1948 work, Stingless Bees (Meliponidae) of the Western Hemisphere, published as a Bulletin of the AMNH, became the standard reference on the subject. Schwarz was an active member of the New York Academy of Sciences, and the editor of their publications from 1925 to 1936. He was also a member of the Explorers Club and the New York Entomological Society. Schwarz wrote over 60 titles of scientific and popular material. He died on October 2, 1960 in New York City.


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in three series: correspondence, Meliponidae typescript and related materials, and research and writings. Series I contains a biographical sketch and all personal correspondence to Schwarz. Letters are arranged in alphabetical order by sender, from A to Z. There are thirteen additional folders from individuals who sent Schwarz more than one letter. These are also arranged apathetically. This series also contains a folder of six personal photographs of Schwarz’s colleagues. Series II contains the Meliponidae typescript, arranged by page order, divided over 8 folders. The remaining folders are Shirley H. Risser’s drawn photographs. Series III contains various notepads and research/keys and is arranged in date order.



Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Department of Invertebrates Zoology.

Related Materials

New stingless bees (Meliponidae) from Panama and the Canal Zone / by Herbert F. Schwarz. Call Number: QL1 .A436 no.1505, 1951

16 p. ; 24 cm. Series: American Museum novitates ; no. 1505 Title from caption. "April 6, 1951." Includes bibliographical references. Also available online.

Stingless bees (Meliponidae) of the Western Hemisphere : Lestrimelitta and the following subgenera of Trigona : Trigona, Paratrigona, Schwarziana, Parapartamona, Cephalotrigona, Oxytrigona, Scaura, and Mourella

Call Number: QH1 .A4 vol.90, 1948

xvii, 546 p., 8 p. of plates : ill. ; 27 cm. Series: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History ; v. 90 Includes bibliographical references (p. 504-536) and index. "Issued February 16, 1948"--T.p. verso. Also available online.

New Trigona bees from Peru Call Number: QL1 .A436 no.1243, 1943

10 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Series: American Museum novitates ; no. 1243 Title from caption. "August 20, 1943." Most specimens collected by Dr. W. Weyrauch; specimens of Trigona opaca variety pacifica from Ecuador collected by F.X. Williams. Includes bibliographical references. Also available online.

Additional species and records of stingless bees (Meliponidae) from British Guiana : based on specimens collected by the Terry-Holden Expedition Call number: QL1 .A436 no.1078, 1940

12 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Series: American Museum novitates ; no. 1078 Title from caption. "June 28, 1940." Specimens collected by W.G. Hassler. Includes bibliographical references. Also available online.

The Indo-Malayan species of Trigona Call number: QH1 .A4 vol.76, art.3, 1939

p. 83-141 : ill., map ; 24 cm. Series: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History ; vol. 76, art. 3. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History ; v. 76, article 3. Title from cover. "Issued July 31, 1939.” Includes bibliographical references (p. 140-141). Also available online.

The stingless bees (Meliponidae) of British Guiana and some related forms Call number: QH1 .A4 vol.74, art.7, 1938

p. 437-508, [11] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm. Series: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History ; vol. 74, art. 7 Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History ; v. 74, article 7. Title from cover. "Issued October 21, 1938.” Includes bibliographical references. Also available online.

Physical description

notebooks, handwritten notes and letters, drawings, photographs

Herbert Ferlando Schwarz collection, 1921-1957 (bulk 1930-1950)
Multilevel Complete
Sarah Cassone
May 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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). Finding aid created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2012.

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