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Othniel Charles Marsh papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 343

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, school notes, and other papers of O.C. Marsh, scientist and first professor of paleontology at Yale and in the United States. Of special interest is the rather extensive correspondence Marsh carried on with many prominent scientists of his time; included are letters from Charles Darwin, Leonard and Thomas Huxley, Simon Newcomb, and Benjamin Silliman Sr. and Jr. Also included are materials relating to Marsh's education at Andover, Yale, and in Germany, family papers, and papers reflecting his involvement with the Cardiff Giant hoax and the Red Cloud controversy.

Dates

  • 1817-1899

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

The collection is available on microfilm excluding boxes 21, 43A, 43B, 49A, 55, folio items, and Accession 2010-M-050. Except for these boxes, patrons must use FILM HM38 instead of the originals.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of O.C. Marsh, 1899, and of the Archives of the Peabody Museum, Yale University.

Arrangement

Arranged in seven series and one addition: I. Correspondence. II. Marsh Family. III. Education of O. C. Marsh. IV. Writings of O. C. Marsh. V. Biographical Information. VI. Cardiff Giant Hoax. VII. Red Cloud Agency.

Extent

30.75 Linear Feet (59 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0343

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, school notes, and other papers of O.C. Marsh, scientist and first professor of paleontology at Yale and in the United States. Of special interest is the rather extensive correspondence Marsh carried on with many prominent scientists of his time; included are letters from Charles Darwin, Leonard and Thomas Huxley, Simon Newcomb, and Benjamin Silliman Sr. and Jr. Also included are materials relating to Marsh's education at Andover, Yale, and in Germany, family papers, and papers reflecting his involvement with the Cardiff Giant hoax and the Red Cloud controversy.

Biographical / Historical

Othniel Charles Marsh, born in Lockport, New York, in 1831, was the son of Caleb and Mary Peabody Marsh. When he was three years old his mother died of cholera, and thereafter her bachelor brother, George Peabody, assumed full financial responsibility for Othniel's education at Andover, Yale (class of 1860), and in Germany. When he returned to Yale in 1865, Marsh was appointed the first professor of paleontology in the western hemisphere and influenced his uncle, George Peabody, to provide funds for the construction of a Natural History Museum at Yale. While searching for fossils in the western states, Marsh's discoveries included an extinct bird with teeth and eighty new forms of dinosaurs. These won him acclaim at home and in Europe. Owing to the death at mid-term of the president of the National Academy of Science, Marsh became acting president from 1880-1883. He was then elected president for two successive six-year terms, filling that office for longer than any previous or subsequent incumbent. Marsh devoted so much of his inherited fortune to the collecting of specimens for Yale that at the end of his life he found himself forced to mortgage his Prospect Street home in New Haven. Never having married, he named Yale his sole beneficiary, but his estate amounted to very little, except for the $18,694 realized when the contents of his home were auctioned in New York. Marsh died in his New Haven home from pneumonia on March 18, 1899.

Custodial History

From 1940-1970 the Marsh Papers were divided between the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale and the Yale University Library.

Existence and Location of Copies

The entire collection (excluding boxes 21, 43A, 43B, 49A, 55, folio items, and Accession 2010-M-050) is also available on microfilm (29 reels, 35mm.) from Scholarly Resources, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware.
Title
Guide to the Othniel Charles Marsh Papers
Author
compiled by Mary McKeever
Date
April 1972
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • January 2010: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)