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Malcolm C. McKenna correspondence, field notes and papers

Identifier: VPA 117

Scope and Contents

In 1990 Malcolm McKenna cleared his office files of early correspondence through 1985 and deposited them in the archives. It includes 5 field notebooks from Mongolia, 1990-1997. After he became Frick Curator Emeritus, McKenna made another transfer of papers to the archive in 2001. The collection is comprised of two series, reflecting the two deposits: I. Correspondence and field notebooks, 1948-1997 (previously VPA 48a) and II. Papers as Frick Curator Emeritus, 1980-2002 (previously VPA 48b).


  • 1948-2002


Conditions Governing Access

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

Biographical / Historical

Malcom C. McKenna (1930-2008) was a paleontologist and a fixture at the American Museum of Natural History, where he served as the Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals. A giant in his field, he wrote hundreds of scientific papers and the book Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level, the standard for the taxonomy of mammals both modern and extinct. He was born in Pomona, CA, and attended the Webb School of California, California Institute of Technology, Pomona College, and the University of California, Berkeley, earning his B.A. in Paleontology in 1954 and a Ph.D in Paleontology in 1958. He began his career at the American Museum of Natural History in 1960 as Assistant Curator in the Dept. of Vertebrate Paleontology and eventually became Frick Curator of the department. He also taught Geology at Columbia University, as well as holding other teaching and board positions.


29.5 Linear Feet (59 boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials have been processed and inventoried, keeping the original order. Subject catalog cards have been prepared where appropriate.



Malcolm C. McKenna correspondence, field notes and papers, 1948-2002
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021; Maya Naunton, 2022
2022 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Minimal level collection record created with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America grant, 2020.

Revision Statements

  • August 2021: Based on Ruth Sternfeld's historic finding aid, Binder 8.

Repository Details

Part of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology Archives Repository

200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024-5192