W. Douglas Burden papers
- 1920-1978 (bulk 1926-1961)
Restrictions on Access
Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.
W. Douglas Burden was a geologist, naturalist, hunter, filmmaker and author, affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. Burden was a trustee of the AMNH, 1926-1961, chaired a committee on the preparation of homolosine (equal-area projection) maps, and established the AMNH Dept. of Experimental Biology in 1928 (later named the Dept. of Animal Behavior). Burden formed Burden Pictures, Inc., 1928-1931, with ichthyologist Ilia Tolstoy; beginning in 1935, with Tolstoy and C.V. Whitney, Burden formed Marine Studios (later named Marineland), an aquarium project in Florida, which worked to develop a shark repellent for use by the U.S. Navy during World War II.
11 Linear Feet (23 boxes)
Language of Materials
Organized into two groups: boxes 1-12 contain papers related to Burden's scientific projects, travel, filmmaking and publishing; boxes 13-23 contain personal papers.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection received in AMNH Department of Mammalogy. Date of acquisition--1983 from the.
Scope and content
The collection consists of correspondence, reports, journals, notebooks and some clippings related to Burden's scientific projects, travel and expeditions; typescripts or printed copies of Burden's published and unpublished articles and stories; the typescript of Burden's book (originally titled Hunting in many lands), published in 1960 under the title: Look to the wilderness; and personal papers. The bulk of the inventoried material covers four of Burden's projects: his 1926 expedition to Indonesia to study the Komodo dragon and collect specimens, and about which he wrote his 1927 book, Dragon lizards of Komodo; his formation of Burden Pictures, Inc., and production of the 1930 film, The silent enemy, about the Ojibwa Indians; the formation of Marine Studios, Fla.; and his study of sharks and development of a shark repellent. Burden's wide-ranging interests and travels are documented, including journeys or expeditions to Alaska, Latin America, China, Indonesia, South Asia and Kenya; and his work for the American Museum of Natural History, including serving on the nominating committee of the Board of Trustees; his work on homolosine maps; and his 1943 report, A new vision of learning, which recommended changes in the presentation of exhibits. Correspondents include Roy Chapman Andrews, G. Kingsley Noble and Henry Fairfield Osborn of the AMNH; other correspondents include J.C. Faunthorpe of the 1922-1923 Faunthorpe-Vernay Expedition to India, Nepal and Burma; former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal; editor Maxwell Perkins; Kermit Roosevelt; and cinematographer J.B. Shackelford. There is also material from various zoological, conservation and exploring organizations. Other manuscripts and publications include: Big game of the Kenai Peninsula, describing Burden's experiences in Alaska in 1919; his log of a hunting trip to North China in the 1920s, with letters written from Beijing and Tianjin, including one from Andrews describing the political turmoil of 1926; Burden's master's thesis on the geology of the north shore of Long Island, N.Y. (1926); and manuscripts of Burden's two plays: The wilderness road; and Pauline Bonaparte. Personal papers include wills, papers and letters concerning Burden's family, apartment, schools, income taxes, etc.
- Burden, W. Douglas (William Douglas), 1898-1978 (Person)
- Burden East Indian Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History (1926) (Organization)
- American Museum of Natural History. Trustees (Organization)
- Andrews, Roy Chapman, 1884-1960 (Contributor, Person)
- Noble, G. Kingsley (Gladwyn Kingsley), 1894-1940 (Contributor, Person)
- Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 1857-1935 (Contributor, Person)
- Roosevelt, Kermit, 1889-1943 (Contributor, Person)
- Shackelford, James B. (Contributor, Person)
- Tolstoy, Ilia A., 1903-1970 (Contributor, Person)
- Whitney, C. V. (Cornelius Vanderbilt), 1899-1992 (Contributor, Person)
- Forrestal, James, 1892-1949 (Contributor, Person)
- Perkins, Maxwell E. (Maxwell Evarts), 1884-1947 (Contributor, Person)
- W. Douglas Burden papers, 1920-1978 (bulk 1926-1961)
- 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.