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Subseries 2.1 | A Finding Aid to the Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thayer family papers, 1851-1999, bulk 1881-1950 | Digitized Collection

Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thayer family papers, 1851-1999, bulk 1881-1950

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2.1: Abbott Handerson Thayer Correspondence, 1881-1921

Abbott Handerson Thayer's correspondence consists primarily of letters to Thayer, but includes a few handwritten copies or drafts of his outgoing letters. Found here are numerous personal letters to and from family members, including his daughters Mary and Gladys (Galla), his son Gerald (Gra), and his wife Emma (also known as Addie), as well as nephews, nieces, sisters, cousins, and other extended family. There is correspondence with his patrons Charles L. Freer and John Gellatly; with many artists, several of whom were close friends, including Samuel Colman, Thomas Millie Dow, Daniel Chester French, Richard Meryman, Everton Sainsbury, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, and E. M. Taber; and former students, such as Ben Foster and Barry Faulkner; with other friends, many of them prominent members of society, such as Samuel Clemens, Royal Cortissoz, Edward Waldo Emerson, and Stanford White. A large amount of Thayer's correspondence concerns his research on protective coloration in nature and the publication of his book
Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom
. To pursue and defend his theories on concealing coloration, especially as applied to birds, he corresponded with many notable naturalists, biologists, ornithologists, and collection curators. Most notable is his extensive correspondence with Sir Edwin Bagnall Poulton, a British zoologist, and draft letters to Theodore Roosevelt, in defense and promotion of his work. He corresponded with many, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and the War Office in London, promoting his theory on the value of concealing coloration for warships and the military. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent and chronologically within each folder.

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.