Chester Reeds papers
Scope and Contents
Two folders containing typewritten notes and correspondence between Chester A. Reeds and others (including Charles P. Berkey, Roy Chapman Andrews, and William Diller Matthews) with regards to Reeds’s editorial work. One folder containing Reeds’s own notes and drafts. Nineteen folders containing correspondence organized in alphabetical order. Four folders containing typewritten and handwritten notes by Chester A. Reeds regarding an issue of Natural History entitled ‘The Romance of Fossil-Hunting.’ Another nineteen folders of alphabetized correspondence pertaining to this particular issue of Natural History, including correspondence from Roy Chapman Andrews, Barnum Brown, Charles P. Berkey, Henry Fields Osborn, and others. This correspondence often takes the form of Reeds asking esteemed professionals to contribute articles to the Natural History issue and their replies (in many cases polite refusals due to being too busy). In cases in which the authors were able to contribute, their drafts occasionally appear with changes and suggestions made by Reeds, the editor. The alphabetized folders also include carbon copies of letters Reeds sent to his colleagues, peers, and even family when he mailed out the completed Natural History magazine issue to them to read.
- Majority of material found in 1926
- Reeds, Chester A. (Chester Albert), 1882-1968 (Editor, Person)
Access Conditions and Restrictions
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]
Chester Albert Reeds (1882-1968) was a geologist and museum curator. Born on July 20, 1882 in La Cygne, Kansas, Reeds spent various parts of his childhood moving around the Midwestern United States. He later went to the University of Oklahoma, majoring in geology and playing on the football team. Reeds received his degree in 1907, then went on to Yale for his Master’s (1907) and Doctorate (1910). After teaching at Bryn Mawr, he proceeded to his post at the American Museum of Natural History; officially employed as of August 1, 1912, he remained at the Museum until his retirement on April 15, 1938.
Reeds’s fields of investigation were geology and invertebrate paleontology. He was hired as the Assistant Curator of the Department of Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology, became Associate Curator as of January 1, 1918 (appointed 12/19/1917), and eventually became Curator on January 3, 1927. Reeds also served as the editor for Division I of the AMNH Publication Committee, and in this capacity he oversaw publications when they involved geology and paleontology. Reeds passed away in Ghent, New York, at the age of 86 on October 4, 1968.
The papers in this collection primarily deal with Chester A. Reeds’s editorial work pertaining to one particular issue of Natural History magazine that ran in September-October 1926. Prior to the magazine’s founding, scientific bulletins were released containing research and findings; the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History began in 1881. The Museum eventually sought to publish its findings for a wider audience, which led to the development of a popular magazine. (1) Its initial mission, as outlined in its first issue (April 1900), was to
“give the museum news in popular and interesting form, as a medium for the prompt acknowledgement of gifts and for making widely known our needs…In brief, the Journal will keep members informed of all that is going on, and we trust will widen the circle of interest in this noble institution for the education of the people and the diffusion of natural sciences.” (2)
Founded in 1900-01 by the American Museum of Natural History, Natural History ran as the American Museum Journal through 1918, becoming Natural History in 1919. Throughout its 114-year history, Natural History has featured many of the brightest minds in the field as authors, and the September-October 1926 edition, published during the post-Bone Wars era of paleontology, sought to promote the mystique of paleontology to its readers; indeed, this particular issue, to which this collection is directly related, was titled The Romance of Fossil Hunting. Natural History is currently operated by Howard Richman after being purchased by a company headed by Charles Harris in 2002. (3) Natural History does retain an affiliation with AMNH to this day, although the museum is no longer responsible for its publication. The magazine’s mission today is “to promote understanding and appreciation of the world around us.” (4)
1. The Bulletin never stopped running. It still updates to this day. 2. American Museum Journal, April 1900. 3. Wikipedia. 4. Natural History’s website.
1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
2 boxes containing 52 folders of correspondence, typescript, handwritten notes, and printed images (maps, illustrations, etc.), most of which relates to the September-October 1926 issue of Natural History entitled The Romance of Fossil Hunting.
2 boxes. 20 folders in box 1; 32 folders in box 2. Arranged alphabetically in the case of correspondence and by chapter in the case of the Natural History articles.
Appears to be in relatively good condition, although some papers have worn/damaged edges and show signs of water damage. There is also some rust residue from previously used paper clips.
Box 1: 20 folders of typescript, handwritten notes, and printed images (maps, illustrations, etc.). Box 2: 32 folders of correspondence, typescript, handwritten notes, and printed images (maps, illustrations, etc.).
- Chester Albert Reeds papers, 1924-1930 (bulk 1926)
- Multilevel Complete
- Stephanie Diorio
- October 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.
- Edition statement
- Information for this finding aid expanded on the original catalog record written by Ann Herendeen, 2004.