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Morris F. Skinner field notebooks

Identifier: VPA 27a

Scope and Contents

After Morris F. Skinner died in Ainsworth, Nebraska in 1989, his wife, Marie, donated his 33 pocket notebooks or field notebooks dating from 1936 - 1980 and 13 black notebooks or box lists from 1938-1972. The field diaries and notebooks had been stored in Ainsworth until Morris Skinner's death. They are mainly written in pencil and are rather fragile.

The pocket notebooks contain anything that Skinner was involved with at the time, scientific and personal. They include, among other things, shopping lists, sections, accounts of expenses, box lists, box weights, water levels, several diary segments, auto and gas records, tire inventories, Sioux words, phone numbers and addresses, real estate records, work and pay records, time records, ash samples, fission tracks, and blood pressure readings.

The black notebooks are primarily "box lists," that is, information about the boxes of specimens shipped to the Museum for the Frick Collection.

There is a note on the back of the First Ainsworth Box List 1933, written sometime after Childs Frick's death, which gives a short history of the M.F. Skinner Collection and the recording of it.

The loose papers, which were found in the various notebooks, were placed into envelopes and identified. The envelopes and contents will be noted on the book list. These envelopes are larger than the ones used for the pocket books.

These books are the originals from which many parts have been copied.

Includes field notes.


  • 1936-1980


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.

Biographical Note

Morris F. Skinner (1903-1989) was a paleontologist who worked for the Frick Laboratory (1927-1968) and the American Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Paleontology (Frick Assistant Curator, 1968-1973). He was born in Springview, Nebraska. He studied at the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1932 with a major in Geology and a minor in Chemistry and Zoology. He married Shirley M. White, later known as Marie Skinner, in 1930, and had two children. From 1928-1932, he was in charge of field parties collecting vertebrate fossils for Childs Frick or the Frick Corporation. From 1933-1968, he was a part of the Frick Corporation, responsible for the geological and locational data of fossil collections. He became Assistant Curator of the Frick Laboratory in 1956, Frick Assistant Curator of the American Museum of Natural History in the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology in 1968, and Associate Curator in 1969. His major researches were on horses, but there were curatorial activities on rhinoceroses, tapirs, peccaries, and horned ruminants. Morris and Shirley Marie Skinner worked together as a duo on expeditions and field studies and she was a Scientific Assistant at the museum. After Morris F. Skinner died in Ainsworth, Nebraska in 1989, his wife, Marie, donated his notebooks to the Vertebrate Paleontology collection.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes with 46 notebooks)


By location.

Immediate Source of Acquistion

Marie Skinner, Morris Skinner's wife.


Historic Call Number: was 8:4 now 4:7



Morris F. Skinner field notebooks, 1936-1980
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021
2021 August
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
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