Henry Fairfield Osborn papers  1879-1885
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Henry Fairfield Osborn papers represent a very small portion of an originally voluminous personal and professional correspondence. They contain five letters from William Berryman Scott to Osborn, 1879-1885, 9 letters from Osborn to his wife, Loulee, dated 1925 (one n.d.), and two extensive photograph albums assembled by Osborn during trips through Central Europe and Russia (1898) and Colorado (1899).

The Scott letters are scattered, but include two important letters written in Heidelberg, 1879 and 1880, when Scott was pursuing research on the embryology of the lamprey, Petromyzon and working toward his dissertation. At the time, Osborn was traveling in England, studying with Thomas Huxley. These letters provide an all too brief glimpse into the life of an American graduate student in Germany at the high point of the German academic tradition, and provide a fascinating insight into the early development of "professional" paleontology in the United States. The other three letters from Scott were written during the field seasons of 1882 and 1885, when he was working in the Great Plains states, excavating mid-Cenozoic mammalian fossils, including discoveries of some of the classic specimens of oreodonts, creodonts and fossil rhinoceroses.

The remaining letters in the collection were written by Osborn during a vacation at Trinchera Ranch, Fort Garland, Colo., in the summer of 1925. They are newsy, personal letters with little content of general interest.

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